Holistic Treatment for Depression

Holistic Treatment for Depression

Holistic Treatment for Depression encompasses a vast number of treatment modalities. Alternative and Complimentary Medicine is quickly gaining respect in the medical world, however, mainstream mental health institutions are often far behind the curve regarding the acceptance of alternative or holistic treatments for depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders.

Proponents of mainstream allopathic treatments often disregard alternative medicine as a viable alternative.
Their most common argument against holistic treatment for depression or any other disorder, is that there is not enough research or hard evidence to demonstrate their efficacy.

It should be known that many of the required drug studies that are published, are actually done by the same drug companies that produce them. An obvious conflict of interest, when you consider the billions of dollars at stake. There are many examples (some now in headline news) of the manipulation or suppression of information by drug companies for monetary gain.

In 2008, there were finally some major studies leaking into public awareness, showing that anti-depressants are far less effective than once widely believed and that for mild to moderate depression there are far more effective treatment options - including psychotherapy (talk therapy) - than anti-depressants. For more info, check out this recent article published by the BBC:

Anti-depressants' Little Effect.

In an 18-month NIMH study that compared four types of treatment (two forms of psychotherapy, an antidepressant, and placebo), the group that was initially treated with the antidepressant had the lowest stay-well rate by the end of the study.

Holistic Treatment for Depression: Not a one-size-fits-all solution.

So, that being said, I’ll get off my soap box, and add another word of caution, to present a balanced perspective:

Don’t blindly accept the claims of alternative medicine either. There are countless alternatives out there, and some are very promising, perhaps even miraculous; But there is no panacea that works the same for every person. And what is good for one person, may actually be harmful to another. It may take time to find what works for you. On the whole, however, alternative medicines are vastly safer than mainstream drugs.

My suggestion is to find a medical doctor who has a good understanding of both mainstream medicine as well as holistic and nutritional approaches to health. And before engaging in any alternative treatment, be sure to check it out with your trusted physician first.

A holistic treatment for depression should not exclude any available treatment that works - and some people may decide that they need to include mainstream medicine such as antidepressants or mood stabilizers, particularly for severe Major Depression and Bipolar Disorder. It is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons. But in order to do that, you need to really know what the pros and cons are. Be sure to consult with a medical doctor that you feel comfortable with and trust.

For an in-depth review of the dangers of psychotropic medications, based on real medical evidence and historical documentation, I highly recommend Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, 2010.

My favorite approach to depression treatment:

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technques) or Meridian Tapping

What is "EFT/Tapping"?

Sometimes referred to as "Meridian Tapping," EFT is a revolutionary method of healing by applying pressure, or finger taps, to various pressure points on the upper body (you can do this for yourself). The method is safe, easy to learn and directly shifts the brain and nervous system in order to eliminate unconsciously held negative core beliefs, self-destructive thoughts, unresolved emotional traumas and other issues that commonly can often lead to "depression." Learn more about this amazing technique that I now utilize with most of my own therapy and coaching clients.

The video below is a good overview as explained by Eric Robins, MD:

This page will feature some of the well established alternative and complementary healing approaches, as well as some types of holistic treatment for depression, anxiety and stress that are not yet widely known.

This list of recommended healing modalities is intended for informational purposes only. I do NOT personally offer all of the practices and techniques on this page, and am not endorsing any particular individuals or methods.

Holistic treatment for depression and other health problems treats the person as a whole. Holistic medicine is based on Systems Theory - which recognizes that anything done to one "part" of us, affects all other parts of us. Any treatment that is in harmony with life, will benefit the individual on multiple levels -- even far beyond what the target symptoms may be. By utilizing a holistic treatment for depression, it is likely that you will also experience healing in other areas as well.

This page is separated into three categories:

  • BODY (physical interventions and also may include energy work)
  • MIND (working with the emotions and thought process or intellect)
  • SPIRIT (Treating the spiritual dimension/accessing the wisdom of the essential Self or Soul. )

In the spirit of viewing healing from a holistic perspective - the distinctions between Body/Mind/Spirit are quite fluid and overlapping. Holistic treatment for depression should recognize the multidimensional reality of good treatment.


Physical Modalities, include Body-Oriented Psychotherapies, as well as hands-on physical healing methods, such as Chiropractic Medicine, Reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu and Massage Therapy.

