Most of us think of endorphins and exercise, more studies show that having acupuncture can also increase endorphins.
What are endorphins and what is the purpose of endorphins?
Have you ever felt amazing after a good workout? You may have heard that your “high” is caused by tiny neurochemicals released by your body. These neurochemicals are called endorphins. While endorphins might make you feel good after a good workout, there is a lot more to know about the role they play in the body.
The word endorphin comes from putting together the words “endogenous,” meaning from within the body, and “morphine,” which is an opiate pain reliever. In other words, endorphins got their name because they are natural pain relievers. This is often the reason that people say that their pain went away during and right after their workout.
Endorphins are involved in our natural reward circuits and are related to important activities like eating, drinking, physical fitness, and sexual intercourse. Endorphins also surge during pregnancy. They minimize discomfort and pain and maximize pleasure. This helps us to continue functioning despite injury or stress.
What are the benefits of endorphins?
Nearly one in five people will experience depression at some point during their lifetimes. Many studies have looked at exercise in reducing the symptoms of depression, and the majority of these studies have shown a positive benefit associated with exercise. More research is needed to further understand the role that endorphins have in treating depression.
Reducing stress and anxiety
Endorphins may play an important role in reducing stress and anxiety. A study in mice showed a direct relationship between endorphin levels and anxious behavior in mice.
Boosting your self-esteem
Positive feelings also make you feel confident and optimistic, thus giving your self-esteem a boost. In one small study, endorphins were associated with high self-esteem in a small group of men.
Reducing your weight
The role of endorphins and other hormones in regulating your appetite and food intake is complex. While eating good food is thought in increase endorphin levels, higher levels of endorphins have also been shown in animal studies to help regulate the appetite.