Winter Blues? Acupuncture Treats Depression Naturally

    “Ô, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.” ― Roman Payne, author

Payne had it right; sunlight uplifts our mood and dramatically improves our outlook on life. Therefore, it should be no surprise that when this precious golden light is reduced to a fewer hours a day in the winter, our entire emotional state is affected. Millions of Americans have the “winter blues,” a feeling of malaise that can range from feeling merely “blah” to the crippling depression of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Fortunately, acupuncture has proven to be an effective treatment for certain cases of depression.

What is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)?

SAD is a type of depression that is determined by the change of seasons. Those with SAD tend to get depressed, exhausted and moody during the fall and winter months. According to the Mayo Clinic SAD is much more than just a mere case of the blues. Those with SAD may experience the following symptoms to an extent that they interfere with day-to-day functioning:

  • Frequent, persistent depression that lasts most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Loss of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Weight changes
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Those who are at greater risk for SAD include those who live far the equator in countries where there are longer winters, and those who have family members with a history of depression. If you’ve already been diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder, the seasonal changes and reduction in sunlight may agitate your symptoms or make them worse.

There are several effective treatments for SAD, which can include everything from light therapy to antidepressants. For those who want relief without some of the side effects of antidepressant medication, acupuncture is a great option.

How does acupuncture treat depression?

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine concentrate on treating the whole body, focusing on the principle of helping your body “awaken” its natural healing properties. In many cases, something that is wrong with one part of the body affects another part, so acupuncture focuses on making sure all parts of your body have the energy to operate. The philosophy behind Traditional Chinese Medicine is that all systems must be working at their optimum efficiency because if they are “blocked,” they cannot interact in a manner that will promote optimum wellness.

Acupuncture also releases endorphins, which naturally enhance your mood. In addition, they promote the brain’s production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is vital in regulating your mood.

Experiencing the winter blues? Don’t wait to get help

 

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To all my patients: past, present and future, I am taking a short sabbatical to study Oncology at Christies, hoping to be back soon.

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