7 Natural Depression Releasers

May 26 07:33 2008 Wil Dieck Print This Article

If you or someone you know are suffering from the symptoms of depression you know that they can seem overwhelming. Here are 7 Natural Methods to overcome these symptoms and move on with your life.

Please note,Guest Posting even though these remedies are all well researched, if you or someone you know has severe symptoms of depression, consult a mental health professional.

 

Exercise  

Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, as well as depression. It helps to boost self-esteem and has been shown to improve mood. Physically exercise strengthens the heart allowing the body to better use oxygen. Also it builds your energy level, lowers your blood pressure, helps reduce overall body fat and makes you look fit and feel healthy. In addition to being good for your overall health, research has shown that exercise is an often underused but effective treatment for mild to moderate depression.

 

A good goal would be a moderate exercise program in the morning or afternoon 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week, although current studies suggest that four or five times a week is best. If you are just starting out, begin with 20 minutes and build up to 30 minutes.

It appears that any form of exercise can help depression because exercise gets you out of the house, moves your body and stimulates serotonin production.

 

When trying to decide on an exercise program choose something you enjoy. Think about your goals and what you want to accomplish. Do you like group activities or do you like to do things by yourself? Do you have any limiting physical conditions? Do you want to improve cardio vascular health, lose weight or improve overall strength? Whatever you decide, your exercise program should be fun, not a chore. Variety can make your program stimulating and fun.

 

Even though any form of exercise is good for you, if you are just starting out or over 40 try and exercise program with low impact on the joints and body such as Tai Chi and Yoga. In addition to being excellent for your health while easy on your body, these types of activities also stimulate your mind. If you are interested in Tai Chi give me a call at (800) 989-6570 or check the links on this blog for Yoga instruction at the Institute of Progressive Therapies.

 

St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)

 

Before reading further please note that studies suggest that St. John's wort is not effective for major depression.

 

St. John's wort is an herb that has been used for the relief of sadness, depression, anxiety, apathy, sleep disturbances, insomnia, anorexia and feelings of worthlessness. It is available as an over-the-counter supplement in health food stores, drug stores, and online. Interestingly, over 20 clinical trials show a strong correlation between St. John's wort and the relief of mild to moderate depression. These same studies show that St. John's wort works better than a placebo and is as effective as antidepressants, with virtually no side effects.

 

St. John's wort (extract standardized to contain 0.3 percent hypericin content) is the most thoroughly researched of all natural antidepressants. An article in the British Medical Journal No. 7052 Volume 313 published on Saturday 3 August 1996 explained that an analysis of approximately 25 studies suggested that St. John's Wort is just as helpful as commonly used drugs, without side effects such as headaches or vomiting. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Cynthia Mulrow, said she wasn’t surprised but the outcome because "some of the commonly used medicines have a basis on herbs or have a basis in plants, and some of the ones were developed using plants."

 

Like many herbs, it may take a while to notice the full effects.  Studies show that with St. John's wort this may take 4 to 6 weeks. The side effects noted in the use of St. John's wort are dizziness, dry mouth, indigestion, and fatigue. It also increases photosensitivity, so if you use it, wear your sun screen and sun glasses to protect your skin and eyes from sunlight.

 

Massage

 

Massage is one of the oldest natural remedies available to man and has probably been around since our beginnings. According to research, massage can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. When you receive a massage your body releases mood and health enhancing chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin while reducing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. It allows your body to relax and your brain to enter a relaxed alpha state. It also helps to increase endorphins which are your body’s natural pain relievers. This same research has show massage to boosts your immune system, improves your breathing and lung function, stabilizes your blood sugar levels and generally leaves you with a better feeling about yourself and the world. In the journal "Psychiatry in Practice", Andrew Vickers, a researcher formerly with the Research Council for Complementary Medicine said “it's far too simplistic to say massage can cure depression or other diseases, but it can help us to cope better and improve the quality of life.”

 

People that are depressed are often in pain, often without a particular physical cause but anyone who has become stressed or anxious would probably testify of some physical symptom, neck ache, stomach pain, back pain, etc., as a result of being anxious or stressed. Although a massage therapist cannot cure a person with anxiety or depression they can certainly help relieve their physical manifestations. In other words they can help them feel better and isn’t that what they want?

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

 

In the last 100 years depression has increase in western countries. In countries like Japan and Taiwan that have more fish in their diets, the depression rate is 10 times lower. There is also a smaller incidence of postpartum depression.

 

An online report in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine suggested that people whose diets contain substantially more of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids are at greater risk for clinical depression. It also increases the risk of certain inflammatory diseases.

 

Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State and an author of the study stated "It now appears that diet is a very important variable in the equation as to how people respond to depression and stress." She went on to say, "People who are depressed don't eat well, or it might be that there is something about depression that affects how well people process such foods."

 

Many studies have linked low levels of omega-3 fatty acids to depression. Some of these studies have suggested that supplements may decrease suicidal behavior and improve symptoms of postpartum depression and childhood depression. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1996 compared the prevalence of depression across ten nations. The results showed how the lifetime and annual rates for depression vary widely from country to country. This data was compared in a 1998 study published in The Lancet where it was found that populations that consumed more fish experienced less depression.

