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10 Ways to Cure Depression Without Drugs

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Although some medical intervention may be necessary for depression, some cases can be treated naturally. These natural treatments are as effective as most antidepressants, and can be used in conjunction with antidepressants. Find out more about how these alternative methods are used to cure depression below.

Depression is a serious illness and can be life-threatening. In fact, surveys report that about 13 to 16 percent of people suffer from life-long depression, and about 5 to 7 percent of the rest of the population suffer from temporary depression at least once a year.

If you are facing depression, the best step is to talk to a health professional right away. Together, you can determine the best course of action for your individual case whether it is conventional medication, alternative therapies, or a combination of the two. Although many health professionals prescribe medication for depression, there are many alternative therapies that are just as, and possibly more, effective as antidepressants. The following 10 alternative treatment methods are useful in treating different kinds of depression.

If you are facing depression, try some of these alternative therapies with the OK from your doctor:


Acupuncture is the process of using small needles stuck under the skin in strategic places to stimulate certain areas and chemical reactions in the body. Acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese medical practices and has been found to be surprisingly effective for a variety of medical issues.

Recently, scientists have looked at the effectiveness of acupuncture for depression. A 2013 study from The University of York looked at the possible benefits of acupuncture for depression. The researchers looked at nearly 800 people with moderate to severe depression. 300 of who underwent acupuncture treatments for 12 weeks. This treatment method was added in addition to conventional antidepressants.

Before the study, the average depression score for each patient was 16 out of 27 (higher numbers signify deeper depression). After 3 months of treatment, the participants receiving acupuncture treatments had an average score of 9. The benefits remained for an additional 3 months after treatments stopped.

Other studies have shown that acupuncture as a treatment for depression is beneficial for 1 patient out of 7.


Aromatherapy is the therapy of using essential oils to improve a person’s mood, health, or mental state. Essential oils are harvested from plants, seeds, roots, and other organic compounds. Usually, the oils are diffused into the air, added to a bath, or applied during a massage. Scientists theorize that chemicals trigger smell receptors in the brain that are related to mood. Some oils are used to relieve depression.

Numerous studies have been conducted on essential oils and aromatherapy for depression. A review of 6 aromatherapy studies conducted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2009 found that aromatherapy was effective at relieving depression caused by medication. Some forms of depression, however, were unaffected by aromatherapy.

Essential Oils For Depression 
  • Jasmine
  • Sandalwood
  • Clary Sage
  • Basil
  • Rose
  • Petitgrain
  • Bergamot
  • Geranium


Biofeedback is a form of therapy that helps patients watch for their own body cues to how they are feeling. For example, when many people are stressed, they may clench muscles in their backs, tighten their jaw, or clench their fists. This form of therapy helps patients physically relax and let these signals go, leading to an improvement in mood. Biofeedback is done either body-based or brain-based. Basically, the theory goes that if you encourage your body to move and react the way it would if you were happy and in a good mood, you will start to feel that way.

Studies have shown that biofeedback can be helpful in treating depression. In 2008, researchers from the Technical University in Germany looked at how biofeedback therapy could benefit patients with depression. Individuals using biofeedback had decreased heart rates, reduced anxiety, and increased heart rate variability. This shows that biofeedback can be beneficial for treating depression.


During medication, a person works to alter their state of consciousness to relax, focus on something else, or clear the mind of stress. There are two types of meditation- mindfulness meditation and mantra meditation. In mindful meditation, you open your mind to the sounds around you while maintaining openness to other sounds and experiences. In mantra meditation, you focus on one sole idea throughout the meditation period.

In 2013, researchers from The Johns Hopkins University examined 47 previous studies on meditation and its role in depression. The researchers found that mindfulness meditation can reduce anxiety by up to 10 percent and that it can reduce depression by up to 20 percent. According to the researchers, these statistics are just as effective as many popular antidepressant medications.

