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Alternative Treatments for Depression

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How Does Massage Therapy Boost Relaxation?

Massage uses touch to help provide relaxation. Most touch therapies are based on the premises that the mind and body are interconnected and that physical health and emotional well-being are closely linked. The belief is that, when the body is relaxed, the mind contributes to better health, less depression, and overall well-being.

There are also reports that mind/body exercises used with various types of bodywork can boost feelings of calmness. 

How Does Exercise Help Ease Depression?

Different forms of exercise can lower stress, relax you, and help reduce symptoms of depression. Exercise can also increase your energy, balance, and flexibility. In general, exercise is a safe, effective, and easy way to improve your well-being. Check with your doctor before starting a new program.

What Is Guided Imagery?

Guided imagery is also called visualization. It is a method of communication between body and mind that utilizes perception -- vision, smell, taste, touch -- along with position and movement to produce a relaxation response. Guided imagery involves mentally seeing pictures of relaxing situations, such as a sunset on the beach, a flowing mountain waterfall, or a brilliant mountain sunrise.

As you use all your senses during imagery, you will actually make an effort to:

  • Smell the flowers and trees
  • Feel the breeze or temperature
  • Feel the texture of the surface under your feet
  • Hear all the sounds in nature

While some people are better at imagining than others, anyone can master this simple relaxation technique. You can use guided imagery during massage or another touch therapy to boost your relaxation and your feelings of serenity and peacefulness. Much like learning to play the piano or tennis, becoming skilled at guided imagery involves time, patience, and practice. It is one relaxation skill that cannot be rushed or hurried.

Can Music Therapy Lift Moods?

Music therapy has been shown to be an effective non-drug approach for people of all ages that assists in reducing fear, anxiety, stress, or grief. Music can be thought of as a natural tranquilizer for the human spirit.

Pythagoras, the sixth century B.C. philosopher and mathematician, is thought to have been the founder of music therapy. During World War II, the Veterans' Hospitals had volunteers who played their music for the wounded soldiers. The results were so positive that the VA added music therapy programs.

In its simplest form, all you need to incorporate music therapy is a CD player or mp3 player with headphones. Then choose music -- from New Age "mood" music to rock to classical -- that matches your personal needs, moods, and tastes.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Kiefer, MD on March 07, 2014
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