 

The brain needs omega-3 fatty acids are to properly function. Since our bodies can't make omega-3s, we need to get them from our diet.

Cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, and anchovies are the richest food source of omega-3 fatty acids. The problem with eating more fish is that it puts us at risk for consuming higher levels of mercury, PCBs, and other chemicals. Many consider fish oil capsules a better, cleaner source of these fatty acids because many manufactures filter their fish oil to remove any of these impurities. Capsules are sold in health food stores, drug stores, and online.

 

Sometimes fish oil capsules interact with blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin and aspirin. Some people experience indigestion and bleeding when they take fish oil and should not be taken 2 weeks before or after surgery. Since fish oil comes from fish it can give you a fishy aftertaste. This can be reduced or completely removed by taking fish oil right before eating.

 

Acupuncture

 

Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is among the oldest healing practices in the world.  It has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. Although most often associated with sticking very fine needles into specific points on the body, acupuncture is actually a term that involves a family of procedures that stimulate energy throughout the body.

 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine a person’s health is achieved by maintaining a balanced state of Yin and Yang energy. An imbalance of this energy can lead to blockages along meridians or energy paths in the body. This “Chi” or “Qi” energy or can be unblocked by using acupuncture at certain points on the body that connect along these meridians.

 

Acupuncture has been found to prevent and cure specific diseases and conditions such as headaches and muscle pain. It is also be used to treat arthritis, spastic colon, colitis, and addictions to nicotine or other drugs. It has also been found to help people that have mild to moderate depression.

 

Although relatively few complications have been reported from the use of acupuncture, it can potentially cause serious side effects if not delivered properly by a qualified practitioner. So be sure that your Acupuncturist is board certified by the state or country you live in.

SAM-e

 

Before reading further please note that studies suggest that SAM-e may not effective for major depression. These same studies show that Individuals with bipolar (manic) depression should not take SAM-e.

 

The supplement SAM-e, pronounced "sammy", is short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine. This chemical is found naturally in the human body and studies have shown that it increase the levels of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Several studies have found SAM-e is more effective than placebo.

 

SAMe is a critical component of a process called methylation. Methylation makes dozens of essential bodily processes happen from the brain cells to the bones and occurs billions of times every second throughout the body. Under-methylation can result in low levels of the mood-enhancing neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Low levels of methylation have been linked to depression while high levels have been linked to bi-polar disorder. Depression and bipolar "are a diverse collection of disorders, each with a different biochemistry," according to Dr William Walsh, founder of the Health Research Institute. In addition to boosting production and action of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, studies have shown that SAMe promotes the methylation of phospholipids, fats which provide structural support to cellular membranes, which maintain the fluidity and responsiveness of nerve cell membranes.

Please note that SAMe can initially cause nausea in some people. As with all drugs and herbs read the label before taking SAM-e. It is available as an over-the-counter supplement in health food stores, drug stores, and online.

 

Hypnosis and NLP to Relieve the Symptoms of Depression

 

Hypnosis and guided imagery are forms of focused relaxation that helps the mind release stress. This stress comes from many sources, from work to personal relationships to a negative focus brought about by concentrating too much on the television and newspapers. Many people remain stressed and develop some form of depression because they continue to think about what is wrong with their lives or with the world or try to fix things that are out of their control. Hypnosis or guided imagery can help you create calm, peaceful images in your mind, providing you with a mental vacation from your anxieties and worries.

 

I recently had a client that had been diagnosed with depression two years before and had been on disability as a result. He was being prescribed a number of drugs for this depression. When he came to me he confessed that the drugs he was taking were making him feel sick and lethargic and, as a result of these feeling, he was weaning himself from them.

 

My client had experienced a number of traumatic events when he was young. In one of them he had witnessed an extremely violent event where his girlfriend had been the victim. He had never been treated for this trauma and, although he had tried to suppress his memories,   this had affected him deeply. Through hypnosis he recognized that his depression was a result of these memories.

 

Part of his therapy was recognizing how and where he experienced these depressed feelings. This was accomplished using NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming, a cutting edge tool that is used to make permanent change. Using NLP he discovered that these memories were like a heavy weight on his chest.

 

We had a number of sessions that focused on him letting go of these feelings and in a short time he had released these old memories completely. In fact, the last time I saw him, when he walked in to see me he looked like a totally new man, standing straight and tall and at his final session told me he was returning to the work force.

 

Now I don’t claim that I healed this man of his depression. I believe that he did that himself. By using Hypnosis and NLP to uncover the source of his depression, he made the discoveries that helped him overcome it.

 

NLP and Hypnosis are powerful methods for overcoming the symptoms of depression. If you or someone you know would like to see if hypnosis and NLP can be used to release them, visit my website or give me a call at (800) 989-6570.

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About Article Author

Wil Dieck
Wil Dieck

Wil Dieck is the founder of Total Mind Therapy, a combination of hypnosis, NLP, breathing techniques from the martial arts and visualization used for goal setting. His practice is located in San Diego, California. For more information about Wil and his practice please go to http://www.TotalMindTherapy.net  or go to his blog at http://hypnowil.wordpress.com/

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