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There are many natural treatments for depression, such as yoga for depression. Also find out about exercise and depression, acupuncture and depression and more.
Acupuncture and Depression
Acupuncture is the use of fine needles along specific energy channels of the body to release blocks in the energy.
In reviewing the literature for acupuncture and depression, the first information I came across was inconclusive regarding the effectiveness of using acupuncture for depression. Given my natural skepticism of the ability of studies to reveal the truth for all of us, I continued to research the subject.
There are some studies that suggest acupuncture may help with menopausal depression. If this is a method that appeals to you, it's worth finding out more.
Is it acupuncture or is it acupuncture?
I was fortunate during my herbal medicine studies to meet a doctor who practiced at Kaiser Permanente, and an OMD, or Doctor of Oriental Medicine. The OMD was raised in China, and had training in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). For him, acupuncture was something of a last resort, similar to our surgery. He had been trained in Taoism, feng shui, herbalism, and acupuncture as part of his training. Years of training. In fact, he started learning the way of the Tao as a young boy. To him, it was simply a way of life.
The Kaiser doctor told one of our classes about how acupuncture was being brought into the US medical scene (this was in 1993). She said that as a doctor you could take a (very) short course, a few hours, and become licensed as an acupuncturist.
The truth is a bit more complex. The two types of acupuncture I am referring to are TCM Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac.) and medical acupuncturists. For some detailed and excellent information about the two different types, visit medical acupuncture and TCM.
Aromatherapy / Essential Oils for Menopausal Depression
Aromatherapy can help with depression. Aromatherapy is the use of plant compounds for healing. See aromatherapy for depression for more about this.
Exercise and Depression
While the effectiveness of acupuncture as one of the natural treatments for depression may be in question, there is no such ambivalence about exercise and depression. Exercise can help improve mood by increasing feel-good brain chemicals, and by giving you a sense of accomplishment.
The problem, of course, could be that you are too depressed to try it! In that case, there are many other starting points to help you feel better. Diet and depression is the most profound way to begin supporting yourself, and may take less effort. To find out how, see diet and depression and fish oil for depression.
If even changing your diet seems to be too much, I would suggest trying herbs and vitamins for depression. Find out more at depression vitamins.
Flower Essences for Depression
Flower essences are often confused with essential oils, or aromatherapy, but in fact are quite different. Flower essences heal on an energetic level. They work with your spirit, your emotions and your consciousness.
Many flower essences are made by picking the flowers from the plant when they are in full bloom, and leaving them in a bowl of water in the sun for several hours, until the “essence” of the flower is transferred into the water.
This process is completed right next to the plant, and not in a laboratory somewhere. The philosophy of flower essences includes a strong connection to nature, and the healing power of nature for human beings.
The essence is then bottled and distributed. The way to use flower essences is by putting a few drops in water, or directly under your tongue, several times per day. The care and inner reflection and preparation taken before and during their use will determine the depth of the changes observed.
There is an excellent book that describes these processes in detail, by Patricia Kaminski, called Flowers that Heal.
Where to Buy Flower Essences
Below are some recommended flower essences for depression and where to find them. Also included are gem essences and environmental essences.
Alaskan Essences – Lighten Up – uplifts and energizes. Good for SAD
White Desert Zinnia from Desert-Alchemy.com opens you to lightness and merriment
Sun Shine Planetary Essence – great for SAD, depression. Floods you with light and warmth.
Light therapy is the use of artificial, full-spectrum lighting to elevate your mood. It is especially helpful in Seasonal Affective Disorder, but can be used for other depression types as well. If you are bipolar, there are cautions to take into consideration. There have been many studies suggesting the effectiveness of light therapy for mood enhancement. The way to use light therapy is to buy a light box, and sit under it for 15 to 30 minutes per day.
Music is another way to help with depression. There have been studies showing positive improvement in mood from listening to music every day. When you think about it, this is almost common sense. When's the last time you heard your favorite tune? How did it make you feel? I have listened to less music as I became a parent, and I can really notice the difference in my mood when I do listen to some of my favorite songs. And no side effects!
In Don Campbell's book The Mozart Effect, he refers to another book, Hearing Equals Behavior, by Guy Berard, M.D., a doctor who treated 233 depressed patients with a 97% cure rate using music for healing. Of course this was much more specific than simply listening to music you like, but listening for your own pleasure certainly cannot hurt.
Yoga for Depression
Yoga is another way to alleviate depression. Studies have confirmed the success of this method, although they don't know exactly how it works. Yoga is designed to bring blood flow to all of your organs and tissues, so it could be as simple as that. It has a balancing and relaxing effect, making it useful for stress relief as well as giving you an increased feeling of well-being. I find it easier to do than strength training.
I taught myself yoga in my twenties, from an excellent book called Yoga 28 Day Exercise Plan. When I was pregnant with my son, I took a weekly class in yoga, and then again after he was born, I took another weekly class. I have never felt more nurtured. I highly recommend taking a class if you can find one in your area.