One of the best-known benefits of massage therapy is its ability to enhance feelings of well-being. Massage produces chemical changes in the brain that result in a feeling of relaxation and calm. It also reduces levels of stress hormones. Massage therapy lowers levels of stress hormone cortisol by an average of 30 percent. Massage also increases serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that help reduce depression.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment in which needles are inserted at specific points in the body. Research suggests that acupuncture can decrease or eliminate the symptoms of depression. A review of 8 controlled trials supported the theory that acupuncture can significantly reduce the severity of depression.
. Yoga & Meditation
Yoga is an ancient system of relaxation, exercise, and healing with origins in Indian philosophy. Practicing yoga can alter your brain chemistry. Some yoga positions are effective in stimulating the release of endorphins and reducing the level of stress hormone cortisol. Several human studies support the use of yoga for depression, and yoga postures have been specifically shown to increase levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which may alleviate depression.
. B Vitamins
B vitamins play a role in the production of certain neurotransmitters, which are important in regulating mood and other brain functions. Folic acid deficiency has been noted among people with depression. Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is the cofactor for enzymes that convert L-tryptophan to serotonin, so vitamin B6 deficiency might result in depression. And there is some evidence that people with depression respond better to treatment if they have higher levels of vitamin B12.