Depression – Lifting the Cloud with Natural Medicine: By Dr Damiana Corca
Depression may have touched each of us at some point in our life. But you were probably able to bounce right back in no time. If in the past depression was only referred to in advanced clinical depression cases, nowadays the word depression has stretched its meaning to the point where every little step wherefrom the expected outcome does not follow, can result in “depression”.
Could this be the reason why the latest research shows such a high number of Americans – 1 in 5 – are feeling depressed? Well, it is one of the reasons, to be sure. Do the antidepressant drugs really work? The latest research is contradictory, some of the studies showing that drug therapy works no better than placebo for light to moderate depression, having some better results in severe depression. Anyway, talking about research on drug therapies or their side effects is not what I had in mind for this article.
Moreover, my first instinct was to give you some statistics – and there are plenty when it comes to depression. But if you are reading this article because you or a loved one is feeling depressed, I bet statistics become just a bunch of meaningless figures to you. This is why my article will focus on the safe and effective solutions that natural medicine has to offer.
Depression has got this bad reputation, as it is generally associated only with negative thoughts. Depression could actually be compared to physical pain – is pain our enemy? No, because it lets us know we need to take care of ourselves. Likewise, a sense of depression is a symptom prompting us to solve or deal with certain emotions, such as sadness, grief, anger, etc. This makes sense, as depression often co-exists with panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and compulsive-obsessive behavior. So, what is to be done? Severe or not, depression can be debilitating and can make life feel like a punishment. It is in our nature to always be happy so let’s find out how to achieve and maintain that happiness.
Yoga – The Ultimate Depression Remedy
There is extensive evidence that yoga not only lifts up the spirit but also quiets the mind, which helps deal with our daily life, from relationships at work or home to living a life full of joy – but most importantly to achieve that higher and deeper purpose that ultimately is what can keep us happy every day.
The April 2009 Issue of Harvard Health Publications published a comprehensive article called “Yoga for Anxiety and Depression”[i] where a few studies show that yoga not only improves well-being but also decreases the threshold response to stress and pain.
Yoga is a discipline that combines breathing exercises, various yoga positions, and meditation. All of these bring awareness to your whole being and if practiced consistently, enormous benefits could be seen in each aspect of your life.
Let yoga become part of your life; try different teachers and styles to find out which one fits you best. Hard to quiet your mind during meditation? There are different ways to meditate, from listening to music to visualizing techniques, from specific focus points to, why not, chanting. Again, let your inner wisdom guide you in finding which meditation technique is more appropriate if you are a beginner.
Massage – Advanced Manual Techniques for Any Emotional Trauma
Both physical and emotional traumas are stored within the soft tissues complex – more exactly the soma. The emotions are retained and many times suppressed for our whole life in the non-conscious level. They really act like a protection mechanism, trying to keep us away from painful memories – but this will only cover the problem and not solve the core issue. The SomatoEmotional Release concept promoted by Dr John E. Upledger suggests that traumas are stored within different parts of the body.
The SomatoEmotional Release processes are often triggered by techniques such as CranioSacral Therapy and Myofascial Release. The proper and skilful stretching and activating of the fascia through Myofascial Release can help let go much of the stored emotion and lead to spontaneous healing[ii]. It creates the perfect environment for healing and when the patient is ready, facilitation of moving ahead and letting go of past issues becomes easier to handle. Moreover, the fascia is strongly connected to the CranioSacral rhythm[iii]. So, these two therapies work beautifully together and can lead to deep relaxation, which is ultimately the perfect environment for resetting and bringing awareness within our whole being.
Acupuncture – Emotions Uncovered
Chinese Medicine sees emotions as associated with specific organs of our system. The liver does not only consist of the organ itself as known in Allopathic Medicine, but also of its associated energy. Furthermore, it also has emotions associated with it – liver for example is specifically related to anger and depression. However, each of the organs can be linked to depression. For example, kidneys are strongly related to fear, spleen to rumination and disappointment, heart to fear of being hurt, and lung to grief and sadness.
When the acupuncture meridians are activated, either with needles or with Myofascial Release, the organ systems are regulated, and depression and emotional upset is thereby solved. Keep in mind that long-term excessive emotions, be they anger, depression, or over thinking, will sooner or later disturb physiological processes such as digestion. So, be kind to yourself!
A recent study[iv] has shown that acupuncture is even effective against depression during pregnancy. This makes acupuncture a very valuable tool, as pregnancy is a very sensitive period, where more natural and safe remedies are preferred for the safety of both the fetus and the mother.
St. John’s Wort has definitely enjoyed the most attention as regards the treatment of depression. Studies have show that it can be effective in mild to moderate depression. However, practice caution when taking St. John’s Wort as increased photosensitivity occurs when ingested. In addition, it should not be taken concurrently with antidepressants.
Chinese formulas are prescribed according to the pattern found after proper diagnosis. Treating the root of the imbalance leads to long-term and effective results.
Other remedies known to bring relief in depression are Kava Kava, Valerian root, Ginseng, and Gingko biloba. From the Ayurvedic Medicine, some of the mixtures thought to have an effect on the mood are shavateri (asparagus racemosus), jatamansi (nordostachys jatamansi), brahmi (gotu kola), and gudachi (tinospora cordifolia)[v].
Always consult a licensed herbalist for proper diagnosis and safe combination of herbs.
Classical Homeopathy offers an excellent choice for all types of depression. A session with a Classical Homeopath to assess your constitutional remedy can not only help with your mood but also influence your personality and your genetic predispositions. The right homeopathic remedy can truly go deep to the core of the problem, bringing long-term results. In addition, such remedies are one of the best choices, as they are totally safe and free of side effects, and can be taken together with other treatments without fear of drug interactions.
Nutrition & Supplements
B Vitamins and Omega 3 fatty acids are important factors in dealing with depression. A whole food diet is crucial in keeping balanced and reaching homeostasis – emotionally and physically.
Nature and Healing
Spend time outdoors, take a walk everyday and remember to breathe. 10 minutes spent in nature is more valuable than you can imagine.
As this is such a special topic, it really deserves more attention. While writing this article, it has dawned on me that nothing is more powerful than other people’s testimonials. I am honored to have interviewed 8 people of different faiths, carriers, and cultures.
They are all sharing a glimpse of their happiness with us, so don’t miss the second part of this article.
Coming soon! Depression – Secrets Unveiled
[ii] Barnes F.J., (2000).Healing Ancient Wounds, The Renegade’s Wisdom. Paoli, PA: Rehabilitation Services.
[iii] Upledger E. J. (1996). SomatoEmotional Release and Beyond. Palm Beach Gardens, FL: UI Publishing
[iv] Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (2010, February 4). Acupuncture found effective against depression during pregnancy.
[v] Cherniak P, Cherniak N. (2003). Alternative Medicine for Elderly. New York: Springer
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