Have you ever experienced an adrenaline rush? How about a runner’s high?
Whatever you call it, it stems from one place — your endorphins.
You’ve heard the term before, but exactly what are endorphins? How do they make you feel better? And what can you do to increase the amount of endorphins inside your body?
Keep reading to learn more about your body’s all-natural “feel-good” hormones!
What Are Endorphins Anyway?
Endorphins are natural chemicals produced inside your body. They act as neurotransmitters and play a significant role in regulating pain and pleasure.
Ready for a little Latin lesson? The term “endorphin” is a blend of “endogenous” (originating within the body) and “morphine” (a potent pain-relieving medication). In other words, it’s your body’s naturally produced “morphine!”
These compounds are primarily produced by the central nervous system and the pituitary gland. They respond to various stimuli, especially stress, pain, and physical activity.
Endorphins function as natural painkillers by binding to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord. In effect, they block the transmission of pain signals to your brain. Your body releases them in response to stress or discomfort, helping to mitigate pain and promote well-being.
This pain-relief mechanism is particularly pronounced during intense physical activities or moments of high stress. That’s why you’ll often hear it referred to as the “endorphin rush” or “runner’s high.”
Endorphins are closely associated with feelings of pleasure and euphoria. They contribute to both feelings of happiness and stress reduction. This is why activities like exercise, laughter, massage therapy, and even certain foods can trigger their release.
The release of endorphins during these activities can enhance your mood and provide a sense of contentment.
What’s the Connection Between Massage and Endorphins?
During a massage, several physiological changes occur inside your body. These changes trigger the release of endorphins and contribute to feelings of happiness and contentment.
For starters, your therapist’s touch activates pressure receptors in the skin and soft tissues. This sensory input sends signals to the brain, stimulating the release of endorphins. As we just discussed, these act as natural painkillers and mood enhancers.
Massage also improves circulation in the massaged areas, delivering oxygen and nutrients while removing metabolic waste products. This increased blood flow helps to reduce muscle tension and relieve discomfort.
In addition, massage promotes relaxation and reduces your body’s production of stress hormones like cortisol. Lower stress levels can enhance your mood and contribute to a sense of well-being.
By kneading and stretching muscles, a massage therapist can release muscular knots and tension. This physical relief signals the brain to release endorphins, which provide even more natural pain relief.
Finally, the calming environment and rhythmic movements of a massage activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This action promotes relaxation while reducing the perception of pain and stress.
Pain Relief & Reduced Stress: A Winning Combination
Could you use more endorphins in your life? We all could!
Whether it’s for pain relief, stress reduction, or both, regular massages can do wonders for your physical and mental health. If it’s been a while since your last massage, why not tick this item off your self-care to-do list?
Give us a call at 970-748-1600 to schedule your next massage in Avon, Colorado.