Alternative Treatment for Depression

Alternative treatment for depression: Should you try alternatives therapies for depression, what is the best natural treatment for depression, how effective is holistic treatment for depression, what are some examples of alternatives therapies, Acupuncture, Reflexology, Meditation, Massage, Yoga, Herbal remedies, Aromatherapy, Chiropractic treatments, Dietary supplements, Hypnosis, Ketamine, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy (MeRT).

Alternative treatment for depression: Should you try alternatives therapies for depression, what is the best natural treatment for depression, how effective is holistic treatment for depression, what are some examples of alternatives therapies, Acupuncture, Reflexology, Meditation, Massage, Yoga, Herbal remedies, Aromatherapy

Typically, depression can be greatly alleviated by antidepressant medications combined with psychotherapy. Those who suffer from depression may not benefit from the current treatments. Some individuals cannot get symptom relief from antidepressant medication and talk therapy. In some cases of depression that have not responded to regular treatment, alternative therapies have been proven to be effective. Here you’ll get everything about alternative treatment for depression.

Should you try alternative therapies for depression?

Trying alternative therapies may be necessary if conventional treatments aren’t working. Herbal supplements, acupuncture and other treatments have yet to be proven as effective in treating depression, but many patients report positive results.

What is the best natural treatment for depression?

An exercise program that is properly administered might be among the most effective natural therapies available for treating depression. It instantly and consistently improves mood. This is thought to happen because exercise and medication both activate the same neurotransmitter system.

Several studies which compared exercise to either no treatment or another recognized treatment in people who suffer from depression have found that exercise is effective in improving symptoms. However, it has to be established how beneficial the exercise is and which form of activity is best.

Numerous studies conducted as far back as 1981 have backed up the use of exercise as a form of treatment for mild to severe depression. To improve your mood, doctors typically recommend 30 minutes to 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day.

Herbal or nutritional supplements may be used for the treatment of depression naturally. It’s important to keep in mind that some of these supplements can interact with other drugs or cause negative side effects.

An extract from a shrub that grows in the wild called St. John’s wort has been used as an herbal remedy for hundreds of years. These medications are used in the treatment of depression of medium severity in Europe.  Despite its popularity in the United States, St. John’s wort does not appear to be effective for treating depression. In certain studies, it has shown some promise in ameliorating moderate depression, but in studies examining severe depression, it has not distinguished itself from a placebo.

A synthetic form of amino acid derived from the body’s naturally occurring proteins, SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine) is a popular supplement. A huge variety of conditions have been treated with it, including depression, osteoarthritis, and liver conditions. SAMe was found to be more effective than a placebo in 47 clinical studies where it was used to treat depression, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

An increasing number of people are learning about acupuncture as a treatment for depression. An alternative to pharmacological treatment for pregnant women may be acupuncture since it may have fewer side effects.

The Journal of Affective Disorders reports a study that examined the effects of targeted acupuncture, general acupuncture, or massage treatment on 61 pregnant women with significant depression. Acupuncture that was specifically tailored for depression had 69 percent of ladies reacting to it. In comparison, individuals who underwent general acupuncture (47 percent) or massage therapy (47 percent) had lower response rates (32 percent).

Your doctor can provide information on the best treatments if you suffer from depression. While it is true that using natural treatments for depression is helpful, it is best to consult your doctor. Even if you’re taking antidepressants, adequate sleep, reducing stress, drinking plenty of water, and having a supportive social network might help you.

How effective is holistic treatment for depression? 

Antidepressant pharmaceuticals can be extremely damaging to a person’s health. If a person’s antidepressant pharmaceuticals cause severe negative side effects, or if taking them does not bring benefits, or if a person doesn’t want to be bothered by the physical side effects, holistic remedies may be used to treat their depression. Holistic medicine is concerned with addressing the body, mind, spirit, and emotions when treating illnesses. In holistic psychiatric treatment, all of these aspects are balanced together, rather than focusing on one at a time, to help people achieve a more balanced, meaningful, and stable existence.

Holistic treatments integrate more approaches rather than focusing on a single aspect of depression. In addition to exercising, eating healthy food, removing toxins from your body, and getting adequate sunlight, massage therapy can help you overcome depression.

What are some examples of alternative therapies? 

Depressive symptoms and stress can be reduced by a number of relaxation techniques, including yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation. You might feel happier and more at ease by using these mind-body methods.


The practice of acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into specific points of the body as part of Chinese medicine traditions. Generally used for treating pain, but other ailments can also be treated with it. The use of acupuncture is more widespread in other nations than in the United States, where there are more than 3 million users. The average European has attempted acupuncture once in their lifetime.

