Depression and low mood

Complementary approaches

A few of the young people we spoke with had tried various complementary approaches or therapies to help them with depression. Among these approaches were reflexology, homeopathy, acupuncture, Trauma Healing and Bodywork therapy. They had also tried various relaxation techniques, yoga and different kinds of massage.

Mostly, young people recounted positive physical and psychological benefits of these approaches. They described how complementary approaches helped them to relax and helped reduce stress. One man said he’d learnt useful breathing techniques to combat anxiety. One woman described the benefits of complementary approaches as “a release”, helping the “pain to subside” and being better able to “process feelings”.

Young people felt that some of the complementary approaches helped them to relax and calm down and hence help them cope with feelings of anxiety or depression. A couple of women had found yoga particularly helpful in easing stress'

“I sometimes do yoga with my psychotherapist ‘cos she knows a lot about yoga, I think she teaches it or something. Which I really must get into more ‘cos I think it will really help. I did yoga years ago and I found it really relaxing.”
 
A few young people were keen to try different complementary therapies, such as hypnotherapy, but said they couldn’t afford them. Some doctors advise that people with depression do not go for hypnotherapy until they are already well on the way to recovery and simply want to use it to help with stress.
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A couple of people were more sceptical about the benefits of or the evidence for complementary approaches. One man said he’d been very sceptical in the beginning but that he had found reflexology quite helpful. Another felt the only benefit of these approaches was their “placebo effect” and said they were just “a waste of money”.

Last reviewed June 2017.

Last updated January 2012.

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