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    Alternative Treatments for Depression

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    Different forms of exercise can lower stress, relax you, and help lessensymptoms of depression.

    Exercise can also improve your energy, balance, and flexibility. In general, it's a safe, effective, and easy way to better your health.

    Check with your doctor before you take on something new or ramp up your activity level.

    Guided Imagery

    Guided imagery, or visualization, is a method of communication between your body and mind. It uses your senses -- vision, smell, taste, touch -- along with position and movement to make you feel relaxed.

    This technique involves seeing pictures in your mind of calming situations, such as a sunset on the beach, a flowing mountain waterfall, or a brilliant mountain sunrise. You 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 around you

    While some people are better at imagining than others, anyone can master this. Much like learning to play the piano or tennis, you can't rush it. Becoming skilled at guided imagery involves time, patience, and practice.

    You can use guided imagery during massage or another touch therapy to boost your relaxation and your feelings of serenity and peacefulness.

    Music Therapy

    Music can be thought of as a natural tranquilizer for the human spirit. It was used by Pythagoras, the 6th century B.C. philosopher and mathematician. During World War II, veterans' hospitals had volunteers play 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 mp3 player with headphones. Then choose music -- from New Age "mood" music to rock to classical -- that matches your personal needs, moods, and tastes.

    Music therapy is an effective non-drug approach for people of all ages that helps ease fear, anxiety, stress, and grief.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David Kiefer, MD on March 21, 2016
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