What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and loss of general interest. Depression affects how an individual feels, thinks, and behaves and may lead to a wide variety of emotional, mental, physical, and social problems. Depression is a common condition, and it is estimated that one in five people will experience symptoms of clinical depression at least once in their lifetime. Depression refers to long-lasting emotional and cognitive states that negatively impair or affect day-to-day functioning. Symptoms of depression include negative thoughts, irritability, exhaustion, agitation, sleep changes, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, loss of positive and pleasure associations, and persisting sadness. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be a safe and extremely effective therapy for helping to heal depression.
Acupuncture can be extremely successful in treating the depression naturally and gently. By increasing the release of ACTH, beta-endorphins, serotonin, and noradrenaline acupuncture treatments can help increase blood flow, regulate hormones and enzymes, and relax and promote natural healing of the body. Acupuncture can bring relief to mood swings, sleeping and eating problems, strengthen the immune system, and help increase overall energy and motivation.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
In conjunction with acupuncture or as treatment on its own, Chinese herbal remedies are useful in treating depression gently and naturally. Chinese herbal formulas are specially tailored for each individual case and are safe for breastfeeding. Formulas such as Gui Pi Tang may be useful, for example, in treating sadness and insomnia experienced postpartum by toning Spleen-Qi and Heart-Blood. The formula Fu Shen San may be useful in treating palpitations, anxiety, and confused behaviour after childbirth.
Nutrition and Diet
It is important to note that unhealthy diet and weight can lead to a higher risk for depression and anxiety, so it is critical to ensure optimum nutritional health in order to look out for your own mental health.
The neurotransmitter serotonin is critical in regulating mood, and when serotonin levels are low mood may be negatively impacted. Production of serotonin is closely associated with the availability of the amino acid tryptophan and vitamin B6. In order for tryptophan to be converted into a precursor for serotonin, it is critical to ensure adequate levels of niacin and iron are available in the body.
Further, the hormone cortisol, produced in response to stress, converts tryptophan into a chemical that cannot be converted into serotonin. Drinking coffee and alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and stress can lead to increased production of cortisol, and therefore limited availability of the serotonin precursor.
Treatment of depression from a nutrition standpoint involves preventing deficiencies in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
The optimum diet should be well-balanced and include foods like fatty fish (like salmon), green leafy vegetables, eggs, beans and lentils, nuts, and citrus juice. Ensuring enough iron by eating spinach, red meat, liver, raisons, broccoli, and egg yolks is important.
Lifestyle and Mind-Body Medicine
It is important to note that high life stress and anxiety levels can lead to a higher risk for depression and anxiety, so it is critical to take care on emotional and mental well-being.
Ensuring a healthy, balanced lifestyle is important in the prevention and treatment of depression. This includes a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, and getting enough sunlight exposure before, during, and after pregnancy and childbirth.
Mind-Body therapies may be useful in finding relief and coming to better understand underlying the thoughts and emotions around the individual psychological life experience. Mindfulness exercises, creative arts exercise, yoga, and guided imagery can all be extremely beneficial in depression treatment.
In addition to acupuncture and nutrition, learning relaxation techniques are greatly beneficial to general health and wellbeing. Chronic, or acute, lifestyle stress can have a wide variety of negative effects on the body, including reproductive organ blood flow and hormone regulation. Physical and psychological stress can make existing symptoms worse and delay overall internal healing.
Techniques that elicit the relaxation response (a state of deep relaxation in which the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate decrease, muscle tension relaxes, stress hormone levels fall, and the mind becomes tranquil), and relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga may aid greatly in bringing balance to mental and emotional states. Practicing focused deep-breathing, meditation, yoga, tai-chi and other activities are among those that can increase your chances of a healthy life and pregnancy. Listening to music, focused breathing, or being outside in nature are also effective methods of managing stress.