As we settle into these shorter, colder days, and longer, darker nights, some of us may be experiencing more fatigue, decreased appetite, food cravings, insomnia, and other depression-symptoms. Some of these symptoms may be transient. Some of them may be related to the hectic holiday season. But for some people, these symptoms are settling in for a while – until more sunlight returns to this hemisphere. If you belong to the latter category, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
It is believed that people who develop SAD are more sensitive to the decreased amount of daylight exposure during the winter months (although people can have SAD throughout the year, especially those who work long hours indoors without much light exposure). The brain tries to adjust to the changes, and as a result creates a biochemical imbalance that brings about changes in hormone productions. For instance, the production of melatonin, a hormone that relates to sleep cycles, increases during darker days. Hence, people affected by SAD tend to want to sleep more, and feel more tired than usual during the winter months.
Light therapy is the most commonly prescribed treatment for SAD. It is also highly recommended that people with SAD spend as much time as possible outdoors, and to stay active. Good food and nutrition can help keep the body in balance and healthy. In more severe cases, psychotherapy and medications may be prescribed. But in some cases, the side effects of pharmaceuticals can be more harmful than beneficial.
To help alleviate SAD symptoms, Chinese medical modalities can be effective without any negative side effects. Chinese medicine views everything in terms of Yin and Yang. Yin is dark, cold, and passive while Yang is bright, warm, and energetic. It makes sense, therefore, that people with greater Yin tendencies may suffer more from SAD than people with Yang tendencies.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion Can Increase Yang Energy
Acupuncture and moxibustion therapies can increase the yang energy within the body, and return the body to its optimal state. Acupuncture itself is known to be effective in treating the symptoms general anxiety and depression disorders because it helps release hormones that combat depression, namely, serotonin, noradrenaline and norepinephrine. These are ‘happy’ hormones that will help reduce SAD symptoms, naturally.
For more information about how acupuncture and other treatments can help you, please contact Board Certified Licensed Acupuncturist, Steve Drugan,B.S., L.Ac., at 614.218.6287 or click here. Taking new patients in and around Columbus, Ohio.