Feeling SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that describes feeling depressed in the fall and winter when the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. Acupuncture treatment is very effective for people who suffer from symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. But how does it work? First we must understand how acupuncturists view SAD.
Is SAD the same as Depression?
Seasonal depression, also called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a type of depression triggered by the change of seasons. Usually occurring in late fall SAD can happen in any season. Symptoms include apathy, low energy, sadness, weight gain, and sleep problems. Treatment may include antidepressants, light exposure therapy, and counseling. Acupuncturists know that moods fluctuate with the seasons. Chinese medicine recognizes that our bodies are a microcosm of the natural world and that our bodies are composed of the same elements that occur in nature. As a smaller version of nature, we are intimately connected to changes that occur during seasonal cycles.
In the fall, acupuncturists know that our energy is beginning to contract and pull inward; similar to what is happening outside our front doors as the leaves fall and trees begin to go dormant. With the waning of daylight hours and the cessation of plant growth, our ancestors would have gathered inside to hunker down for the season. There is a natural desire to turn inward as the fall becomes winter. As we enter the dark cold winter months, it is normal to want to conserve energy as we seek to renew ourselves for the next cycle of expansion that begins with the first buds of spring. But if your symptoms are more severe, you may have seasonal affective disorder. That’s when acupuncture can help.
Acupuncture Treats Symptoms of SAD
Seasonal moods are a natural part of our human design. It is normal for them to change as seasons turn. Acupuncturists know that the body is thrown off balance by any sort of ‘change’, including the change of seasons. Adapting to change is a sign of good health and balance. But when you are unable to adapt to the change of season and your mood begins to affect your daily function it could be SAD.
The good news? Acupuncture can help with seasonal depression (or any type of depression for that matter). Because it regulates neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, acupuncture helps your body adapt to the change in season so you can ‘go with the flow’. Regular acupuncture treatments help people who are prone to SAD, adapt to the seasons more readily. People who get regular acupuncture report an overall balance in their emotional life with less severe ‘ups and downs’.