Alternative Treatment for Depression - Some Helpful Remedies

More and more people are seeking alternative treatment for depression.

Are you one of them?

With increasing evidence pointing at the numerous side effects of long-term antidepressant usage, people going through depression are forced to examine alternative treatment options which do not have any short or long-term physiological or psychological side effects. Some very effective alternative treatment options include:

Besides the above types of alternative therapies for depression, there are also massage therapy using essential oils, talk therapy, music and dance therapy, Tai chi and laughter therapy for dealing with depression. We discuss these forms of therapy in greater details below.

Massage Therapy using Essential Oils

Massage therapy using essential oils like lavender, almond, and wheat germ oil is found to decrease stress levels that are extremely high in people going through depression. In addition, this alternative therapy for depression also helps improve sleep disorders and relax the mind.

Such massages induce deep sleep, which is essential for persons experiencing depression; insomnia is one of the main symptoms of depression and lack of sleep makes people feel extremely fatigued and exhausted, leading to more problems. Therefore, it is important for depressed persons to sleep well and get up feeling refreshed and re-energized.

While massage therapy alone might not help totally treat depression, it can certainly supplement other modalities of alternative treatment for depression, helping to decrease the symptoms of depression and providing physiological and psychological relief to the affected person.

Talk Therapy

Talk Therapy too is another potentially effective alternative treatment for depression, especially in teens and adolescents who tend to inhibit and suppress their emotions. Talking to a friend, confidant, or therapist who will not judge or question the actions of an individual will help him or her to open up and discuss his or her fears openly.

Talking and discussing their problems freely with someone helps release a lot of pent up angst, frustration, fear, and guilt. All these are, of course, negative emotions which contribute to depression, particularly when they are bottled within and remain suppressed.

More often than not, emotions at the subconscious level manifest in the form of various psychological and physiological symptoms and, once the subconscious is cleared, all symptoms vanish. This makes talk therapy a good form of alternative treatment for depression, one which tackles the problem at its roots.

So, children who have been subject to physical and sexual abuse should be encouraged to speak up and share their grief with another person or people who can guide them and restore their self confidence, self worth and self esteem. Unnatural fears arising from certain experiences can contribute to feelings of depression and, unless these fears are combated, they will continue to manifest and disturb the internal balance. Affected persons will then continue to feel defenseless and vulnerable. Once these fears are overcome, however, such persons will no longer feel down, sad, or depressed, and will begin to lead a normal life.

Music and Dance Therapy

Music and dance therapy is another potentially useful alternative treatment for depression, as it is an extremely effective way of combating day-to-day stress. For persons who are chronically exposed to high levels of stress, for example those who work in high-stress jobs, stress can build up and, in the long run, ultimately cause severe depression.

People who stay away from home and family, too, need to find an outlet to overcome homesickness and indulge in some fun activities. Now, what better way is there to do that than to shake a leg to good music?

What kind of dance and music does this form of alternative treatment for depression entail? Conventional dance forms like ballet, or any other form of classical dance, will help keep the mind and body occupied and encourage people to express themselves without any inhibitions. Even just switching on the music in the comfort of one’s home and dancing to the rhythm of the beats help overcome stress instantly.

And, of course, the exercise which comes with dancing is, in itself, a very healthful natural and alternative therapy for depression.

Going to the gym or yoga class might seem motivating enough to some, while learning salsa or ballet might appear more interesting to others. Therefore, people who are interested in dancing or enjoy dancing should certainly take a few lessons and dance to their hearts content.

This alternative treatment for depression will not only help reduce stress, but also improve self confidence and self esteem. Young children and teens, too, should be encouraged to join dance lessons, so that they learn to enjoy the music, which will help make them creative and confident.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is yet another useful alternative treatment for depression.

What is tai chi? This ancient Chinese art form employs gentle free flowing dance-like movements that help stretch various muscles in the body and decrease stress levels, because it helps bring about agility and balance.

