Sunday July 09, 2017
Pain for pleasure: the ecstatic, mind-altering spice of hot peppers
more stories from this episode
- What happens when a staunch anti-drugger falls, breaks her back and ends up in chronic pain
- Marina Abramović cuts, slaps and whips to conquer pain
- The original pain: Childbirth with or without drugs?
- Pain on par with love, hope and being alive
- "It was a focused pain": Why one woman used to harm herself
- Pain for pleasure: the ecstatic, mind-altering spice of hot peppers
- How painful rituals bring people together
- How one listener found meaning in her arthritis pain
- Full Episode
Danny Chau loves spicy food. Inspired by his father's habit of nibbling Thai chili peppers, he began experimenting with spice at a very early age.
After years of training, Chau looks for more than just a kick of spice. He wants spice so extreme it "changes you in the moment."
His quest for spice-induced bliss led him to the Carolina Reaper. It's the world's hottest chili pepper and about 250 times hotter than a jalapeño.
"You're basically telling your body that you pretty much set yourself on fire," he says, "The brain is trying to release its endorphins...essentially to make yourself feel better. And so in that weird space between pain and pleasure you kind of feel loopy. It's almost this weird sense of serenity once the pain has started to subside."
This story originally aired on November 12, 2016