Posts Tagged ‘depression’

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Depression: Treatments that go beyond medication

Monday, October 17th, 2011

A number of imbalances in the body or brain could be the cause of depression. At Nature Cures Clinic, we seek to find and change those causes.

October is National Depression Awareness Month. This is a good opportunity to reflect on the treatment for depression that our “health care industry” almost universally utilizes.

Sales of anti-depressant medications brings in around $12 billion in profits annually for the pharmaceutical industry. Approximately 30 million people are currently taking anti-depressant medication in the US alone. But, that is not the only treatment for depression- and  not the right one for everyone.

Naturopathic treatment approaches to depression shed light on causes instead of masking symptoms with meds.

We support a more holistic approach to treating and supporting you through depression that includes looking into the cause, while finding the best solution for your specific needs.

Through longer patient visits, collaboration amongst our providers, we look at the “whole you” to formulate a plan of support.

And that includes our belief that diet and nutrition play a profound role in health generally and in the regulation of mood in particular. Dietary excesses of some foods deplete serotonin and dopamine, the brain chemicals associated with feeling good. Likewise, lack of specific nutrients can have profound effects on the body’s ability to maintain optimal function of the nervous system. Simply correcting these issues can lead to dramatic improvements in symptoms.

A much larger issue is the way in which our society has turned circumstantial feelings of sadness, grief, isolation or hopelessness into a diagnosis that requires medication to manage. When individuals experience profound loss, or feel trapped in relationships or jobs, or are unable to resolve past traumas, medications to mask those valid emotions are not addressing the cause of the depression.

Our approach to depression utilizes a comprehensive understanding of the history and circumstances that contribute to the depression. It can involve lab testing to determine metabolic imbalances. It will virtually always involve a close look at nutrition and the ways in which eating habits might be contributing to the ongoing symptoms. It can include recommendations for regular exercise, because that is a therapy that has been consistently found to relieve depression as well as medications. And yes, it can include a standard pharmaceutical Rx, if that is appropriate for you.

There are many reasons that any given person might experience depression. Treating depression can only be done if the underlying cause is understood as clearly as possible, and therapies are used to re-establish balance in an individual’s life.

During National Depression Awareness Month, those who feel they may have depression should seek out a naturopathic physician. The most important thing to know about depression is that it is not simply a chemical imbalance in the brain that requires medication to correct. Depression is a dynamic relationship between an individual, their lifestyle, their circumstances and their way of thinking about their life. In the context of a naturopathic treatment plan, all of these factors are addressed to optimize an individual’s full capacity for optimum wellness.

 

 

 

Image courtesy:  TheAlieness GiselaGiardino

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The Health Benefits of Cold Showers

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

The challenge:  1 Week of Cold Showers.

Yep, you read that correctly.  Those of you who know me, know that I guzzle hot water year round, have been caught relaxing with a warm teakettle in my lap, and consider the inventor of the seat warmer to be my own personal god.  So, when cold showers, as part of a wellness routine, were brought to my attention, I recoiled with horror.  I would give up my car before forgoing hot showers.  The subject piqued my curiosity, however, and I started to do a little digging.

Cold showers tout an impressive list of benefits, including:

  • Enhanced Immune Function – Cold water therapy has been shown to increase levels of both white blood cells and cytokines in the body; 2 key players for fighting disease, infection, and inflammation.
  • Improved Mood – Your skin has far more cold receptors than it does heat receptors.  So when doused with cold water, your brain receives a surge of impulses so strong, that many scientists liken it to old-school electroshock therapy.  This, in turn, triggers a release of mood-lifting endorphins, including noradrenaline, a neurotransmitter considered crucial for battling depression.  Aside from boosting your mood and energy, cold showers are said to clear the aura, revitalize one’s chakras, and were used by samurai warriors to cleanse the spirit.
  • Rejuvenated Skin – Unlike hot water, cold water preserves your body’s natural oils, preventing dryness, protecting your skin, and helping your body regulate oil production.  Cool water also closes and tightens your pores, constricts capillaries to reduce under-eye bags, and reduces inflammation.  Finally, a free anti-aging technique!
  • Benefits Hair – Cold water seals your hair’s cuticles, making it stronger and shinier.
  • Increased Fertility in Men – We know that keeping the testes cool is crucial for fertility – that’s why testicles are located outside of the body.    Not surprisingly, research shows that switching from hot showers to cool dramatically increases sperm count and mobility.  Cold showers are also said to increase testosterone production in men.
  • Better Circulation – By increasing blood flow throughout the body, cold showers boost oxygenation of vital organs, work to strengthen the vascular system, and encourage detoxification.

The list of reasons continues, and the more I read, the more I just HAD to try it.

I encountered varying techniques, ranging from 45 minute ICE baths to induce violent shivering, to gently turning down the hot water throughout your shower, so as to end on cold.  I went with the latter.

I’ve been playing with it for a while, and this morning I spent over 3 minutes in cold water!

Goose bumps?  Definitely.  Did I burst out of the shower with renewed, if not desperate, energy?  Oh my god yes.  Spirit cleansed?  Eh.

So I’ve given myself a little challenge:  To spend a minimum of 3 minutes/day in cold water for 1 week.  Feel free to jump on the bandwagon.  There are cautions and restrictions, so do a bit of research before taking the plunge.

Look for my update in a week, and send me lots of WARM thoughts!

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Yoga’s ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety is linked to increased levels of a critical brain chemical

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

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Higher Dietary Intake of Folate and Vitamin B6 Linked to Reduced Depression in Adolescence

Monday, August 30th, 2010

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Nothing beats yoga in managing mood, anxiety

Friday, August 20th, 2010

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Depression may double dementia risk, say researchers

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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Heart patients with anxiety disorder experience more cardiovascular events, deaths

Monday, July 5th, 2010

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Treating Depression With Omega-3: Encouraging Results from Largest Clinical Study

Monday, June 21st, 2010

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For Better Health – Please Don’t Stop The Music!

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

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EPA but not DHA appears to be responsible for the efficacy of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in depression: evidence from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. [abstract]

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

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Chocolate lovers ‘are more depressive’, say experts

Monday, April 26th, 2010

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Transcendental Meditation Shown To Reduce Depression: New Studies

Friday, April 9th, 2010

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Mental health providers should prescribe exercise more often for depression, anxiety

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

As a result of the analysis of numerous studies, researchers are now suggesting that exercise has a significant impact in reducing depression and anxiety.

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Massage may help lift depression

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

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Treating Vitamin D Deficiency Significantly Reduces Heart Disease Risk

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Two new studies involving over 40,000 patients have provided further evidence that low vitamin D levels are inversely related to cardiovascular disease risk.

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