Depression is described as a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. That simplistic explanation doesn’t really cover it though. My own experience of depression has, at times, left me completely dysfunctional and unable to perform the smallest task. It can and has in my case, lasted for weeks, months and even years.
I’ve done extensive research on the causes and cures. I’ve had many treatments since I was 15 years old for depression and anxiety, but never found one thing that has made it disappear. Well, alcohol and drugs did a pretty good job for a while. But then there’s that whole dependence issue and ruining your life – so that had to stop.
The one thing I’m sure of, having explored every avenue of wellness for myself, is that chemicals of any kind, illegal or prescribed do not work for me. I’ve discovered, that my depression comes from overwhelm, suppression and oppression of mind, body and spirit, which in turn messes with the chemical functioning of my body.
Today I choose a holistic approach to my health in all areas and as an alternative therapist I’ve learned many ways to restore balance and treat my depressive episodes in a manner that includes all aspects of my being. Balance is the key.
Of course, prevention is always better than cure. However, life can be very difficult at times. In our fast paced, highly stressful society, often times depression presents itself as a very normal reaction to abnormal situations.
So how do we deal with life and stay functional? Well, through the therapies that I practice there are some things that we can do to help.
Reflexology is, in my opinion, an all round miracle worker. Monthly sessions of reflexology with a qualified practitioner can really benefit your health. It restores and maintains a balanced body by improving the functioning of all systems, including those of the glands. The pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid and parathyroid glands are all associated with emotional stability and the quality of our mental health. Massaging them or applying pressure to the specific reflex points on the feet can help to relieve your depressive symptoms. If like me, depression also affects you physically, reflexology can also relieve any physical pain or discomfort and help you relax.
A spot in the middle of the big toe of each foot corresponds to the pituitary gland. Slightly above that and towards the inside of the foot is the pineal gland and at the center of the ball of your foot a point corresponds to the thymus. On the ball of the foot underneath your big toe is a point that refers to the thyroid and parathyroids. Even if you can’t make it to a practitioner, massaging these areas yourself can have beneficial results. Better again have someone at home do it for you!
Versions of therapeutic massage have been practiced for thousands of years all over the world. From China to Greece and India, the benefits of massage and the power of human touch are well known. Massage therapy relieves depression by affecting the body’s biochemistry.
Studies show that massage lowers the levels of Cortisol by up to 53%. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. By regulating the secretion of this hormone we can also regulate our blood pressure and blood sugar levels, therefore taking pressure off our immune system and creating balance in the body. Massage also increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine in our brains, which are our natural feel good neurotransmitters.
Of course going to a qualified and experienced therapist is wonderful and for most a real treat. However, if we start to see that these therapies are an essential part of our self-care and start to introduce them into a healthcare plan, the long term benefits are priceless.
Even the act of doing something good for ourselves lifts our mood. You are worth it and you do matter! Again learning some basic techniques and swapping treatments with a friend is a great way to keep costs down.
I discovered Seichem healing about two years ago, and became a practitioner about 6 months later. It is of Egyptian descent and originates from the same source as Reiki. Seichem is a stronger healing system than Reiki and encourages a faster and more dramatic healing.
Reiki & Seichem energy promotes the release of emotional and physical trauma and any energy blocks it may be causing. Personally I have found it to be a fundamental part of my own healing process.
It’s not for everyone but it’s definitely something that has enhanced my life in many ways. It’s also good for physical symptoms of emotional issues such as pain, headaches and insomnia. Many use it as an all round preventative for chronic illness. It is important that you seek a professional practitioner for this therapy.
Finding balance and time to care for ourselves is always challenging. Even making one small change and building on that will have huge results. Aromatherapy baths, walking in nature, keeping a journal and being creative are all ways to change our outlook and unblock depressive energies.
Along with the amazing advice by my two colleague’s Kyczy Hawk about the benefits of Yoga and Kathleen Russell about excellent Nutrition, you now have some valuable advice on treating yourself with love and compassion at all times, so helping us avoid depression as much as possible.