Chiropractic Therapy

Can proper body alignment make you feel less depressed? Studies have shown that this may be the case. According to a 2013 study published in “Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research,” upper cervical chiropractic care can help relieve depressive symptoms in individuals with mild depression. In the study, 6 patients received 12 sessions of chiropractic care focusing on the upper cervical spine near the base of the neck. After 12 sessions, patients had a significant reduction in anxiety and depression.

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is simply a therapy that uses directed thoughts or ideas that help you relax and focus. The concept behind this therapy is that your mind and body are connected. When you focus your mind, your brain imagines that the ideas or thoughts are real. This helps patients focus on other aspects of their lives rather than what is depressing them at the moment.

In a study conducted by Combra Nursing School in 2009, 60 depressed patients listened to a guided imagery tape designed for improving depression. The patients listened to the tapes once a day for 10 days. At the end of the 10 day period, the researchers found that the patients had improved comfort, reduced stress, reduced anxiety, and decreased depression.


Studies show that simple exercise raises serotonin levels in the brain which boosts mood and reduces depression. Simply adding exercise to your daily routine could be the push necessary to help prevent or stop depressive symptoms. However, there are also studies that show that yoga specifically may be one of the best forms of exercise for depressed individuals. Yoga combines exercise with relaxation- which are two effective methods for preventing and healing depression.

Several studies have examined the role of yoga for depression. In a 2005 study conducted at a New Hampshire psychiatric hospital containing over 100 patients with mental disorders like depression and bipolar disorder, patients experienced a drop in anger, fatigue, tension, depression, anxiety, and hostility. There was no control group for this trial, however. A study conducted in 2005 by German researchers examined 24 women who were emotionally distressed. After 3 months of yoga, the woman had a reduction in depressive symptoms of about 50 percent.

Dietary Supplements

Diet is also closely tied to depressive symptoms. A lack of nutrients in the body will prevent your body from functioning properly, which could increase your chances of seeing depression. The following 3 herbs are tied closely into a person’s depression levels, as are the B vitamins 9, 12, and 6. Along with upping your B vitamin intake, the following 3 herbal supplements can be highly effective at reducing depressive symptoms:

St John's Wort

This herb is so effective for depression that in Germany, it is often the first prescribed solution for depression. In 1996, researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Germany found that St. John’s Wort was just as effective as antidepressants for treating the disorder.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is another herb that can help reduce depression and boost mood. In 2001, researchers from the Psychiatric University Hospital Basle examined the role of ginkgo biloba treatments in healing insomnia often related to depression. The researchers found that ginkgo was able to reduce depressive symptoms and significantly boost the sleeping health of study participants.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rose is a powerful herb that can reduce depressive symptoms both as an essential oil or as a supplement. This is due to the ability of rose to transport 5-HTP, serotonin, and tryptophan to the brain, which are all necessary to prevent depression. In a study from 2007 conducted by the Armenian State Medical University, researchers found that supplementing with roseroot for 6 weeks was able to reduce depressive symptoms in patients with mild or moderate depression.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can help relieve stress and anxiety, which can be triggers for depression. Numerous studies have looked at whether massage can benefit depression itself. In 2004, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign examined 37 studies about massage therapy. The researchers concluded that massage therapy can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate. Over time, massage will significantly reduce anxiety and depression, similar to that of psychotherapy.


Hypnosis is the therapy of placing someone in an altered mental state to help them recover from a mental disorder. Hypnosis has been used for a variety of conditions, from helping someone quit smoking to pain prevention during surgery.

Numerous studies have looked at the role of hypnosis in depression therapy. A review of these studies conducted by the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2010 found that hypnosis combined with other therapies was about 75 percent more effective than the other therapies alone.

Alternative Treatments and Depression

Depression is a large issue that many Americans must face daily. Since depression is so common, there are no end of treatment options. Although conventional medical treatments can be effective, the risk of side effects deters many people from investigating these options. Luckily, there are many alternative therapies that work well in conjunction with traditional antidepressants as well as on their own.

If you don’t want to take conventional medical treatments for depression, or if you want to boost the results of your conventional therapy, discuss the 10 alternative therapies for depression outlined above. You will be happy you did.





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