How it works:

During acupuncture, points along 14 different energy lines are stimulated in order to allow the energy to flow freely through the body. The needles can cause the body to release natural painkillers called endorphins as well as increase blood flow and alter brain activity, according to some researchers. Those who contest acupuncture’s effectiveness claim that it works because people believe it will, a phenomenon known as the placebo effect.

It is rather uncommon for patients to experience discomfort when the needles are inserted, as acupuncture needles are extremely small. Often, patients feel calm and energetic after the therapy. As for the needles, they can be uncomfortable for a moment.

Several reputable medical organizations recommend that patients in this situation try acupuncture if traditional treatments fail to ease their chronic low-back pain. Researchers found that real and fake acupuncture both outperformed traditional treatments to treat chronic back pain that lasted more than three months in one big trial. As of yet, acupuncture does not appear to be effective in the short term (acute) for low back pain.

Tension headaches and migraines may be relieved with acupuncture. There were fewer days of tension headaches among acupuncture patients than those receiving conventional therapy, according to two large trials.

There has been a range of results in studies on the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating fibromyalgia pain. It is found to provide temporary pain relief in some studies, whereas it does not in others. A tiny study published by the Mayo Clinic revealed that acupuncture could help with two major fibromyalgia symptoms: exhaustion and anxiety. Overall, however, there isn’t enough evidence to indicate that acupuncture is effective for fibromyalgia.


In reflexology (or on the hands), pressure is applied to specific points on the feet. The calming effect of reflexology may assist in relieving tension.

The theory behind reflexology is that certain parts of the foot correspond to different organs and systems of the body. According to popular belief, applying pressure to the foot can relax and heal the body area it corresponds with.

As reflexologists apply pressure to specific spots on the foot, they use foot charts to guide them. Some healthcare professionals deliver reflexology in conjunction with other hands-on therapies, including chiropractors and physical therapists. Multiple studies have demonstrated that reflexology relieves pain, mental symptoms, such as anxiety and tension, and improves sleep and relaxation. There may be a low-risk alternative to reflexology if you’re looking to relax and relieve stress.


Meditation is a method of reaching an altered state of consciousness. Your depression will be more easily treated if you are able to relax, as this will help alleviate your symptoms.


The majority of touch treatments are founded on the concept that the mind and body are inextricably linked; your physical and emotional wellbeing are inextricably intertwined. It is thought that if your body is relaxed, your mind will contribute to greater health, fewer depression, and general wellness.

Additionally, researchers have shown that bodywork and mind-body exercises can increase feelings of serenity.


Yoga combines precise bodily positions and breathing practices with meditation. It also aids in relaxation. Some practices aren’t suggested for people with particular medical issues, while others are. Certain studies suggest that yoga may help treat depression, although the evidence is inconclusive.

In yoga practice, the heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration can be reduced through lowered perceived tension and anxiety, thereby controlling the stress response. Study comparing the effects of hatha yoga and health education shows yoga can help depression symptoms and provide long-term benefits..  Yoga practices include a combination of physical poses, controlled breathing, and a brief period of deep relaxation or meditation.

Herbal remedies 

Herbal remedies for depression are common, including St. John’s wort. Various regions around the world have used it for medical purposes for thousands of years. However, the results of study have been varied. Depressions that are milder to moderate seem to benefit more from this than depressions that are severe.

In addition to 5-HTP and SAMe, two other vitamins have been found to be effective for depression.

A doctor should be consulted if you are considering taking a supplement. Certain medical conditions may be harmed by these products, and they may interact with your medications. Taking the risk and benefit into account can be done with the help of your doctor. You will then have the knowledge you need to make an educated decision.


As a kind of alternative medicine, aromatherapy uses organic molecules to improve one’s mood, mental state, or physical health. It is the chemical molecules that make up these substances that make up essential oils. Plant parts used to make them include leaves, roots, seeds, and blooms.

They can be used on their own or mixed together to generate new combinations. To distribute the aroma of essential oils, you can diffuse them into the air, dissolve them in a bath, use them during a massage, or utilize other techniques.

The use of aromatherapy alone, however, cannot help to alleviate depressive symptoms. Instead, consider incorporating aromatherapy into your overall treatment strategy. Aromatherapy, when combined with other treatments, can assist to improve your mood and decrease stress.

Chiropractic treatments 

Chiropractors (chiropractors) treat spinal disorders using an adjustment, in which they apply a controlled force to the spinal joint with their hands or a small device. It works by improving the physical function and spinal motion of your body. Also called spinal manipulation, this therapy works by repositioning the spine.

