Feeling bogged down with stress, fatigue, and anxiety--and you haven't even gotten out of bed yet? If so, it sounds like you could use an infusion of endorphins. Endorphins are secreted in the brain and nervous system, and have the ability to reduce pain, enhance your sense of well-being and, under certain circumstances, produce a state of euphoria. Some researchers suggest that one way in which acupuncture works is through stimulating the release of endorphins.
Intense pain and stress will induce the release of endorphins. The question then is: how do you naturally stimulate the brain into releasing endorphins when you are not in a state of emergency, but still need a boost of energy? The following is a list of some healthy activities that may achieve this:
- Acupuncture and acupressure treatments
- Deep breathing exercises
- Spicy food
- Intense physical activity
With so many reasons accounting for why a person's energy is not as high as it should be, finding a solution may prove elusive. According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, a good place to start is by addressing the kidneys. The kidneys provide a powerful, fundamental energy from which the rest of the body draws from, and thus they are compared to a battery.
When the 'battery' is running low, it puts all the organs and systems of the body at risk of not having enough energy to adequately perform their jobs. However, when it is full, this helps ensure that all the processes needed to sustain life can carry on, including the manufacture and usage of endorphins.
Luckily, certain acupressure techniques can help revitalize the body quickly, by way of helping to strengthen the kidneys. These exercises can be self-applied and performed safely in the comfort of your home.
The first one is poetically called Beating the Heavenly Drum. Simply put your palms over your ears and let your index fingers rest at the base of your skull, on what is technically known as the occipital region. Begin tapping with moderate to heavy pressure--using your pointer fingers--up to 64 times. You can do eight sets, consisting of eight taps each. It was the rhythmic, soft noises emitted by the tapping that inspired the name of this exercise. Beating upon your own 'heavenly drum' helps stagnant energy flow freely, providing an energy boost to mind and body.
The next exercise can aid in stimulating a greater flow of Qi and blood into the kidneys. The general region where the kidneys sit is slightly above the waist, close to the spine, between the level of Thoracic vertebrae 12 (T12) and Lumbar vertebrae 3 (L3), to be specific. After you've located this area, make each hand into a fist and vigorously rub up and down, as far as your wrists can comfortably handle, until you feel sufficient warmth is generated. Then, once again using your fists, pound on your back with moderate pressure in this same area.
You can either sit down and lean forward a little to perform this exercise, or you can stand up with your feet at shoulder width apart. Although you only need to perform this exercise for one or two minutes at a time, you can do it several times a day. They can help prevent fatigue or give you a jolt of energy, if need be.
A full body stretch can also help stuck energy flow anywhere in the body and only takes a few seconds to perform. Don't forget to stand on your tiptoes as you extend your arms and body to the sky.
Find an Acupuncturist near you to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!
About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.