Life is simple, we have dreams and aspirations and we follow them, right? Well sort of. We try to, but many things and aspects of life get in our way. In this article I will explore the state of depression and the Chinese medicine's perspectives on it. I will also leave you with a few points on natural actions you can take to help your self.
Notice I haven't stated a mental state of depression but a state... That's because the mind and body are connected and as such act and influence each other. This mind-body interplay has been a big part of Chinese Medicine. Not just the mind and body either, there are the effects of the environment to consider.
To start us on our way let's get into a very basic introduction to Chinese medicine and the five element theory.
Some 2000 to 5000 years of observation by Chinese scholars has produced an incredibly powerful system of looking at the myriad of complex interrelationships within not only our body but also the external environment. The way the surrounding environment, food and emotions effect the body can produce a whole range of effects. Depending on the severity of these influences a person's symptoms can range from barely noticeable, inconvenient, irritating, painful right through to chronic and debilitating.
In depression the 5 element theory (and associated organs) play a huge role and in their balance lies the groundwork for the future.
The liver is said to be the space for goals and the gallbladder the means to go there. It gathers and directs our energy. If they are compromised the effects can be depression as a person can feel that their goals are not achievable or in fact have trouble setting them in the first place. If the heart is affected a person can feel depressed, empty and manic. Stomach can produce effects of depression, heaviness with muddled thinking and so on. Lungs are the space of grief and melancholy easily letting us slip away from our alive selves into energy deprived tired selves.
The situation is often complex, initially the person would experience the lighter of the symptoms and as interconnected organs also begin to feel the load the symptoms get more and more profound. This is why it is important to get diagnosis and treatment from a qualified therapist.
4 Steps for self help:
Exercise - very important as it moves the liver energy, raises the heart rate and thus nourishes the organs and extremities. More importantly it moves the heat that raises to the head and redistributes it, cooling your emotions and thinking. Lack of exercise sees the flow become sluggish, stagnant and damp prone. A recipe for depression.
Diet - must not include greasy or oily foods particularly with heat compromised cooking oils so give fried a miss along with nuts and nut/dairy butters. Think light like green salads
Emotions - especially anger need to be addressed particularly if repressed. Exercise is one way but so is vigorous work. Clean up that yard or load up that trailer. Meditation is another way. See anger as energy passing through you and leaving you.
Shiatsu's has many excellent aspects, it is based on Chinese Medicine, acupoint work, stretching, cupping, moxa to expel pathogens and bring about balance in the body. Assessing what treatment needs to be performed requires a full diagnosis, something I do at the start as part of your shiatsu session.
Treatments are performed on a comfortable low mat while you are fully clothed.