Various approaches that people use to treat their depression are generally outside the mainstream health system. Nevertheless, complementary,and holistic health approaches are now becoming more common in general practices, private hospitals and community health centres.
Selecting a complementary or holistic healer can be difficult. One woman urged caution as she had met many ‘weird’ practitioners and thought that virtually anyone could call themselves a holistic therapist.
One man did an intensive 10-day dance therapy course called ‘Biodanca’, but felt a sense of loss when the teacher then left the country.
It was recommended by some people we talked to that people with depression (and their carers) adopt a ‘healthy scepticism’ when considering complementary or holistic practitioners.
Has come across unhelpful holistic therapists and wonders about their qualifications.
Felt abandoned when holistic teacher left the country.
Meditation and yoga
Meditation can be used as a way of becoming more mindful, calming the mind and body, and reducing anxiety. Gaining mindfulness can also help to defeat negative thoughts. But it can be very difficult to meditate when you are very depressed. In fact, attending relaxation classes and failing to relax could contribute to a sense of failure for some. However, certain simple meditative techniques, for instance taking slow deep breaths, helped even very depressed people.
Explains that it is very difficult to do relaxation classes when you are depressed.
When she could not relax during relaxation classes she felt a failure.
Initially he doubted that slow deep breathing could help him feel better. (Played by an actor)
Especially when people start to recover, they sometimes discover inventive ways to meditate that work for them. For instance, one man found an effective way to deal with anger constructively. Some people found a way to relax and meditate while swimming. Several people said that meditative practices such as yoga were useful (see Mind’s website for more information).
Describes a meditation that he uses to deal with anger more constructively.
Says that swimming, with its repetitive movement and breathing, is his main form of stress relief…
Describes sensing a warm energy in his body from doing Tai Chi.
Energy healing featured in several people’s stories about recovery. It came in many different forms, such as spiritual healing, Reiki, or Johrei. People reported a greater sense of wellbeing from such healing.
One man had healing sessions at a community centre, as well as Johrei from a friend, and said that this kind of healing provided some ‘spiritual nourishment’ and welcome relief, but not a cure.
One woman, who was also taking a newer antidepressant, thought a spiritual healing called ‘family tree healing’ had helped her.
He got some relief from depression, feeling better and sleeping better after spiritual healing.
Describes how taking a new antidepressant and doing ‘Family Tree Healing’ helped her to recover…
Pills and potions
Several people had used St John’s wort (hypericum). This appeared to work for some with mild to moderate depression. There were cautions that people should consult their doctors before using St John’s wort because it can interact with other drugs (for more information see MIND‘s website). A few people had also tried other remedies including Omega-3/fish oil, zinc, and essences such as gorse flower and mustard flower. Several people believed that diet was important in depression.
St John’s Wort helped his depression, but he cautions about the side-effect of increased light…
A self-help group discussed concerns about St John’s Wort. (Played by an actor)
Feels that taking fish oils helped to lift her mood, but it took 6 weeks, and she continues to…
People said that hypnotherapy and related approaches, such as rebirthing, an alternative therapy meant to heal trauma stemming from birth and early childhood, were helpful to a degree. One woman felt she had become less fearful and developed a more positive perspective partly through hypnotherapy, yet later stopped going when the therapist wanted to delve into traumatic childhood events. A man felt that multiple rebirths had helped him to be less anxious over time, while a woman found craniosacral therapy relaxing.
Was surprised by the way a hypnotherapist helped her to think more positively.
Doing multiple rebirths has gradually helped him to relax and become less anxious.
She feels Cranio-sacral therapy helped her to relax and get over a cold, as well as reduced the…
Others discussed Chinese medicine, including acupuncture.