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As the sun begins to set a little earlier with each passing day, we are quickly reminded that Autumn is approaching sooner than we think. With the summer season coming to a close, many mixed emotions tend to stir. For many, feelings of anxiety, fear or depression hide quietly in the shadows.

Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) is a clinically diagnosed condition that affects over ten million people in the United States each year. This is more commonly seen in the Fall and Winter months.  It is believed that there are decreased levels of melatonin due to the limited sun exposure then. Other factors that may contribute are genetics, hormones and stress.  Symptoms may include, but are not limited to: lethargy, negative thoughts, food cravings, weight gain, depression, diminished libido, irritability, headaches etc.

Acupuncture is recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a beneficial treatment for pain, hormonal disorders, as well as psychological conditions. From a Western standpoint, acupuncture releases serotonin and norepinephrine, common stimulants in the treatments of depressive disorders. A TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) approach looks at the body as a whole to see where imbalances (energy, lifestyle, diet, yin/yang) are occurring.

By beginning treatment now in the summer months, there is a better chance to break the cyclic pattern of symptoms. There is a possibility to have the symptoms reduced and in some cases, diminished.  Acupuncture can help regulate energy flow and restore balance within the body.

Life is unpredictable.
It changes with the seasons,
Even your coldest winter,
Happens for the best of reasons,
And though it feels eternal,
Like all you’ll ever do is freeze,
I promise spring is coming,
And with it, brand new leaves.
-e.h

Acupuncture Points: These are great to perform acupressure on at home or have incorporated into an acupuncture treatment.

  • Yin Tang- located midway between the medial aspect of the eyebrows. This point calms the spirit and aids in treatment for insomnia, anxiety and stress.
  • Liver 3- located on the dorsum of the foot in a depression distal to the junction of the 1st and 2nd This is a calming point and aids in treatment for anger, irritability, insomnia, anxiety.
  • Spleen 6- located 3 cun directly above the tip of the medial malleolus on the posterior border of the tibia. This point aids in treatment for palpitations, insomnia and other anxiety related emotions.

 Naturally boost energy to maintain optimal health during the Fall and Winter months.

  • Exercise regularly. Get outside and get some fresh air. Ice skating and skiing are great outdoor activities. If you are looking to move things indoor, try swimming, yoga or tai qi. These will all stimulate your mind and body.
  • Make mindful diet choices. It is easy to give into starches and sweets. Try limiting these and adding more sources of protein, like nuts, lean meats/fish and dark leafy greens.
  • Get plenty of rest. Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier, while there is more daylight present.
  • Stay positive. Look for the beauty in the changes of the trees, the stillness in the snowfalls and the comfort of the company of friends and family.

If you are interested in learning more about how lessen the symptoms of Seasonal Affect Disorder with Acupuncture, consult our acupuncturist, Nicole. Nicole can work with you to create a treatment plan of information that you may have about SAD and the effects the changing seasons may have on your body.