The goal of chiropractic care is to achieve a healthy balance between your mind and body. In addition to adjustments, therapies, exercise, diet, and supplements, chiropractors examine all aspects of your health. Chiropractic care does not leave any stone unturned. Even modest modifications in your food, such as adding omega-3 to your diet, can help with anxiety symptoms.

Dietary supplements

Herbs and dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as are drugs. As a result, you can never be sure what you’re getting or whether it’s safe.

It is also necessary to conduct further research to identify which natural supplements are most likely to relieve depression, as well as possible side effects.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Rhodiola is commonly used as a supplement to benefit a number of health conditions. Depressive symptoms can be reduced and a better stress response can improve your body’s response to stressful situations.

The herb probably has antidepressant properties because, as well as improving nerve cell communication, it can diminish overactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

The HPA axis is a sophisticated system that controls how your body reacts to stress. 

Researchers report that treating 57 patients with depression with 340 mg of rhodiola extract for 12 weeks resulted in clinically relevant reductions in depression symptoms.

Furthermore, while rhodiola treatment was less effective than the antidepressant Sertraline, it was associated with fewer negative effects.


It is a spice with a beautiful color and is rich in antioxidants, such as crocin and crocetin, which are carotenoids. An interesting finding is that saffron may be a natural antidepressant.

It has been shown in studies to raise levels of the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin in the brain. While the specific mechanism is uncertain, it is suspected that saffron slows serotonin reuptake, maintaining it in the brain for longer.

Randomised controlled studies show that people taking saffron supplements had significantly less depression symptoms than those taking placebos, according to five studies.

Furthermore, the study discovered that saffron supplements were just as helpful as antidepressant drugs in lowering depression symptoms.

To find out if saffron can aid in the treatment of depression, however, larger trial studies need to be conducted with longer follow-up periods.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Fats that are essential to your health, like Omega-3 fats, can only be obtained through diet. Several studies have indicated that omega-3 supplements can be helpful in treating depression.

According to a review of six controlled studies involving 638 pregnant and postpartum women, omega-3 fatty acid supplements significantly alleviated the depressive symptoms they reported.

Study participants in the study found supplements high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to be extremely helpful. These omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish in the form of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

A review of 26 studies with 2,160 subjects found that omega-3 supplements were generally beneficial for treating depressive symptoms.

Omega-3 formulations that contain 60% or more EPA are most beneficial when given in a daily dosage of less than 1 gram.

When used in conjunction with a diet low in fatty seafood, omega-3 supplements are often well tolerated and healthy. Some people may also benefit from them in the treatment of depression. Further research is needed, however.

NAC (N-acetylcysteine)

Among these amino acids is L-cysteine, which is a precursor of NAC. One of your body’s most valuable antioxidants, glutathione plays a critical role in controlling inflammation and preventing oxidative damage.

Numerous health benefits of NAC have been demonstrated, including the increase in glutathione levels in the body.

Patients with depression exhibited higher levels of such inflammatory cytokines as C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumour necrosis factor-alpha, the findings indicate. The health benefits of NAC include reduction of inflammation and alleviation of depressive symptoms.

A person with mental health problems may also benefit from NAC for improving their neurotransmitter imbalance. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate, as well as mood disorders and schizophrenia, have been associated with a variety of diseases.

NAC is demonstrated in five studies as significantly reducing depressive symptoms and enhancing functioning in depression patients compared to placebo treatment. Furthermore, the NAC pills were well accepted and safe.

For mental illnesses such as depression, dosages of 2–2.4 grams per day are suggested.

Vitamin D

In addition to helping your body perform a variety of tasks, Vitamin D is a key component. 

A study found that individuals with depression tend to have lower levels of vitamin D than the general population, and those with the lowest levels of vitamin D are most likely to experience depression-like symptoms.

Various studies convincingly show that vitamin D reduces inflammation, substantially improves mood and also protects against neurocognitive dysfunction, something that in the long run can help prevent depression. Vitamin D supplementation has clinical benefits for people suffering from major depression, according to a review of four randomized controlled trials.

One study conducted in 2020 found that a single injection of vitamin D combined with their usual medications improved people’s quality of life, depressive symptoms, and severity of illness by dramatically improving vitamin D levels.


The root causes of depression can often be found, cleared up, and modified to alleviate depression. In hypnosis, the brain creates new connections between neurons, and these connections are connected to new experiences that are vividly envisioned under the influence of hypnosis. We urge the participant to recall a moment when they were in a trance and experienced the same emotions. With this technique, hypnosis can assist in revealing the etiology of depression. A traumatic experience is different from going through it again. The fact that everything is happening is irrelevant even if you are aware of it.

