Combating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

(written by Sara G)

I am writing this blog on a balmy Monday night. It is only 5:30, but it is dark and the temperature is 22 degrees. It is hard to be excited about the weather we have ahead of us. Yes, winter is close at hand and I want to write about condition we see quite a bit in the winter- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

In acupuncture theory winter is the time of ultimate yin. If yang is fast moving, fiery and energetic its opposite, yin, is slow, restful, still and quiet. In Chinese medicine human beings are viewed as microcosms of nature. We are affected by our surroundings, which includes the changing seasons. So it is normal for the winter season to slow us down, but for many people the winter brings with it extreme changes in mood and energy. Symptoms of SAD may include sadness, fatigue, depression, anxiety and listlessness.

Common treatments for SAD include light therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and pharmacology.

However, Traditional Chinese Medicine can also be a very helpful therapy for SAD. Using these principals can we use acupuncture and herbal medicine to address the imbalances in yin and yang that are creating the symptoms of this condition. Chinese medicine also recommends eating warm nourishing foods such as soups, stews and lean protein as well as plenty of cooked greens and root vegetables such as kale, yams and sweet potatoes. If you or someone you love struggles throughout the cold season consider Chinese medicine as a way to improve this winter.