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  • Erin Dietz, L.Ac.

3 Ways to Holistically Treat Depression

Many people suffer from depression at some point in their lives. It can be triggered by unexpected events like the loss of a pet, the death of a loved one, a relationship ending, or even changing seasons. For many, periodic bouts of depression can become commonplace, thus making it harder to cope and function normally.

ACUPRESSURE & ACUPUNCTURE FOR DEPRESSION For those who experience frequent or chronic depression, there is hope. Acupressure and Acupuncture are marvelous tools for combating depression without relying on potentially harmful antidepressants. Acupuncture points can be stimulated to help with blood flow and reset the nervous system. If blood flow is impeded, oxygen doesn’t get to the tissues and the cells themselves can become deficient. When there is a deficiency, there is usually some form of depression. This is why many health experts recommend exercise for depression. The increased oxygen and flood of endorphins in the body help fight off the depression itself.


Here are three acupressure points that you can do at home to help reverse depression:

1. GV 20 The point located on the top of the head, midway between the apexes of your ears is known as governing vessel 20 (GV 20). GV 20 is one of the most powerful points in the acupuncturist’s arsenal. It raises emotional energy, which in turn can help alleviate depression. Applying pressure or lightly tapping this point is a great way to counter depression on your own and it can be done pretty much anywhere.

2. LV 3 – Liver 3 (LV 3) is located on the top of the foot in the depression between the big toe and the second toe, where the metatarsal bones meet. Stimulating this point helps stagnant blood to move freely again. When the blood flow becomes stagnant and minute, then depression can set in because the body isn’t getting the proper nutrients it needs to function. In Chinese medicine theory, stagnant blood flow can lead to depression. Liver 3 is used frequently in traditional Chinese medicine treatments to reestablish the flow of blood throughout the body.

3. HT 3 – Heart 3 (HT 3) is located on the inside of the elbow. When the elbow is flexed, the point is midway between the inner end of the elbow crease and the tip of the elbow bone itself. In traditional Chinese medicine, the heart meridian is often treated when depression is a presenting complaint. Depression causes the heart meridian to become deficient in energy. Heart 3 stimulates the energy needed to combat symptoms of depression.

OTHER WAYS TO COMBAT DEPRESSION Another holistic way to treat depression is through diet as there are specific foods that can be quite beneficial for your body. Studies show that dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard decrease inflammation, which has been linked to depression. Nuts are another powerhouse used to fight depression. The omega 3 fatty acids found in most nuts can reduce the symptoms of depression. Decreasing daily sugar intake can also help. Sugar actually causes the body to feel sluggish and it can also dull the senses, leading to depression. Excess sugar in the diet decreases a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which can lead to depression if there is not enough of it being produced.

Techniques like tai chi or qi gong, also part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, are other ways to help battle depression naturally. Tai chi and qi gong bring the body and mind back into balance by decreasing stress and allowing the person performing it to focus all of their intentions on the movements. This allows the mind to relax, which in turn relaxes the body. Tai chi and qi gong also increase oxygen flow into the muscles, allowing for increased mobility. When we are more mobile, there is less stagnation, pain, and depression.


If you are somebody who suffers from depression and you are looking for natural, holistic solutions, maybe give these suggestions a try. If nothing else, it is worth looking into. But most importantly, once you find the right path to correcting depression, follow it. Everybody is different and there is no one right answer. If you have questions regarding how acupuncture can aid in your depressive symptoms, give us a call!

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