How To Increase Dynorphin Release In The Sauna?
Hey everyone, today i'm answering a question someone asked us on Quora.com
If you don't know what are dynorphins, i'm going to briefly explain it here, if you already know what they are, feel free to skip this part and get right to the answer !
What are "Dynorphins" & Why Should I Care ?
A simple way to go about it is to think as dynorphins as the opposite cousins of “endorphins”.
While endorphins are responsible for feelings of ease and happiness, dynorphins are responsible for the sensation of discomfort such as those we experience when we exercice hard, when we’re exposed to intense heat/cold stress or even when we eat spicy foods.
Both endorphins and dynorphins are naturally produced by the body and are part of what we call the “endogenous opioid system”. It is to note that this system is closely related to our ability to “thermoregulate”. (adapt to temperature changes).
The reason why you should care about dynorphins is that when they are triggered, they sensitize your entire opioid system rendering your cells more receptive to "endorphins" afterward. This is why you feel euphoric, relaxed and relieved after a hard workout. Some people refer to this feeling as "the runners high".
The biological interplay between those two molecules is something we often expressed intuitively when we say things like "no pain, no gain", "no guts, no glory", "no success without suffering". We understand that discomfort now can provide some positive effects later.
How to Increase Dynorphin Releases
If you want to increase the amount of dynorphins you’re producing, a good way to go about it is to shock/stress your body by repeatedly exposing it to significant temperature changes.
Here are a few good ways to do it :
- Hard workouts
- 20–30 min sauna sessions (175F-195F)
- Cold plunges
I suggest to do them one after the other.
Here’s how I do it myself multiple times a week :
- 5KM on treadmill/30 min of Cycling Intervals/HIIT/Weightlifting
- 20–30 min sauna at 190F - 200F - (Pour Eucalyptus + Orange essential Oil mixed with water every 5 min for scent and increased humidity.)
- Cold showers 2x2 min
- Repeat step 2 - 3 as much as you want to increase dynorphin release.
Now if you are asking about how to increase the amount of dynorphins specifically when you’re in the sauna the answer to that would be to have longer sessions and/or increase the temperature of the room.
While you can and should ignore/push through sensations of discomfort while in the sauna, make sure not to go overboard and stop immediately if you’re feeling unwell.
Too much heat stress can actually be dangerous.
If you want to learn more about the studies and details on the biological processes involved in dynorphin releases and sauna exposure, I recommend Tim Ferris’s article : Are Saunas the Next Big Performance-Enhancing "Drug"?