Alternative Systems of Healing for Depression

There are some healing traditions that offer therapies that help reduce the underlying causes of depression. Ask your doctor for a recommended practitioner or talk to friends and family for recommendations.


Ayurveda is a comprehensive system of healing that comes from India. In Ayurveda, diet, movement, herbal supplements, spa treatments and body cleansing practices are all used to address any concern.  Ayurveda links depression to imbalances in psychic and physical energy. Ayurvedic practitioners can provide recommendations to bring things back into balance.

Traditional Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) “originated in ancient China and has evolved over thousands of years. TCM practitioners use herbal medicines and various mind and body practices, such as acupuncture and tai chi, to treat or prevent health problems.” Specifically, acupuncture may help elevate mood and increase energy. This form of healing is very holistic and may see depression as a symptom of deeper concerns in energy flow throughout the body. Follow the link below to learn more about this therapy.

Understanding Traditional Chinese Medicine

Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapists have up to a thousand or more hours in training specific to the therapeutic applications of yoga poses to various mental and physical concerns.  The hips and chest/heart area are often linked to depression so a yoga therapist might focus on gently opening these areas with supported poses in a one-on-one session.  Many yoga studios offer a trained yoga therapist.  Ask how many hours of training he or she has in yoga therapy.  It should be at least 500 hours.  Yoga teachers in your area may have recommendations of a therapist who is well respected.

Reiki/Healing Touch Therapy

Reiki is a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.  There are very few studies of the effectiveness of Reiki for depression but some people find this type of therapy very comforting and healing.

Cochrane Review of Reiki for Depression and Anxiety