Alternative Therapies Help Defeat the Wintertime Blues

Acupuncture, herbs and massages are used by many people to overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder.

When it starts getting dark early, the weather gets cold and the sky is cloudy more often than not, many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The National Center for Biotechnology Information’s U.S. National Library of Medicine defines SAD as a form of depression, which typically occurs during the winter months. SAD is a mood disorder characterized by social withdrawal, decreased ability to concentrate and increased sleep – among other symptoms.

Adrienne Eppner from Poughkeepsie, New York self-diagnoses her condition as “the blues,” and she finds herself wanting to stay in bed all day. However, she does not have the luxury of hibernating until spring; therefore, she uses alternative therapies to motivate her. “I use essential oils, mostly the citrus blends,” said Eppner. “I sniff them first. I put the bottle under my nose and wave it under there first and then I put some on my wrists or neck.”

Poughkeepsie-based, Detlef F. Wolf is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. He recommends acupuncture as well as herbs to overcome the wintertime blues. “Acupuncture nurtures the body and puts it in the position where it can heal itself again. It opens up energy channels,” said Wolf. “If the blood in the body isn’t moving as fast as it should be, acupuncture helps and will energize the body. Some people may not be able to process Vitamin D properly because of blockages in the body, so I will put needles in corresponding places if they have depression, headaches or insomnia and we go from there.”

Karen Meyer, a New York state-licensed massage therapist and certified compassionate touch practitioner, mixes in regular massages to help people cope with the winter blahs. “I focus on relaxation a lot with my clients. I use aromatherapy, and I do longer strokes, which are sedating to the body. I don’t do very deep work because I would rather work with someone for a longer period of time to get the nervous system to relax,” said Meyer.

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