Winter blues: acupuncture for seasonal affective disorder (SAD)


The winter blues is real: it is a type of depression that happens each year, in the fall & winter. SAD affects 5-10% of the population every year. Women are more likely to experience seasonal depression symptoms, and this disorder is most common in young adults.

Our approach at taproot is to use acupuncture, herbs & lifestyle changes to address the problem in a very individualized way. Acupuncture is a great tool for depression, and SAD is no exception.


Common symptoms of SAD include:

  • Depression

  • Apathy

  • Fatigue

  • Change in appetite

  • Change in sleeping patterns

  • Lack of mental focus

Moods & the changing of seasons: 5-elements theory


We are part of nature, and as the world cycles through seasons, so do our bodies. Fluctuating moods occur at each change of seasons according to Chinese medicine theory.

Spring and summer are Yang seasons, an expansive & warmer time of year both in nature and for our mood.


On the flip side, the fall & winter seasons are Yin, where energy goes in the opposite direction. Nature begins to go dormant and preserve energy.



There is a natural tendency to turn inward, to want to conserve energy as we renew ourselves for the next cycle of expansion that begins with the first buds of spring.


Red more tips on seasonal living according to Chinese medicine here.


How to cope at home


Nutrition: get your sunshine in your plate

During the fall and winter months, when the weather tends to be cooler and the hours of darkness are more abundant, it is recommended to

  • Vitamin D3 for general immune support Vitamin D is in fish and dairy products as well as fortified cereals and soy.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish like salmon & tuna, seafood including algae and krill, and nut oils. Omega-3 EFAs support brain function and stabilize the mood.

  • Vitamin B6 helps with stress response, nervousness, and insomnia. Good sources include cereals, beans, meat and poultry, fish, bananas, and nuts.

  • Magnesium balances blood sugar levels. Foods containing magnesium include nuts, spinach, oatmeal, dark chocolate, and whole-grain loaves of bread.

  • L-tyrosine is an amino acid affecting many neurotransmitters that regulate emotions. Find L-tyrosine in meats, dairy products, fish, whole grain, and oats.

  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) helps your body convert food into energy and a high percentage of depression sufferers have low levels. Foods containing folic acid include spinach, dark leafy greens, soybeans, kidney beans, white beans, lima beans, mung beans, salmon, orange juice, avocado, and whole grains and fortified cereals.


Create movement to create energy

Try to create a daily routine for yourself that is based on when it is light outside. This will increase your sun exposure while getting your Qi moving. Any kind of aerobic exercise though will help to increase dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps stabilize mood.

  • Vigorous 20-minute walks in the sunlight can make a big difference.

  • Try Tai Chi or Yoga to promote healthy circulation, reduce stress, and help with those chippy mood swings.


Acupuncture for seasonal depression

Start in the summer

Begin treatment at any time; however, the summer is ideal. By doing so, there is a good chance the practitioner can break up the cyclic pattern of symptoms so that they are reduced or even eliminated before the problematic seasons arrive.


Acupuncture for depression

Acupuncture has been proved to be effective in the management of depression, as a stand alone or complementary approach. SAD is no exception !



No matter where you are in your mental health journey,

if you need support, we can help.


Our own team of specialized acupuncturists can help with seasonal affective disorder acupuncture near me Los Angeles & Pasadena area community to help you

find the right integrative and holistic care for you.

On our website, you can learn more about our services, and book an appointment.

If you have more questions please call our front desk, at 626-841-2991, or email us.