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Accumulated Notes About Endorphins

Author: none

Filed in: endorphins, masochism, subspace, play



From http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/dh75en.html

Role of endorphins discovered -- 1975
In the 1960s, neurochemist Choh Hao Li at the University of California in San Francisco was investigating the pituitary gland for substances that aided in the metabolism of fat. It was hard to get enough of this substance, though, so he acquired about 500 dried camel pituitaries. But the camels had none of this fat-metaboliser. Li isolated another amino acid substance from the camel pituitary, beta-endorphin, but it didn't play into the questions he was asking and he put it in storage.

In 1973, research teams in Sweden, Baltimore, and New York independently found that the brain has special receptors that interact with opiates such as morphine. Strong opiates tended to bind better to these sites than weak ones. This seemed odd. Why would human brains around the world have a receptor for morphine, the product of flowers that originated in the MiddleEast?


In 1975, John Hughes and Hans Kosterlitz published their discovery of a small amino-acid molecule in the brains of pigs. They called this molecule enkephalin" (meaning "in the head"). It had some of the qualities of morphine, which helped answer the question of why the brain had receptors for morphine. Hughes thought they might be able to use enkephalin in painkillers that were not as addictive as morphine. They tried this idea out in the lab and were disheartened to find that the reverse was true: The painkilling power was weak, but it was extremely addictive.


Back in San Francisco, Li realized that the beta-endorphin he had isolated contained enkephalin. Now he had a question to ask about it: Did it have something to do with pain perception? When Li injected the substance into the brain, he found it was 48 times more powerful than morphine; injected in the vein it was 3 times as powerful. And also addictive. This research allowed neuroscientists to conclude that the brain has receptors for painkillers which the pituitary releases under great stress.

If an artificial painkiller such as morphine is given, it occupies more of the pain receptors in the brain; however, less natural painkiller is released. Then, when the artificial source is taken away, there are more empty pain receptors, causing the craving for narcotics and a withdrawal response.

 

 

 

From http://www.frugaldomme.com/dangers.htm#endorphins {note this link appears to be dead 4.15.01}

The Pain Threshold and Endorphins or, "No Pain, No Gain"

The pain threshold is the level of pain which the bottom can no longer voluntarily endure. This is the point at which your bottom will safe out. Learning where that point lies for your bottom is very important if you wish to maximize the experience for both partners. This is because once that point is identified, it can be manipulated.

Endorphins are neurotransmitters (chemicals which are directly involved in the brain's electrochemical workings). They are also natural painkillers. High endorphin levels cause a feeling of euphoria. Of course, SM is not the only way to achieve this state. Long-distance runners refer to it as "runner's high."

The sensitive, careful and methodical application of pain can move the pain threshold higher, enabling the bottom to tolerate higher levels of pain, thereby receiving the benefits of higher endorphin levels. To the bottom, the pain will not seem to increase, even though the physical trauma upon the body does. This is because as endorphin levels rise, the pain becomes deadened.

Safety Note: The fact that the pain is deadened must never make you lose sight of the physical trauma you are causing. Don't abuse your responsibility for your bottom's safety just because the euphoria of a endorphin rush makes your bottom a little giddy.

In order to stimulate the release of endorphins, the top should gradually increase the pain level until it nears the pain threshold. After reaching the threshold, lower the intensity and allow the endorphins which the pain released to work their magic, nullifying the pain. When the top once again begins to increase the pain, the endorphins which the previous cycle released allow the bottom to tolerate a higher level of pain. The now higher level of pain releases even more endorphins, and the cycle begins again .

Patience is a virtue here. There are several difficulties you may run into. They can discourage you, but don't let them! Keep them in mind, watch for them, and when they occur, alter your technique until you find that unique formula that works for you and your bottom. Sometimes subtle changes in technique can produce dramatic results.

Sometimes the pain threshold will hit a plateau, refusing to rise further. If this happens, a complete break in activity for a few moments, a few minutes or longer might be in order. Every bottom has a certain point beyond which even the best technique cannot take them. This point can vary from day to day. Just because the bottom hit a new high yesterday doesn't mean he or she will hit it again today. If you try every technique you can think of to get beyond the plateau, but to no avail, it's just not the right day. Accept what comes.

Another common problem is hypersensitivity, which causes the pain threshold to drop dramatically. Those of you who have had large tattoos done know how it works. Believe me, it's no fun. You are playing, having a great time - the bottom is on a major endorphin high and you're loving it. Suddenly the bottom safes out. You take a break and then get back into it, but after the break even love taps are too painful. What went wrong?

Hypersensitivity seems to happen most often when you have been pushing too far, too fast. Playing right around the threshold is physically and mentally stressful, and too much of it will wear the bottom out. Make sure when you bring him or her back down, you leave plenty of time for rest.

Endorphin highs are a great reward, but they take hard work. If you are not successful after a few attempts, don't give up. Even an experienced player takes time to learn a new bottom, and as a novice you have to learn the bottom while learning the technique. Just work slowly, stay determined, and look for small signs of success. These small successes will tell you what works for the bottom. Eventually, with patience, you will get it.

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