With the reduction in daylight hours observed here in Alaska during the winter, many patients complain to their primary care provider or a mental health professional about the increasing impact the absence of light has on their mood and behavior. This condition, referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is described as a form of depression that occurs during the same season each year, most commonly during the fall and winter months. For those of us in the Arctic, this can mean a more drastic impact on our feeling of well-being and ultimately our quality of life.
If you’re experiencing any decrease in your normal activities, a lack of motivation, a change in appetite or sleep, or having any worsening anxiety, depression, or social withdrawal, the reduction in light might be affecting you. You should contact your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms but it’s important to know that there are alternative therapies that you and your healthcare provider can consider:
A recent article from the American Massage Therapy Association describes several proven ways that massage therapy can affect physiological mood factors that often accompany SAD. According to the AMTA, massage can:
- Reduce anxiety and depression providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy.
- Increase neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety and decrease hormones associated with increasing anxiety.
- Significantly decrease heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure.
Patients who have been diagnosed with SAD may benefit from chiropractic treatment. Those suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of SAD may have additional mental, physical, and emotional stress that the illness perpetuates, which can be exacerbated by a spinal misalignment. Chiropractic treatments are a natural and medication-free alternative to correcting some of the issues which may increase the severity of SAD symptoms. Chiropractic treatments improve the functioning of the whole body and when the spinal joints are aligned the brain is better able to communicate with the entire body. Chiropractic treatment has been shown to improve energy, mood, sleep quality and patients’ perceived degree of pain felt on a daily basis.
If you or a loved one is experiencing some of the symptoms described above, you may be suffering from the incidence of seasonal depression. It is important to visit your healthcare provider if you notice these symptoms to discuss your treatment options. If you are new to chiropractic and massage therapy, we answer some common questions on our FAQ page. Please visit Align Chiropractic and Massage or contact us at 907-222-5411 for a consultation to see how we can help bring your body back into optimal health and wellness.