Even watching people perform tai chi can be extremely therapeutic and relaxing at times, because the graceful movements of tai chi are almost hypnotic. Tai chi is often referred to as meditation in motion, because it helps connect the body and mind, and all movements are slow but without pauses.

Tai chi is self-regulated and one can work at one’s own pace, because it is important to master the technique rather than simply complete the counts. It does not require high levels of energy or stamina to perform tai chi, just the interest and motivation are enough for a person to learn and master this form of alternative treatment for depression.

Tai chi helps decrease stress levels because it involves stretching various muscles, and it connects the body and mind in a gentle manner. The technique of tai chi has been designed to improve muscle strength and stamina. It also helps make the body very flexible and agile. Above all, this alternative treatment for depression improves concentration and increases the feeling of wellness.

There are over 100 movements and positions in tai chi and one can practice whichever one finds most comfortable and beneficial. One can even move to fast-paced tai chi techniques if one is interested in fast movements; there are, however, slow movements which one can stick with, depending upon individual comfort levels.

All tai chi movements are coordinated with breathing, which works towards improved levels of fitness. Tai chi can also be enjoyed by elderly people because of its slow-moving style which does not harm the joints and bones. In fact, besides being an alternative treatment for depression, it also helps people suffering from joint pains, arthritis, and those who are recovering from physical injuries.

People who regularly practice tai chi swear that they have experienced the following benefits:

  • Decreased levels of anxiety and depression
  • Relief from osteoporosis in women, especially those experiencing menopause
  • Lowered blood pressure levels
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Decreased number of falls and vertigo in elderly people
  • Increased ability to concentrate and focus
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness

Tai chi can be practiced at home. To learn this extremely effective ancient art form to help overcome stress, anxiety, and depression, one can enroll for classes or buy a DVD that has tai chi lessons.

Laugh Therapy

Laugh therapy is another very effective alternative treatment for depression. While this might sound extremely frivolous and ridiculous, patients, physicians, and healthcare professionals across the globe are finding that laughter could indeed be the best possible medication!

Some of the physically visible effects of laughter include decreasing levels of blood pressure, reduction in the levels of stress hormones, higher levels of immunity, and improved muscle flexion. The benefits of laugher are so tangible and measurable, that it should not only form a core component of alternative medicine for depression, but for all natural health and healing modalities in general.

For persons suffering from depression, laughter triggers the release of certain hormones called endorphins, which are a natural form of painkillers and increase one's sense of wellbeing. This makes laughter extremely useful as an alternative treatment for depression.

Laughter is a positive expression which is contagious and helps release a lot of stress. It also converts a lot of negative thoughts into positive emotions. Energy levels of people who have had a good laugh increase significantly as compared to energy levels in people who are feeling down and depressed. Laughing helps release tension, improves respiration and circulation, and generally improves the state of mind in people who are suffering from any physical or psychological condition.

Indeed, there are just so many ways this alternative treatment for depression can benefit persons who are feeling low.

Learning to laugh at one’s own mistakes also helps one to not take everything too seriously, and to let go and move on in life. Everyone experiences severe stress at some point or the other in time, but if one is able to overcome these difficult situations and learn to laugh again, one will invariably experience joy and peace.

Once the internal balance is obtained and one doesn’t cling on to bad experiences and enjoys life as it is, it becomes easier to overcome challenges and get on with the business of living. The ability to move on is a big part of any alternative treatment for depression, and for overcoming depression in general.

There is a certainly a big place for laughter in any protocol of alternative treatment for depression. In fact, laughter is such a wonderfully positive emotion that everyone, depressed or not, really needs to enjoy a good laugh as often as possible.

How can we leverage on laughing as a healthful therapy? Reading a book of jokes, watching a slapstick comedy on television, having playful discussions with friends, etc, are some ways to indulge oneself and release stress, which in turn will help combat depression in the immediate as well as long term.

Have fun laughing!

Alternative treatments, remedies and therapies for depression are usually gentler, safer, but often still very effective. While a few have been discussed on this page, there are certainly many more which persons undergoing depression could and should explore before subjecting themselves to harsh protocols which come with many dangerous side effects.

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