ImageFor the past six months I am depressed and can't seem to break the cycle. I don't want go do out and don't enjoy the things I used to anymore. What can I do?

Depression is a general term for variety of mood disorders including disthymia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorders, and seasonal affective disorders (SAD). It is generally characterized by a general state of intense sadness, melancholy, lacking motivation or interest in daily living. The condition effects more women then man and can occur during any stage of ones life. Causes may be hereditary, due to neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain, especially of serotonin or nor-epinephrin, due to experiences, or medical conditions including hepatitis, hypothyroidism.

Depressive disorders respond well to a regiment of acupuncture and herbal treatments when combined with regular life style and dietary modifications. We have successfully treated mild depression with these modalities. Sadness, despondency and melancholy have a mutual relationship with the heart, lungs and the liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Depletion of the Qi of heart and lungs often lead to stagnation of Qi in the meridians, and depletion of the liver Yin, causing many of the symptoms. So we focus our treatments on these internal organs and their representative acupuncture meridians on the surface.

Dietary Recommendations

Eat wholesome foods, with no preservatives, additives and artificial compounds. Eat more brown rice, Cucumbers, apples, cabbage, fresh wheat germ, kudzu root, wild blue-green, turmeric, basil, cardamom, fennel, dill, rosemary, beets, taro, amasake, strawberries, peach, cherries, chestnuts, pine nuts, micro algae and apple cider vinegar. Do not eat while on the run, or under stress. Do not eat late at night. And do not eat and lye down immediately.
Avoid excessively spicy foods, heavy starchy foods, simple sugars and foods that cause stagnation. Alcohol and coffee should be avoided.

Some Home Remedies

• Take one-teaspoon apple cider vinegar with one teaspoon of honey in glass of water three times per day during depression
• 1.5 g wild Blue Green Algae with meals three times per day.
• Light box therapy is effective, especially for seasonal affective disorders.

Potentially Helpful Supplements

• Deficiency of Omega 3 fatty acids, L-Tryptophan, magnesium, Biotin, Zync and Vitamin B12 have all been linked t depression; proper supplementation may help alleviate the symptoms.
• S-Adenosyl Methionine, an amino acid essential in maintaining healthy neurotransmitter function, is often found to be deficient in people suffering from depression.
• 5HTP is also an amino acid which is a precursor building block of seratonin
• Siberian Ginseng and Ginkko Billoba have also shown to be effective in combating depression
• Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) a natural cholesterol based steroid hormone has also been shown in clinical trials to be effective.

Herbal Remedies

• Chinese Herbal formula. A representative formula for depression includes the following herbs, semen persicae, carthami, angelica dang gui, ligustici chuanxiong, radix paeoniae, radix niuxi, bupleurum, platicodum, fructus citri, rehmanniae, Coptidis and licorice. This formula can be obtained from a licensed practitioner.

Physical Activity and Exercise

A good combination of physical cardiovascular exercises with a regiment of Qi Gong or Tai Chi is recommended. Three times a week a 30-minute cardio exercise consisting of a brisk outdoor walk, followed by a standing tai chi exercise for another 15 minutes can provide ample energy movements and help with the depression. It has been proven that physical activity helps increase the brain chemicals especially dopamine and serotonin, deficiency of which is at the root of depression. The Tai Chi form should be a moving form that incorporates all the major muscle groups. Meditation, including yoga can also be added to the protocol. Daily practices of yoga, meditation  and Tai Chi exercises can also help. Here is a Dao In practice.

1. Lie down on your back or sit comfortably, with your spine erect at the edge of a chair, feet flat on the floor making a 90-degree angle.
2. Reach up toward the sky with both hands, while inhaling deeply and as you hold your breath, make tight fists and squeeze, tightening all the muscles in your arms.
3. Slowly exhale, tensing your arms, bringing your fists down, to your chest
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times.
5. Now cross your arms in front of your chest, with your fingers touching the upper outside area of the chest, (acupressure point Lu 1 also known as Letting Go); your wrists cross at the center of your upper chest.
6. Lower your chin toward your chest.
7. Inhale four short breaths in a row (without exhaling) through your nose, filling your lungs completely on the fourth breath. Hold the breath for a few seconds with the chest full and expanded.
8. Exhale slowly through your mouth.
9. Repeat this exercise for two or three minutes, concentrating on the depth and rhythm of the breath.


• High blood pressure medications, anti-arrhythmic drugs, corticosteroids, some glaucoma medications, sedatives including Xanax and Valium, oral contraceptives and OTC drugs containing antihistamines can cause depression.
• Sedentary life and too much television, these tend to exacerbate the condition. Just walk outside or make a regular trip to the local park.