You'd think by now we'd know everything there is to know about our bodies. But the human body continues to baffle and boggle the minds of even the medical community. From its cool capabilities to the creepy facts we'd rather not know, there's so much going on in there, we wouldn't mind taking a trip inside, Magic School Bus-style.
With so much mystery around the human body, it's easy for people to fill in the gaps by, well, making stuff up. From old wives' tales to “miracle” fitness products that claim to have cracked the secret code, we've been lied to about our bodies from the jump.
Vote up the busted body myths that really had you going this whole time.
- 1733 VOTES
MYTH: We Only Have Five Senses
Though the five senses - sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch - have become common parlance, the reality is much more complicated. Neuroscientists now believe humans have many more, with estimates ranging from 22 to 33.
Some of the lesser-known senses include equilibrioception (balance), proprioception (knowing the presence of one’s body parts without looking), and chronception (sensing time and its passing).
- 2604 VOTES
MYTH: There Are Left-Brained And Right-Brained People
Anyone who's spent any time on social media has probably heard people describe themselves as "left-brained" or "right-brained." Left-brained people supposedly have strong math and logic skills while right-brained thinkers are more creative. The problem is, this whole idea isn't true.
Scientist Roger W. Sperry conducted studies on brain function in patients who'd had the structure that connects the two hemispheres of the brain surgically severed to treat refractory epilepsy. That study is where the whole idea of different sides of the brain controlling different types of thinking came from. Patients were unable to name objects because it was theorized language was processed by the right side of the brain.
But later studies showed that language, math, and creative abilities all work best when both sides of the brain are working together. While different areas of the brain do have specializations, all parts are communicating with each other in order to function.
- 3648 VOTES
MYTH: Women's Menstrual Cycles Sync Up With Each Other Or The Moon
The idea that women’s menstruation is linked to either one another or to the moon has deep roots. Researcher Martha McClintock gave credence to the former, and she seemed to have research to support her assertion. More recent research, however, did not bolster her claims, nor did it show any connection to the moon and its cycles.
As the Cleveland Clinic explains, the phenomenon of women in close proximity “syncing up” is just a matter of math: “Over time, a woman who has a three-week cycle and another who has a five-week cycle will eventually see their periods overlap. […] If you live with someone for at least a year, your cycles are likely to happen to occur together a few times.”
- 4640 VOTES
MYTH: Doing Crunches Will Give You A Six-Pack
Perhaps you've religiously done sit-ups or crunches in preparation for beach-body season, but were sorely disappointed when you didn't get results.
Doing crunches - no matter how many - will not lead to a flat stomach. To reap the rewards of any abdominal workout, you've got to combine it with cardio and a healthy diet. Crunches will strengthen your core muscles, but won't target and burn belly fat.
- 5526 VOTES
MYTH: You Need To Wait 30 Minutes After Eating Before You Go Swimming
As a kid, you likely heard an adult warn you to wait at least 30 minutes to go swimming after you ate. If you didn't wait long enough, you would get cramps or suffer from food-induced fatigue; both situations could lead to a higher possibility of drowning.
The real recommended waiting period is... zero minutes. This myth was likely started by parents who simply wanted to avoid a potential throw-up-in-the-pool situation, or desired a little more free time before returning to lifeguard duty.
But there is no medical reason to wait a given length of time after eating to go swimming. Although it is true you can get cramps, or experience general discomfort, if you swim or partake in any physical exercise immediately after eating, the activity is not life-threatening.
- 6480 VOTES
MYTH: Shaving Your Hair Makes It Grow Back Thicker And More Plentiful
An old bit of advice, handed down from generation to generation, cautions that shaving hair will only encourage it to grow back thicker and more plentiful. It was enough to inspire people to be judicious about what patches of hair they tried to shave off.
But scientists point out that hair follicles aren't sentient beings that grow stronger with each iteration. As Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson of the Mayo Clinic explained:
[S]having hair doesn't change its thickness, color or rate of growth. Shaving facial or body hair gives the hair a blunt tip. The tip might feel coarse or "stubbly" for a time as it grows out. During this phase, the hair might be more noticeable and perhaps appear darker or thicker.