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Monday Morning Acu-Minute by Karen Johnson

I have some thoughts on seasonal blues.

Here on the East Coast, the first blasts of cold weather have barely arrived, but many people have already begun to experience a sort of internal winter, known in the medical community as S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

People affected by this phenomenon experience their mood getting lower as the days grow shorter.

Sometimes people think they are out of sorts because of the oncoming holidays, which are not always fun for everyone, or the anticipation of cold weather, but on reflection, they may realize that this happens every year. It starts in October or November, persists through the winter and lifts when the light returns in early spring.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a considered to be a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons, perhaps triggered by biological and brain changes associated with lack of natural light. Symptoms can include feeling depressed, hopeless, agitated, having trouble sleeping, low energy, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities, oversleeping, craving carbohydrates and gaining weight.

Tools used to cope with S.A.D. include light therapy, meaning regular exposure to full spectrum lamps that mimic natural light, getting outside to get some real sunlight, especially in the morning, keeping a regular schedule to support a consistent sleep/wake cycle, eating at regular intervals, getting regular exercise, making the environment as sunny and bright as possible, with open windows, bright colors, candles, and holiday lights.

Acupuncture

If the condition is severe, medications or psychotherapy can be useful, and acupuncture is particularly useful!

Yes, acupuncture has a wonderful effect on the mood and emotions. It works quickly, builds energy, supports sleep and is calming. I encourage my patients with S.A.D. to anticipate the seasonal shift and schedule treatments a little closer together during the winter.

You don’t have to be SAD. Try acupuncture!

Wishing you all the best,