Others Body approaches:

  • Dietary/Nutritional Consultation. (Low levels of Vitamin B6/B12, Folic Acid, Iron, and Vitamin D have been associated with depressive symptoms, as well as inadequate nutrition in general).
  • Herbal therapy (both Western and Chinese are widely used)
    St. John's Wort is one of the most popular herbs for depression.
  • Amino Acids (Tryptophan, GABA, 5-HTP, SAM-E) - the building blocks of your neurotransmitters, are often used effectively to treat depression and anxiety.
  • Ayurveda (Indian herbal/nutritional and energy medicine - a tradition with thousands of years of practice behind it.)
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Rolfing
  • Martial Arts (Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Aikido)
  • Chi Gung
  • Neurofeedback
  • Hatha Yoga (actually fits in all categories)
  • Brain State Technologies
  • Light Therapy / Light Boxes
  • Drumming Therapy
  • Dance Therapies
  • Movement Therapies such as Feldenkrais.
  • Body-Oriented Psychotherapies (Somatic Therapy, Reichian Therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Hakomi).
  • Chiropractic Medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Cranial Osteopathy
  • Biochemical Treatment/Orthomolecular Treatment (The individualized supplemental use of naturally occurring substances: vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes, to correct imbalances)
    One of the best I've found (especially for Bipolar Disorder), is called EmPower Plus and can be purchased from:


  • Traditional Psychiatric Medication (Allopathic Medicine)
  • Detoxification from chemicals, environmental toxins, or heavy metals.
  • Allergy treatments such as NAET (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques)
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid - An "Essential Fatty Acid" which is not produced by the human body, and which is essential for life, and for brain health. It has been found to be useful for both depression and bipolar disorder. Fish oil is known to be the most potent and easily utilized by the body. Far superior to flax seed oil. I recommend a high quality, pure, mercury-free fish oil such as Carlson’s Fish Oil or Nordic Naturals.
  • Biofeedback
  • EFT/Meridian Tapping: My most frequently used method for treating Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Stress, Trauma, Performance Issues and for Pain Management.


  • Psychotherapies of most types fit into this category.
  • Hypnotherapy

  • Journaling
  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Drumming Therapy
  • Sound Therapy / Binaural CD's which are listened to with headphones and produce Delta and Theta brain waves associated with deep relaxation and trance states.
  • Lucid Dreaming Techniques/ Dream Work
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness Meditation Technique: The art of awareness, and conscious presence - learning to live fully in the present moment. Learn to meditate here.

    NEW! Check out my introductory Guided Meditation

    Sample: Guided Mindfulness Meditation - From Part 1 of the 3 part meditation. 

    This is an easy way to experience the benefits of meditation immediately. This audio is a guided meditation for depression, anxiety and stress.

    "I went to your website and found your “guided meditation for depression”... I laid down...just exhausted from all the inner pain and the “trying” to make is stop... and I listened to your guided meditation for 15 minutes.

    The inner pain went away...it was simply gone and I could breathe and felt I came back to myself. So I played the 15 minute meditation again. I felt like “my self for the first time in days. The pain wasn’t just “shouting at me” nor was it simply “lurking in the background”... it was gone.


    Purchase All 3 Parts - Full 62-Minute Meditation Here for $20:

    Guided Mindfulness Meditation - Part 1 - 15 minutes
    Guided Mindfulness Meditation - Part 2 - 15 minutes
    AUM - Healing Sound Meditation - Part 3 - 32 minutes


    Spiritual Modalities may involve body and mind, but also transcend these levels and expand into more subtle levels of consciousness.

  • Yoga:(Kriya Yoga, Jnana Yoga/ Advaita Vedanta, Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga)
  • Buddhist Meditation: Tibetan Buddhism, Zen, Mahayana
  • Shamanism
  • Energy healing / Pranic Healing / Reiki / Theta Healing

  • Mindfulness Meditation/ Vipassana
  • Transpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Drumming Therapy
  • Tai Chi, Aikido, Kung Fu
  • Prayer


    Residents of the UK - for an online directory of Holistic and Complimentary Therapists visit:

    Looking for holistic treatment for depression, face to face, or by phone or Skype?

    Contact Santa Rosa Psychotherapist and Coach Ben Schwarcz, MFT
    Phone: 707-326-5566

    Holistic treatment for depression is not a one-size-fits-all prescription. It is important to be open-minded, yet cautious when choosing a treatment approach, be it traditional or alternative. Consult your medical doctor before using any new approach to healing.

    The above list is only a partial, general list. Many of the approaches are not restricted to one category only. This list was only separated to more clearly illustrate some of the different aspects of a holistic treatment for depression.

    DISCLAIMER: This website may serve as a depression self-help tool, but the use of this information does not constitute a therapist/client relationship and should not serve as a means of self-diagnosis or a substitution for actual psychotherapy. The information on this site is for informational purposes only and does not provide medical treatment, diagnosis or advice. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or other physical problems it is advised that you see your doctor or therapist for an evaluation. If you are having active thoughts of suicide please call either 1-800-SUICIDE, 911, or visit SuicideHotlines.com

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What is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and How Does It Work?