Some people with depression prefer non-drug approaches to help them manage their condition and feel better. Natural treatments and home remedies can be good for milder forms of depression. But there is no hard evidence that they are effective for moderate to severe depression.
Talk to your doctor about complementary and alternative treatments that may be right for you.
What is an alternative therapy?
A health treatment that is not considered standard Western medical practice is called Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). These can range from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes, including:
St. John’s Wort is a commonly suggested herbal supplement for depression. It has been used medicinally in other parts of the world for thousands of years. But the research results have been mixed. It seems to work best for mild to moderate depression, not the more severe forms.
5-HTP and SAMe are other supplements that have been studied for depression.
Do not take a supplement unless you have talked to your doctor. They might interact with your medicines and they can be dangerous for people with certain conditions. Your doctor can help you weigh the potential risks and benefits. This way you can make an informed decision.
Meditation and Yoga
Meditation is sometimes described as an altered state of consciousness. It can help you relax, which contributes to your depression.
Yoga is part of meditation, with specific body postures and breathing techniques. It also helps you relax. Practices vary and some are not recommended for people with certain medical conditions. Some evidence suggests that yoga may also be good for depression, but the evidence is inconclusive.
Most touch therapy is based on the idea that mind and body are interconnected; your physical health and your emotional well-being are closely linked. The belief is that when your body is relaxed, your mind can contribute to better health, less depression, and overall well-being.
There are also reports that mind / body exercises, used with various types of body work, can stimulate feelings of calm.
Different forms of exercise can reduce stress, relax yor, and help reducesymptoms of depression.
Exercise can also improve your energy, balance, and flexibility. In general, it is a safe, effective, and easy way to improve your health.
Check with your doctor before starting anything new or increasing your activity level.
Guided imagery is a relaxation technique that some professionals who use biofeedback also practice. With guided imagery, you will think of peaceful mental images, such as ocean waves, or perhaps images of controlling or healing your illness. People using this technique say that these positive images can alleviate their condition.
Music can be considered a natural tranquilizer for the human mind. It was used by Pythagoras, the 6th century BC philosopher and mathematician. During World War II, veterans hospitals had volunteers who played music for wounded soldiers. The results were so positive that the VA added music therapy programs.
Basically all you need is a CD player or an mp3 player with headphones. Then choose the music – from New Age “ambient” music to rock to classic – that suits your personal needs, moods and tastes.
Music therapy can be a useful and effective non-drug approach for people of all ages that can help relieve uncomfortable feelings such as fear, anxiety, stress, and grief.