If you have not noticed yet, I am totally, absolutely anti-medication in curing depression. However, I always believed that when things are out of hand, one should trust the specialists. In other words,if you believe that things are out of hand, to a point where it is life-threatening, you should see a psychiatrist. I realized after reading the article that I am going to write about, that I failed to give the following disclaimer: most methods of curing depression that I mention and talk about sound simple because they are for curing mild to moderate depression. So do seek help and find out what the appropriate treatment is for you.
With that said, I was very excited to find this article by Lloyd I. Sederer MD, a Medical director at the New York state Office of Mental Health. It was posted in The Huffington Post. He mentions Vincent Priessnitz, considered the founder of hydro-therapy nature cure, who practiced hydrotherapy on people with depressive disorders in the nineteenth century. Combining baths with vigorous exercise, adequate sleep and proper diet, depression was cured in a simple and natural environment.
Though he was known all over Europe for his work, Priessnitz is given more credit, centuries after his death, through recent studies that were made on exercise and its values on the holistic health of a person.
According to Lloyd I. Sederer MD: ” value of exercise was reported in a review article on 29 studies that showed that attention, memory and speed of mental functions were substantially improved in individuals who engaged in aerobic exercise (1). More specific, anatomic brain volume increases were found in people with schizophrenia who exercised aerobically (2). General mental health has been shown to be associated positively with how vigorous and frequent adults exercise (3).”
Doctors Dunn, Trivedi and their colleagues in Texas and Canada also demonstrated that exercise has beneficial effects on depression. They showed that exercising three or more times a week to the level recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine and other public health consensus reports improved symptoms of depression. They called this the “public health dose” of aerobic activity, which means vigorous exercise (walking, running, stationery bicycle are all good) for at least 30 minutes at a time, several or more times a week.
Now if you are like me and did not exercise frequently before, do not jump right into it, start slowly and gradually get to the level advised for the “public health dose.” Like Dr. Lloyd advised, begin with short walks, or time on an exercise machine. Make it fun and easy and do not make it a routine. Find one thing that motivates you to take a walk or go to the gym. give your self some credits each time and most importantly, stay in synch with your body.
Like Dr. Lloyd advises, ask yourself these questions: what are you willing to do to feel better, to be able to feel energy and hope again in your life? What do you not only owe yourself, but what do you owe your loved ones, friends and others who rely on you at home, work, school and in your community?
I agree with him when he says that “the answer may be old-fashioned, but not out of style.”