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All About Endorphins

Whether you’re a serial marathoner or you enjoy a jog on the treadmill at the gym, the chances are you’ve heard of the term “runners high”. It’s a pleasant feeling that kicks in after a good run that’s usually attributed to a burst of endorphins. While you may be familiar with the “endorphin rush” that happens after an activity like a run, however, you may be wondering what endorphins are and the science behind them. Additionally, you may not know they have a connection with TENS machines including a PainPod or Hidow.

Endorphins are “feel-good” brain chemicals that act as pain and stress relievers. Scientists have found that high levels of these chemicals may help to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, improve mood, boost self-esteem, support cognitive function, promote immune system health, reduce inflammation and regulate appetite. The body releases endorphins naturally via the hypothalamus and pituitary glands during pleasurable activities such as exercise, meditation, eating delicious food like chocolate, having sex and laughing, but they’re also released when you sprain your ankle or stub your toe to temporarily relieve pain and discomfort. Around 20 different types of endorphins exist, with the most studied of these being beta-endorphins; they’re the ones associated with runner’s high and known for their pain-relieving effects. 

As for the connection between endorphins and TENS technology, TENS machines like the PainPod and Hidow work by interfering with and blocking pain signals from travelling to the brain, while also stimulating the body to produce endorphins for pain relief (1). This is achieved by flooding your nervous system with gentle electrical impulses, delivered through the skin via electrodes attached to adhesive pads placed on the affected area such as the lower back or knee. It’s a similar process to how painkillers work to treat pain, but a huge tick in the “plus” column for TENS, especially if you’re struggling with chronic, ongoing pain, is that they do it without any of the known potentially serious side effects some ingested medicines have or risking dependency if used in the long-term.

PainPod and Hidow machines offer an effective way to get drug-free pain relief. They can be used to enhance physiotherapy sessions, while also helping treat a lineup of conditions in the comfort and convenience of your own home including sports injuries like tennis elbow, everyday aches and pains, recurring issues like period pain (2), tension headaches (3) and migraine (4). They also help with chronic pain relief from certain health conditions, including lower back pain (5). TENS machines are small and portable, anyone of any age can use one, and they’re flexible; thanks to a lineup of different pads and accessories, they can be used on almost any area of the body. And finally, as a pleasurable bonus, a PainPod or Hidow can be used for a relaxing massage. 

For more information about the various PainPod and Hidow machines and accessories, click here.

  1. Vance, et al. Using TENS for pain control: the state of the evidence. Pain Management. 3: 197-209, 2014
  1. Barbosa Mde.  Evaluation of pain thresholds across the menstrual cycle using TENS. 68(7): p. 901-8, 2013
  1. Classification of TENS to treat headache. 79(128): p. 37946-8, 2014
  1. Ellens. Peripheral neuromodulation for migraine headache. 24: p 109-17, 2011
  1. Guild, D.G. Mechanical therapy for low back pain. 39(3): p. 511-6, 2012