14 Alternative Therapies For An Endorphin Release
Most people aren’t aware of the incredibly important role that hormones play in our lives. They act as chemical messengers that control and coordinate nearly all our bodily functions. These include regulating metabolism, maintaining growth and development, controlling reproduction, regulating emotions, balancing water and electrolyte levels, controlling the body’s immune response, and much more.
One such group of hormones, that plays a crucial role in the body is called endorphins. They act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. By binding to the receptors in the brain and spinal cord, endorphins reduce the perception of pain and produce a feeling of euphoria. This is why they are also called “feel-good” hormones.
Usually, these chemicals are released when we are injured, in response to stress, or when we activate our natural reward system with activities like eating, exercising, or having sex. However, there are many alternative therapies that can also help us release endorphins. Given the importance of these chemicals, we should be aware of these therapies and turn to them when we need a boost of endorphins.
Acupuncture is a form of holistic, traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points of the body. This triggers the nervous system and stimulates the release of endorphins into the system. This leads to the alleviation of a variety of issues such as chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, menstrual cramps, etc.
Yoga is often only thought of as a form of physical exercise. However, in reality, it is a combination of physical postures and breathing exercises. The amazing thing here is that both of these lead to a release of endorphins.
The physical exercise aspect of yoga gets the blood flowing and prompts positive feelings. This leads to a release of endorphins, which creates a sense of well-being and a feeling of euphoria. Breathing exercises, on the other hand, usually focus on slowing the heart rate and increasing the oxygen intake into the body. This signals the brain to relax, which triggers the release of endorphins.
Meditation is a powerful practice that promotes relaxation and helps to focus the mind. This alone triggers the release of endorphins, which further helps a person feel calm, happy, and content. But more importantly, it gives one a sense of inner peace.
4) Massage Therapy
Most people enjoy massages and are filled with happiness just thinking about it. This is probably because a relaxing massage can stimulate the release of endorphins and reduce stress levels. Not only that, but it also relieves pain, promotes relaxation, and releases other feel-good hormones such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin.
Aromatherapy makes use of essential oils to promote physical and emotional well-being. These oils can be inhaled, applied topically to the skin, or used in a diffuser to release the fragrance into the air. What’s amazing about essential oils is that they can stimulate the release of endorphins and lead to relaxation. Some great oils that have a euphoric effect on people are rosemary, citrus fragrances, lavender, ylang ylang, and frankincense.
6) Music therapy
Everyone knows how effective music can be at altering one’s mood. Just listening to some uplifting music can trigger an endorphin release and improve your state of mind. This is why music therapy is often used to achieve therapeutic goals and improve physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being.
7) Art Therapy
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses the creative process of art-making to improve emotional and mental well-being. Engaging in creative activities, such as painting or drawing, can lead to an endorphin release and boost your mood. It also gives you a sense of achievement which activates the natural reward system in the brain and further boosts the release of endorphins into the system.
Reiki is a form of alternative therapy that involves the use of hands-on healing to promote balance and well-being in the body, mind, and spirit. A Reiki healer places their hands on or near a person’s body, channelling energy to help balance and align the body's natural energy flow. This is said to help release endorphins, which provides relief from pain and discomfort to the person being healed.
9) Cold Therapy
Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is a form of therapy that involves exposing the body to cold temperatures, typically through cold water immersion or cold air exposure. Cold therapy is used to reduce inflammation, improve recovery time, and decrease muscle soreness. The cold temperatures may activate the sympathetic nervous system and lead to the release of endorphins.
10) Sound Therapy
Sound therapy, also known as vibrational therapy, is a form of alternative therapy that uses specific sound waves or vibrations to promote healing and well-being. A popular example of this is sound baths that involve listening to resonant sounds in a group setting.
Often, these sessions include instruments like Tibetan singing bowls, bells, chimes, tuning forks, harps, gongs, etc. Sound therapy is great at treating stress, anxiety, depression and pain. These benefits are said to come mainly from the release of endorphins that happen during the therapy.
11) Floatation Therapy
Sensory deprivation therapy, also known as floatation therapy, is designed to provide an environment of complete sensory deprivation. This therapy involves the use of sensory deprivation tanks that are typically filled with water that is heated to body temperature. This water contains a high concentration of Epsom salt that allows the user to float effortlessly.
The isolation and relaxation that results from the deprivation of sight, sound and touch in the tanks, may promote the release of endorphins in the body. Not only that, but it can also lead to the release of dopamine and serotonin.
12) Contrast Therapy
Contrast therapy, also known as hot-cold therapy, involves immersing a limb or the entire body in hot water followed by immediate immersion in cold water. This process is repeated several times which alternates the exposure of the body between hot and cold temperatures. It's commonly used for recovery, pain relief, and to improve circulation. And the reason why it works so well is that this therapy leads to the release of endorphins and other feel-good hormones in the body.
Flogging is an activity that involves striking the skin with a whip, flogger, or other similar implements. It is said that light flogging can lead to an intense release of endorphins and give rise to feelings of euphoria. The physical sensation of being flogged can also lead to an adrenaline rush, which can also contribute to the release of endorphins.
Electrotherapy is a form of physical therapy that uses electrical stimulation to treat a wide range of conditions including pain, muscle weakness, and spasms. The electrical stimulation is delivered to the body through electrodes placed on the skin. This type of stimulation excites the nerve fibres, which leads to the release of endorphins in the body.