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SAD About Winter?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects many people as we move in to the darker days of winter. In addition to a depressed mood, there may be irritability, increased lethargy and sleep, cravings for carbs, and decreased libido.


Possible Causes

While the exact cause of SAD is not known, there are ideas of how several hormones are involved in altering our mood and sleep-wake cycle.

Serotonin This feel good hormone helps regulate our mood and sleep. Production is thought to decrease with less sunlight. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression and anxiety.

Melatonin People prone to SAD may produce too much melatonin. This hormone causes sleepiness in response to darkness. If melatonin levels aren't dropping during the day time, people can continue to feel tired and sluggish.


Eastern Perspective

The notion of yin and yang are a centerpiece of Chinese Medicine and an idea that permeates to everything, including our bodies and the seasons. There is a little piece of each energetic force in the other, making them interconnected. Movement between yin and yang is continual, as one energy changes, the other will adjust.

The yin time of year begins in fall and peaks during winter. If you are naturally more yin by nature this can be a particularly hard season. Especially as we are less likely to act according to the inward and slow nature of the season, but continue with everyday hustle and bustle. Seasonally yin is described as dark, still, cold, winter. Yang embodies light, active, hot, summer

Yin Personality Traits

Balanced: imaginative, nurturing, intuitive, peaceful, introverted

Unbalanced: ruminating, emotional, sluggish, unmotivated

Yang Personality Traits

Balanced: active, excited, reactive, extroverted

Unbalanced: frustrated, restless, prone to addiction


How acupuncture can help

Acupuncture provides a non-pharmaceutical holistic treatment approach for balancing mental health. Stress and anxiety activate the sympathetic nervous system increasing stress hormones and sending us in to "fight or flight" mode. Acupuncture regulates these messengers, activating the parasympathetic nervous system and initiating a relaxation response.

The effects of acupuncture create changes in the nervous system and assist in regulating chemicals that help promote emotional well-being and provide deep relaxation.

Acupuncture increases endorphin levels. This "feel good" chemical increases feelings of euphoria and decreases responses to stress.

Acupuncture can increase serotonin levels. Low serotonin can cause depression, anxiety, panic, and may be related to Seasonal Affective Disorder.

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