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Introduction to Alternative Treatments for Depression
There are a number of treatments available to sufferers of depression who are looking for more help than using antidepressants alone in fighting depression. Treatments ranging from herbs and acupuncture to guided imagery are all finding their place in an ever modernising approach to treating depression. Although this field of medicine is vast, it is worth looking at treatments that are becoming increasingly popular with those looking to help them deal with their depression.
There are a number of herbal treatments available all claiming to relieve the symptoms of depression. Very few of them however do as most are unstudied or have had limited studies into their effectiveness.
Those herbs that are effective are just a few that have undergone multiple clinical trials whose outcome provides clinic proof backed by research. It is important to note that these herbs have proven to be effective only when taking the correct dosage of the herb and in a quality equal or greater to that used in the studies. There is conclusive proof that pharmaceutical-grade St John's Wort is very effective in relieving the symptoms of depression. Studies have found that high quality St John's Wort is just as effective as popular anti-depressive drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. It also causes less side-effects than the anti-depressive drugs. Studies have thus indicated that high quality St John's Wort is the most effect herbal treatment available for depression.
Ginkgo Biloba is considered to be the oldest living tree species in existence. Ginkgo Biloba is affective in increasing blood flow throughout the body. This includes the brain where it helps increase memory function. Memory impairment is one of the symptoms of depression and very prevalent in a major depressive episode.
Meditation is the art of breathing. Maintaining a steady breath while sitting relaxes the body and mind. You cultivate mindfulness by concentrating on the present moment and what it brings to you. Some say it is about clearing the mind of clutter, but that is not the sole purpose of meditation. Daily practice will promote relaxation not just during sitting but throughout the day.
Reflexology is the practice of applying pressure to various parts of the hands and feet such that it will stimulate the body to heal itself. These various points are said to represent various parts of the human body, and by applying pressure to them, they induce healing in that particular part of the body.
The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture involves 'puncturing' the patients skin with very fine needles into carefully positioned points on the human body. Acupuncture stimulates the release of chemicals that alleviate the sensation of pain. It also corrects imbalances by stimulating the body functions to fight illnesses and conditions such as depression.
Massage is the art of using touch to promote relaxation concentrating on the link between mind and body. When the body is relaxed this is believed to promote relaxation and calmness in the mind. This will lead to lowering symptoms of depression. There are a number of massage therapies available such as shiatsu, Swedish and spinal release therapy.
Guided Imagery uses powerful mental image techniques to promote harmony between the mind and body. The patient is encouraged to see peaceful mental images that create calm within the mind of the patient. This is taught as a coping skill that can be used to fight unhealthy negative emotions such as anger, as well as helping relieving pain, stress and depression. It can also help relieve insomnia which is a symptom of depression and anxiety.
Physical exercise produces endorphins which cause a natural 'high' felt by the person. Exercise is known to relax the body and mind along with relieving stress and depression.
About the Author: Janie Jonah
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