How to Beat Depression using an Integrated Healthcare approach
Many studies have shown that nearly half the population finds the onset of winter (SAD) gets them down. With the long dark nights and short days many people feel more depressed and anxious. Credit card debt, weight gain, alcohol consumption, relationship counselling and even suicide all reach a peak during the winter months.
Depression and anxiety is a sad and all too common state in today’s society. A large percentage of the population today, including children, are on antidepressants. Today we are led to believe that we should be happy all the time and everything should be perfect. These expectations lead to emotional crashes when they don’t live up to reality and have us reaching for the quick fix of a pill. So how do we combat this dilemma? The answer may lie with Integrated healthcare.
Integrated healthcare is a response to the changing patterns of disease in the early 21st century. It is much more than a blend of mainstream medicine with complementary treatments. It is a structured approach to healing. For example, in the treatment of depression various therapeutic interventions such as Massage, Ayurveda and Kinesiology can be used in a strategic manner for long-term health solutions.
Kinesiology helps people in many ways using a uniquely holistic approach to healing the person. Symptoms are only a part of the puzzle. A Kinesiologist will look at:
Genetic Factors: – For example, some people are more susceptible to anxiety and depression due to inherited characteristics. If someone’s emotional constitution is more sensitive they become more affected by life’s ups and downs.
Childhood – i.e. traumatic events at key developmental stages.
The Physical – i.e. Body systems and organs.
Lifestyle – it is well documented that a healthy diet and regular exercise help people cope with stress. .
The Energetic System: i.e. The meridian system and distribution of energy. Imbalances in this system will eventually lead to dysfunction which can manifest in disease, hormonal problems, muscular tension etc.
From the biofeedback of the muscle monitoring a Kinesiologist can accumulate valuable information and then focus on to break down patterns of defence or samskaras. For example, someone who is a negative person often gets depressed and disillusioned because every time something bad happens it confirms their view and core belief that “nothing ever goes right for me”. Once that core belief is changed the person has more options to think differently i.e. they might think “oh well it didn’t happen the way I wanted it to happen this time but next time it could be different.
Kinesiology works on long term healing; it isn’t a quick fix, although occasionally great leaps forward can happen. It is about healing the body from inside out and top down in reverse order to how the issues built up. This enables the body to get back on its line of cure.
Ayurveda and Yoga
For healing the mind Ayurveda employs a series of therapies such as meditation, spiritual counselling pranayama, mantra, prayer, visualization, diet, detoxification, herbal therapies and massage. Shirodhara is a powerful Ayurvedic treatment that is used to combat depression and emotional insecurity whilst decreasing stress related hormones in the body. The continuous flow of warm oil bathes the Third Eye Chakra and works primarily on the mental layer of the brain known as ‘manomaya kosha’ which disarms past negative impressions (samskaras) thus bringing awareness releasing sorrow and suffering.
Research evidence has shown that massage has decreased levels of cortisol and increased levels of dopamine and serotonin which are important factors in the aetiology of depression. However the direction of movement, excursion, rate of movement, the zones, rhythm and pressure are important factors in achieving treatment goals.
Removing the Boundaries
The landscape of medicine is changing through Integrative healthcare which is transforming healthcare delivery by removing the boundaries between therapeutic modalities. Treatment efficacy for chronic illness like depression can been enhanced by the use of a combination of therapies such as Massage, Kinesiology, Ayurveda and conventional medicine in a methodological step-wise manner. Depending on the risk –factors that the patient presents one would also include conventional medicine care. Harnessing the best elements from evidence-based healing systems and integrating them into a strategic healthcare plan can ultimately result in an effective long-term remedial measure rather than the standard quick-fix short-term approach.