In today’s fast-paced and often overwhelming world, mental health concerns like anxiety and depression have become increasingly common. These conditions can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. Yet, there remains a significant stigma surrounding them, which often prevents individuals from seeking help or even discussing their experiences. In this blog post, I aim to shed light on anxiety and depression, providing insights into their nature, causes, and coping strategies. Active Therapy Clinic | Depression treatment | North Vancouver

Defining Anxiety and Depression:


Anxiety and depression are two distinct but closely related mental health disorders. Anxiety is characterized by excessive worry, fear, or uneasiness about future events or circumstances. It can manifest as physical symptoms like restlessness, rapid heartbeat, and sweating. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder are common forms of anxiety disorders. Depression, on the other hand, involves persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. Symptoms of often include changes in appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is one of the most prevalent forms of depression.

Understanding the Causes:


 The causes are complex and multifaceted. They can be influenced by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Some common contributors include:

  1. Genetics: A family history of these disorders can increase one’s vulnerability.
  2. Brain Chemistry: Imbalances in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) like serotonin and dopamine can play a role.
  3. Stress and Trauma: Prolonged exposure to stress or traumatic events can trigger these conditions.
  4. Personality Factors: Certain personality traits, like perfectionism or low self-esteem, may make individuals more susceptible.
  5. Physical Health: Chronic illnesses and hormonal imbalances can contribute to mental health challenges.
  6. Environmental Factors: Living conditions, socioeconomic status, and access to support systems can influence mental well-being.

Coping Strategies and Treatment:


 The good news is that both conditions are treatable. A combination of approaches may be effective:

  1. Therapy: Massage Therapy, Osteopathy / Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Acupuncture, Naturopathy can reduce anxiety, even when people are experiencing chronic pain, illness, anxiety disorders, and psychoactive drug withdrawal.
  2. Medication: Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications prescribed by a healthcare professional can help alleviate symptoms.
  3. Lifestyle Changes: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can have a positive impact on mental health.
  4. Social Support: Building a strong support network of friends and family can provide emotional assistance.
  5. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Practices like meditation and deep breathing can reduce anxiety and stress.
  6. Self-Care: Prioritizing self-care activities like hobbies, leisure, and relaxation can promote mental well-being.

Breaking the Stigma

It’s crucial to remember that anxiety and depression are not a sign of weakness or personal failure. Anyone can be affected, and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. By openly discussing these conditions and supporting those who are affected, we can reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Anxiety and depression are common but treatable mental health disorders that affect millions of people worldwide. Understanding their causes, symptoms, and available treatments is essential to promote better mental health for all. By breaking the silence and stigma surrounding these conditions, we can create a more compassionate and supportive society where individuals feel comfortable seeking help and finding their path to recovery. Remember, you are not alone, and there is hope for a brighter future.

Can massage help with anxiety or depression?


Massage therapy has been found to provide relaxation and relief from stress, which can be beneficial for individuals experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression. While it may not be a standalone treatment for these conditions, it can certainly be a complementary approach to improving mental well-being. Here’s how massage can help with anxiety and depression:

  1. Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Massage therapy promotes relaxation by reducing muscle tension and triggering the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. This relaxation response can help alleviate the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as muscle tension and a racing heart.
  2. Improved Sleep: Many people with anxiety and depression experience sleep disturbances. Massage can help improve sleep quality by relaxing the body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  3. Decreased Cortisol Levels: Massage has been shown to reduce cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. High cortisol levels are associated with increased stress and anxiety, so reducing them can have a positive impact on mental well-being.
  4. Increased Serotonin and Dopamine: Massage may stimulate the release of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that play a role in mood regulation. Higher levels of these neurotransmitters are associated with improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression.
  5. Mind-Body Connection: Massage encourages individuals to focus on the present moment and connect with their bodies. This mindfulness aspect can help individuals manage symptoms of anxiety by redirecting their attention away from worrisome thoughts.
  6. Human Touch: The power of human touch should not be underestimated. Massage provides a safe and nurturing environment where individuals can experience the comfort of physical touch, which can be especially beneficial for those dealing with feelings of isolation or loneliness.
  7. Self-Care: Engaging in self-care activities like receiving a massage can boost one’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem, which are often diminished in people with depression.

Influence of Cranio Sacral Therapy


Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a complementary and alternative therapy used by Osteopathic practitioners that involves gentle manipulation and massage of the craniosacral system, which includes the bones of the skull, spine, and sacrum, as well as the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Treatment provides a very gentle manipulation within the Cranial Sacral area to calm, relax, and heal. Craniosacral therapy can have a profound effect on the body by improving the circulation of all body fluids. Especially cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that protects the spinal cord and brain and brings nutrition to our brain. Another benefit is calming the nervous system and removing patterns of strain anywhere in the body. Due to the gentle approach, CST is recommended for babies and children. Here are some ways in which proponents suggest craniosacral therapy may be beneficial:

  1. Stress Reduction: CST is often described as deeply relaxing. The gentle, non-invasive techniques used in CST may help individuals feel more relaxed and reduce the physical tension associated with stress and anxiety.
  2. Enhanced Well-being: Some people who have undergone CST report feeling a sense of calm and improved well-being after sessions. This improved sense of well-being may indirectly help individuals cope with anxiety.
  3. Balancing the Nervous System: Proponents of CST suggest that it can help balance the autonomic nervous system, which regulates the body’s stress response. Balancing the autonomic nervous system may help individuals manage stress and anxiety more effectively.
  4. Mind-Body Connection: CST practitioners often emphasize the importance of the mind-body connection. By promoting awareness of physical sensations and encouraging relaxation, CST may help individuals become more in tune with their bodies, which can be a valuable skill in managing anxiety.
  5. Release of Tension: CST practitioners claim that the therapy can release physical and emotional tension stored in the body. While scientific evidence for this is lacking, some individuals report feeling emotionally lighter and less burdened after CST sessions.

6 reasons to try Acupuncture


Acupuncture, an ancient practice that involves inserting needles into pressure points on your body, is becoming a popular alternative treatment for anxiety. There are many benefits to this ancient practice, including potential relief from depression and anxiety. Here at Active Therapy Clinic, we successfully use acupuncture for anxiety and it is very effective for negating the stress response and aiding relaxation. An acupuncturist will insert the acupuncture needles along specific acupuncture points to elicit a physiological response in the body. Here are 6 reasons to try acupuncture if you want comfort from anxiety and depression.

  1. Stress Reduction: Acupuncture can promote relaxation and reduce the body’s stress response. The release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters during acupuncture may help alleviate stress and anxiety.
  2. Balancing Energy Flow: According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, acupuncture works by balancing the flow of energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”) in the body. When Qi is blocked or imbalanced, it can lead to physical and emotional discomfort. Acupuncture aims to restore the balance of Qi, which may help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  3. Regulating Neurotransmitters: Some studies suggest that acupuncture may influence the release and regulation of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which play a role in mood regulation. An increase in these neurotransmitters can have a positive impact on mood.
  4. Pain Reduction: Acupuncture is often used to manage chronic pain conditions. For individuals with depression, chronic pain can exacerbate symptoms. By reducing pain, acupuncture may indirectly improve mood and reduce the physical burden associated with depression.
  5. Improving Sleep: Sleep disturbances are common in individuals with anxiety and depression. Acupuncture may help improve sleep quality by relaxing the body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  6. Enhancing Mind-Body Awareness: Acupuncture sessions often involve a focus on breathing and mindfulness. This can help individuals become more aware of their physical sensations and encourage a mind-body connection, which can be beneficial in managing anxiety and depression.