2. Intentionally live a healthy life.
If you want to not get depressed, then live a physically healthy life. Go to bed early, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise. Your emotions travel the biochemical and nerve routes of your body. A healthy body is a precursor for a healthy mind. There actually was a time and a place on this planet where the body and soul were accepted as a single entity. Contemplate that concept, why don’t you? Now, in the United States, the psyche has been divided into mind, emotion and spirit with separate specialists for each one. The body is an entirely different matter.
It doesn’t work. The mind and the body are parts of a single whole and what happens to the body affects the mind. Nobody knows where the body stops and the mind begins but some people are trying to sort it out. Consider the fellow who traveled, studied, and created a yoga center. Then, at age 32, he went to medical school because he wanted to learn more about the mind/body connection. Dr. Gerry Edwards now practices a particularly understanding form of family medicine. Would God that all physicians were so diversely trained.
Two things that are known about the mind/body relationship are that the immune system and points in the nervous system correlate to depression. Lower back pain goes hand-in-hand with depression. I first saw this during the many hospitalizations I experienced at St. Joseph’s Hospital. St. Joe’s was a general hospital where people would go to be treated for their back problems and then find themselves transferred to inpatient psychiatry for treatment of their depression and nobody realized that the two were connected, but there were too many bad-backs-with-depression for it to have been a coincidence.
Then a friend called me for counseling: her son, who had frequent episodes of depression, was now suicidal for the first time in his life. After much woman-talk about the fellow’s feelings, his mother just happened to mention that her son was a construction worker and three days prior had injured his lower back in a work accident.
You can’t learn anything new until stop you stop doing old things and leave vacancies for new things to enter. Last year I utterly renounced physical medicine and opened the door for new treatments to enter. One of the things I found was craniosacral massage.
According to Wikipedia, “Craniosacral therapy (CST), or cranial-sacral therapy, is a form of bodywork or alternative therapy focused primarily on the concept of ‘primary respiration’ and regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid by using therapeutic touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. To do this, a practitioner will apply light touches to a patient’s skull, face, spine and pelvis. Craniosacral therapy was developed by John Upledger, D.O. in the 1970s, and is loosely based on osteopathy in the cranial field (OCF), which was developed in the 1930s by William Garner Sutherland.
“According to the American Cancer Society, although CST may relieve the symptoms of stress or tension, ‘available scientific evidence does not support claims that craniosacral therapy helps in treating cancer or any other disease’. CST has been characterized as pseudoscience and its practice has been called quackery.”
Unless, of course, you’ve actually experienced craniosacral therapy, as I have. I was physically wrecked and knew it, so I got a physician’s referral for physical therapy and—lo and behold—what the physical therapist offered was not a series of bending, stretching and lifting exercises: what he offered was craniosacral therapy (CST). (A brief aside here: off and on for about three decades I have used the services of a physical therapist who does the bend-stretch-lift stuff. When I went in search of him this year, his group told me that he’d left and they didn’t know where he currently was practicing, hence I met this new fellow who does CST. One wonders about God’s direction in one’s life.)
So physical therapist Chris Scanlon entered my life and, as he gently began to massage me back into some semblance of goodness, he explained that depression is associated with three points in the body: a spot in the middle of the skull, the OA joint (which is where the spine enters the skull), and the sacrum (which is at the base of the spine). According to the learned Chris, tightness and strictures in any of these three places is consistent with depression. If you can, through the subtleness of CST massage, release the restrictions in these areas then you will also be relieving the depression. Hey, works for me, babe.
According to Chris, the complications in the OA joint in my neck were among the worst he’d ever seen. He said that the problems to tendons, ligaments and muscles can be caused by distress at birth, whiplash in a car accident, and many other things. There’s no telling when or where the damage came from but it’s certainly there. Likewise, it is “there” in the lower back—the sacrum—after a construction accident.
A sensitive and thoughtful practitioner of craniosacral therapy can lightly lay hands on these places and subtly apply pressure until the cramped-up joints start to release and let natural healing take place. There are no negative side effects. Positive side effects may include thoughtful, hour-long conversations with a nice man who is kind and full of interesting ideas.
So if you don’t want to be depressed, take good care of your spine—top and bottom—and if you have some kind of accident then go see a craniosacral therapist. And read the rest of the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craniosacral_therapy. The American Cancer Society should confine itself to talking about cancer, not “any other disease.” It doesn’t know dick about depression.