SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a worldwide phenomena. Typically its experienced during fall and winter and symptoms range from lethargy, trouble concentrating, depression, negative thoughts and a decrease in social interaction. Even towards the end of the summer people that suffer from SAD may experience and increase in anxiety as they anticipate an oncoming increase in symptoms. While we don’t often think of SAD occurring in San Diego it definitely does! SAD is generally related to limited daylight hours which occur everywhere. I treat lots of patients for SAD and its host of symptoms in my San Diego acupuncture clinic.
Modern medicine typically treats depression with psychotherapy and antidepressants regardless of the cause and symptoms (I am not saying there isn’t a time and a place for these modalities.. there definitely is!) However, with TCM we diagnose each patient individually seeking out nuances and imbalances in each patient. Through this I am able to incorporate multiple modalities such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, massage, cupping as well as exercises like qi gong and tai chi. I also treat the body/patient on a holistic medicine level rather than separating out and compartmentalizing organs and systems.
Acupuncture is just one of the many modalities I use. The needles work by gently moving energy throughout the body while opening up blockages and restoring balance tho the body and the mind. Acupuncture also releases endorphins- our natural “feel good” chemicals which help to soothe the symptoms of depression.
Exercise and physical activity are crucial tools to treat SAD. Tai Chi is one of the best forms of physical activity. Tai Chi consists of a series of movements performed in a focused manner accompanied by deep breathing. It is actually a form of martial arts appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. Studies show that tai chi can improve sleep, mood and immune system function. All of which are important for the treatment of SAD.
Nutrition is also a very important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is recommended to increase the intake of warming foods such as soups and grains while decreasing things like fruits and salads. Studies also show that SAD can be attributed to nutritional deficiencies such as vitamins D and fatty acts. In order to incorporate more of the latter, it is recommended to increase consumption of fish and nuts.
If you or a loved one suffers from SAD please share this information with them. If they would like some help in treating it Im here to assist. My San Diego acupuncture office is located in Banker’s Hill area of San Diego just 2 blocks west of Balboa Park.