As I prepare for my workshop on healing depression with qigong and herbs at Kripalu this summer, I’m overwhelmed with a heavy heart with the high profile suicides in the news recently, and the rise in depression and anxiety in our society as a whole.
I feel there’s a taboo around depression and mental illness, one that our culture doesn’t want to address. In doing research on this subject, I was stunned to read the WHO statistics for 2015 stating that 16.1 million adults had experienced a depressive episode in the past year, and depression is the leading disability in the US among ages 15-44, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for this population. Suicide has increased 30% in the past 17 years with nearly 45,000 suicides in the US in 2016—more than twice the number of homicides!
There are many natural ways to deal with mild to moderate depression. In Chinese medicine, depression is most commonly associated with the wood element which corresponds to the liver meridian. Some of the symptoms of this imbalance can include mood swings, PMS, irritability, impatience, headaches, poor digestion and of course depression and repressed anger. These symptoms can be aggravated by poor diet, stress, stuffing your feelings and inactivity. The energies of the liver need to move so some of the best remedies for depression are qigong, dance, walking…any movement is good.
Depression can also affect the heart where the person has an overall tenor of emptiness along with other symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, sullenness, heart palpitations and insomnia. Here the treatment is more to nourish the heart since it’s also the seat of the spirit, and harmonize the energies of the spleen and liver to renew the body, mind and spiritual connection.
I will be sharing herbal remedies, supplements and teaching the ancient Taoist Six Healing Sounds for depression along with liver and heart qigong and qigong walking. The sounds detoxify and regulate the energies of the organs, and balance the body both physically and emotionally. This is a practice that can be used as a daily wellness practice or to heal depression and accompanying issues.
This is one of the best qigong exercises to relieve depression or anger.