Endorphins: A very useful pain reducer

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In chapter three, the book discusses the human body and it's details in functioning. One topic covered briefly was neuropeptides, specifically endorphins. Many people know their effect to be the "runner's high". Their function as a pain reducer was probably not originally intended for athletes to function on a higher level (instead for gathering food, escaping predators, etc) yet over time it's usefulness has remained crucial in the human experience. Today, people participate in a multitude of physical activities, many of them sport related. Without knowing it, they depend on this bodily creation to prolong their battle with lactic acid. Lactic acid builds up in your muscles after prolonged physical activity and can be thanked for the post-activity soreness many people feel the next day. If it weren't for endorphins, one would feel that pain much sooner.
There are other less-known application of endorphins which have positive consequences. Acupuncture, a pain treatment in which needles are stuck into your body in various locations, is thought to be effective due to the role of endorphin release. Certain foods are also thought to stimulate the release of endorphins. Chili peppers, one of the suspected endorphin stimulating foods, are used as an alternative form of chronic pain relief. Endorphins are also thought to be stimulated by chocolate, which many view as a "comfort food". The presence of endorphins in chocolate would explain why people eat it so faithfully when stressed. The last, and most surprising, source of endorphin stimulation is laughter. It is only recently that laughter has been linked to decreased stress hormones, decrease pain, and lower blood pressure. All of these benefits are thanks in part to endorphins. Needless to say, they are quite an amazing phenomenon.

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