Endorphins: Release Your Inner Analgesic

Endorphins: Release Your Inner Analgesic

With droves of available medicines at our disposal, it is no wonder why so many people have forgotten that their body has the ability to heal itself. This can easily be shown when the effects of released endorphins are experienced.

Learn how to harness and use this natural pain killer before reaching for over-the-counter drugs or running to your doctor. All it takes are some simple actions to hopefully get a reaction which could present as a rush, like a ‘runner’s high’ or a mild rumble that keeps the edges of your mouth turned up all day.

A Secret Built-in Natural Aspirin Machine

Endorphins are natural analgesics (pain killers). These are chemical brain neurotransmitters that send electrical signals to the nervous system when stress and pain is experienced. By connecting to opiate receptors, endorphins have been show to work similar to such drugs as morphine and codeine, two highly addictive painkillers.

In addition, endorphins can also brighten your day by lowering stress and elevating mood with feelings of euphoria, especially after sex.

It’s like having a secret built-in natural aspirin machine at your command. The problem is, most people don’t know how to utilize it.

Aroma Alleviators

Scents can unlock endorphins like nobody’s business. Always have a few bottles of essential oils (or extracts) available to release a squirt of this neurotransmitter so you can destress and rebalance.

Here are a few to consider:

Vanilla – Vanilla is capable of releasing some feel good endorphins. Memorial-Sloan Cancer Center studied patients that took a good whiff of vanilla before entering a claustrophobic, loud MRI machine. 63% reported less anxiety than those who did not use the vanilla. Add some extract to your bath; light vanilla-scented candles; or dab the essential oil on your inside wrists.

Lavender – The endorphins released when inhaling lavender creates a calming effect that may even enhance sleep and relieve depression. This essential oil is best when applied to the pulse points of your temples, neck, and wrists.

Move it Along

Exercise has always been linked to a healthy release of endorphins. When the body feels good so does the brain. This is especially true for group exercise.

According to an Oxford University study of synchronized rowers, published in the Royal Society Biology Letters (9/15/09), it was concluded that,

“These results indicate that, compared with training alone, group training significantly increases pain threshold, suggesting that synchronized activity somehow heightens opioidergic [endorphin release] activity.”

Guffaw Away

To guffaw is to give a hearty laugh and when this occurs endorphins come surging forth leaving in their path a significantly heightened mood. This can also transpire during a less intense laughter release such as social chuckling.

A study published in the Royal Society Proceedings B (2/9/12) stated,

“We tested the hypothesis that social laughter elevates pain thresholds both in the laboratory and under naturalistic conditions. In both cases, the results confirmed that when laughter is elicited, pain thresholds are significantly increased, whereas when subjects watched something that does not naturally elicit laughter, pain thresholds do not change (and are often lower). These results can best be explained by the action of endorphins released by laughter.”

Play Air Guitar

It turns out that particular types of music such as jazz, blues, and classical are capable of lowering stress levels. However, it is the performance of music that opens the endorphin floodgates. Similar to exercise, when a musician is working hard at strumming, blowing or banging their instrument a high endorphin release ensues. Add in dancing and an entire concert hall just may be full of feel good smiles.

The journal, Evolutionary Psychology (10/22/12) reports that the Oxford Study, ‘Performance of music elevates pain threshold and positive affect: implications for the evolutionary function of music.’ states,

“We show that singing, dancing and drumming all trigger endorphin release…We conclude that it is the active performance of music that generates the endorphin high.”

Get Touched

With so much touch depravation it is no wonder there are so many people popping anti-anxiety or depression medications. Sometimes all it takes to feel all warm and fuzzy is to get a professional massage or acupuncture session.

Psychology Today (11/29/12) describes a 1999 study where, “clinical researchers reported that inserting acupuncture needles into specific body points triggers the production of endorphins.”

Add in sex and you may be walking on a pink cloud before you know it.

Beverly Whipple, professor emeritus at Rutgers University and a famed sexologist reports on the endorphin release for women during sex,

“…when women have an orgasm, pain tolerance threshold and pain detection threshold increases significantly, by up to 74.6 percent and 106.7 percent respectively.”

Learn to release your inner analgesic and you’ll have yet another natural way to smile through your day.