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Natural Remedies for Depression

While statistics don’t agree on an exact number, it is safe to say that there are millions of people in the United States who are suffering with depression today. Although depression is considered to be a mental illness, it can also cause physical symptoms as well.  Depression can be a debilitating condition in those who suffer severe cases whether they are chronic or occur randomly.

There are a number of different factors that cause certain individuals to suffer from depression.  These include genetics, biochemistry, health conditions, stress, trauma, and grief. Although there are several drugs available to treat depression, many people do not like the idea of using chemicals to feel better.  They may also be reluctant to resort to medication due to potential side effects, costs, and the fact that medications can vary significantly in terms of how they work for different people.  The idea of months of trial and error I order to find the right medication and the right dose can also be a deterrent.

As an alternative, some people make the choice to pursue natural remedies for their depression. This is often a good option for those who do not suffer from severe depression. There are also some people who use natural remedies in combination with their medication or therapy in order to enhance the results and have more control over their treatment.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best and most versatile types of natural treatments for depression that there are. There are no restrictions on what type of exercise you must do in order to get results. You don’t have to put on your jogging suit and get in five miles a day in order to get results. Using a stress-relieving exercise like yoga will work just as well, if not better. The goal of exercise is to raise the level of serotonin in the brain, the chemical in the brain that is responsible for making you feel happy.

Yoga

Yoga is not only a type of physical exercise for your body – it is also an effective form of relaxation for your mind. Getting control of depression involves being able to change your thought patterns. Yoga will help you relieve stress while teaching you how to create more positive thoughts and attitudes that are likely a part of your depression.

Just as there are different types and degrees of depression, there are also different types of yoga workouts that will help some individuals more than others. Finding a qualified yoga instructor is the best way to get the most from your yoga sessions. The most common type of depression is that which involves anxiety and restlessness. Yoga can help to bring calm and peace back into these individuals’ lives.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used for centuries as a treatment for many physical ailments including depression. It is the process of sticking very fine needles into various points of the body that some people believe causes the increased production of pain reducing chemicals. Since acupuncture is known to relieve stress, many feel that it can reduce the stress that causes depression, regardless of the source of the stress.

Although acupuncture has been used successfully for centuries and is now considered an acceptable Western medical treatment for many different conditions, the mechanism that makes it work is still not really understood. However, acupuncture has consistently given equal or better results than medications for treatment of depression while it also reduces anxiety levels that medication does not!

An additional advantage to acupuncture over medication treatment is that it can be used safely to treat depression in pregnant women. The risk of antidepressants during pregnancy is a valid concern that can be answered with a natural treatment like acupuncture.

Meditation

Relieving anxiety and stress plays an active role in the treatment of depression as well as preventing its recurrence. This is a convenient treatment because you can meditate almost anywhere at any time you need it. Although a regular meditation session might last ten or fifteen minutes, using a mantra that you say in your mind repeatedly will help you become more peaceful during those stressful times that threaten to disrupt your feelings.

Meditation is a valuable tool that can help prevent depression from occurring. It is especially beneficial when normal aspects of life such as work, family life, or social obligations become overwhelming or exhausting.

Tai Chai

Tai Chai is a type of martial art that has a positive effect on the mind as well as the body. According to a recent study performed at UCLA, Tai Chai has proven to be an effective way to treat depression in seniors.¹ This group of individuals is one that is rapidly increasing in size as baby boomers are nearing retirement age. Unfortunately, it’s a group that is also frequently overlooked when diagnosing depression.

Offering seniors, who are more likely to be on multiple medications for various conditions, an alternative option for treating depression makes good sense. Tai Chai is the ideal solution for those who need a gentler form of exercise that can be very beneficial without the physical strain of high impact exercise. Even those with medical conditions are often able to do Tai Chai to the level that it has a positive impact on depression.

Music Therapy

Music is more than entertainment: It is also an effective method of treatment that has been used for years to soothe patients with a variety of ailments. We all have our own taste in music and no matter what your style, music can help reduce fear, stress, anxiety and grief that are causing you to feel depressed. Music is a wonderful natural treatment that you can take along with you wherever you go.

Putting it All Together

Although most experts will tell you today that using these natural treatments for depression are not exclusive to your need for chemical medication, the amount of success that they have had in treating other depression patients has been as successful, if not more so, than the medications alone. Depending on your degree of depression and your ability to take control of your situation, any one of these, or a combination, may help you remain depression free.

¹”Tai Chi beats back depression in the elderly, study shows” UCLA Newsroom, December 19, 2011

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/tai-chi-beats-back-depression-199019.aspx