Hypnosis can also assist the client to overcome depression when he or she sees a more promising future.

When we transport someone back into the past, we are making them aware of their accomplishment. Clients are presented with a future timeline in which they experience several moments in the future when they are challenged and rewarded in a way they enjoy, and feel energised and happy. Subconsciously, the brain creates expectations and new emotions and beliefs about what the future will bring in this future memory or future moment.

When the right patient is involved, hypnotherapy can be quite effective for treating depression. In hypnotherapy, a trance state is intentionally induced. You can change your mood if you pay attention to something else, but hypnotherapy helps you shift your focus to something else that has a different effect.” After you have mastered these skills, we hope you will be able to execute them independently.

Hypnotherapy is a good choice for individuals who are easily intrigued by books and movies, are skilled at visualizing, and are open to hypnosis. People who are defensive are not the best candidates.


It was first used as an anaesthetic in the 1960s, but is now commonly recognized as a hallucinogenic street drug. Several studies have shown that ketamine is effective in treating depression off-label since the 1990s. The effect of ketamine, unlike typical antidepressant medications, is to alter brain neuron connections and glutamate levels more quickly than those of antidepressants.

During Ketamine IV therapy, a medical facility administers the medication in a carefully dosed fashion. Patients are typically treated on a weekly basis for three weeks, followed by two weeks later, and then one week later. The treatment schedule is determined by the provider. During the IV procedure, the patient is observed for about 90 minutes before being sent home. Ketamine produces immediate symptom relief in contrast to standard antidepressants, which can take weeks to work.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) 

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) can be alleviated by the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a non-invasive, drug-free treatment that has shown promising results in treating depression symptoms. When depression cannot be treated with standard therapies, it is referred to as treatment-resistant depression. Depressive episodes are often longer and more severe in patients with TRD. Depressive symptoms have been shown to be improved with TMS in patients with TRD, with some individuals being able to eliminate their symptoms entirely.

During TMS, a tiny coil of magnetic material is placed lightly on the patient’s skull. An electromagnetic pulse is transmitted through the coils in order to stimulate the areas of the brain related to mood regulation. A TMS treatment lasts between 20 and 40 minutes and is scheduled five times a week for four to six weeks. The painless activation of nerve cells is most effective when the entire course of treatment has been completed. Some patients benefit from TMS by improving their ability to take antidepressants. However, other patients report complete symptom relief and no longer need to take medication.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

There has been some use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) since the late 1930s. Every year, about 100,000 people in the United States undergo this type of therapy. A series of electrical impulses, magnets, or implants are used to stimulate the brain in ECT and other brain stimulation therapies. 

Since the late 1930s, electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) has been employed in some form. This sort of therapy is being used by about 100,000 people in the United States each year. Electricity, magnets, or implants are used to stimulate the brain in ECT and other brain stimulation therapy. This type of treatment is commonly used for people who don’t respond to other types of depression treatment.

Magnetic e-Resonance Therapy (MeRT)

MeRT is the abbreviation for Magnetic Resonance Therapy. For people with autism, it is a noninvasive, drug-free treatment approach.

An Electrocardiogram is a type of heart rate measurement that combines three treatment phases: rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), EEG (Electroencephalography), and ECG (Electrocardiogram).

In the MeRT treatment, rTMS is the first step. In rTMS, a non-invasive therapy for depression, magnetic fields are used to stimulate the brain. Our mood is regulated by parts of the brain that are stimulated in the therapy.


Leo, R.J. and Ligot Jr, J.S.A., 2007. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials of acupuncture in the treatment of depression. Journal of affective disorders97(1-3), pp.13-22.

Phillips, W.T., Kiernan, M. and King, A.C., 2003. Physical activity as a nonpharmacological treatment for depression: A review. Complementary Health Practice Review8(2), pp.139-152.

López-Torres Hidalgo, J., 2019. Effectiveness of physical exercise in the treatment of depression in older adults as an alternative to antidepressant drugs in primary care. BMC psychiatry19(1), pp.1-7.

Cauffield, J.S. and Forbes, H.J., 1999. Dietary supplements used in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Lippincott’s primary care practice3(3), pp.290-304.Saeed, S.A., Bloch, R.M. and Antonacci, D.J., 2007. Herbal and dietary supplements for treatment of anxiety disorders. American family physician76(4), pp.549-556.

Read also: Breast Cancer Symptoms; Are mints bad for you? Health risks of consuming them in excess

Other valuable resources: Cleveland Clinic

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