Health & Fitness

Ways to tap mood-boosting ‘happy’ hormones

Regular exercise
Regular exercise relieves stress. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Known as the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals, endorphins stimulate feelings of pleasure, well-being, and pain relief, making them an essential component in a balanced, happy life. Endorphins are neurotransmitters secreted in response to stress and pain, which we all feel from time to time.

According to research some of the endorphin-boosting activities include exercise, meditation, laughing, massage, proper nutrition, chiropractic adjustments.

Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to tap into the mood-boosting, stress-relieving benefits of endorphins and get their full, opiate-like effect flowing. Though endorphins are commonly associated with the “runner’s high” achieved through vigorous exercise, the positive mood shifts associated with them do not necessarily require strenuous physical activity.

Today the benefits of spinal manipulation as well are easier to measure through scientific evidence. If you have ever undergone a chiropractic adjustment, you know how good your body feels after being adjusted. But if you are curious about why that might be or just curious about chiropractic in general, you might wonder what happens to your body after getting an adjustment.

Scientists are able to study the neurochemical benefits of spinal manipulation and they found that chiropractic adjustments cause a surge of beta-endorphins.

Beta-endorphins have been found to produce a wide range of benefits, one of which is analgesia, or the numbing of pain.

So when you get adjusted, your spine releases endorphins. The endorphins tell your body to feel good, allowing you to resume your daily activities without the stress and inconvenience of debilitating pain levels.

This instant and relatively long-lasting pain relief allows the surrounding tissues to relax also, which helps reduce tension headache and muscle spasms.

Each person’s body is different; sometimes this pain relief will last for up to a month, other times just a few days. As a result, the chiropractor works with you on a regular adjustment schedule to encourage your body to release endorphins habitually.

If stress regularly affects your mentality or pain interferes with your enjoyment of daily activities, you need to teach your body to release beta-endorphins to boost your mood, reduce pain and minimise stress.

NELLIE NTHIGA, BDM, C&P Health Centre.