Is Systema a Treatment For Depression

Over the years, I have treated 1000s of patients. Depression was one of the most common reasons many sought treatment. In fact, I would say it was in the top 3 in terms of reasons why.

Depression has a number of causes with the following being the most noted:

  1. Blood deficiency. Either the quantity and/or quality of blood is low. This may or may not be noted via blood tests. There is a term called “subclinical anemia” which basically means the blood levels are low but not low enough to be diagnosed.
  2. Poor adrenal and/or thyroid functioning. These are part of the “back-up” systems to the heart. When low, the heart is forced to work harder, which it can do of course. Over time, fatigue and depression ensue.
  3. Blood stagnation. Where there is pain or aches that are chronic, it is a result of blood not moving properly or “pooled.”
  4. Lack of inspiration/boredom. No explanation needed here.

Treatments that I have done  included herbal and nutritional support, acupuncture, NLP and other psychological interventions and symbolic tasks that typically involved doing something for someone else.

Now, I would add Systema to the list.

Each class is a treatment. (You have heard it called 101 different things but I would bet “treatment” was not one of them.) Why a treatment? Because we cover the main causes stated above. Also, people feel better during and after, so much so, that most keep coming back.

Let’s take one at a time.

Blood Deficiency. The typical cause is a weakness of the Spleen. Being an Acupuncture Physician for many years, I quietly teach specific points which have “combat value;” that is, these points are used to evoke pain, initiate rotation or simply a swift takedown area. Many of the sequences that I teach are also treatments for improving the overall health and wellness of the Spleen. During a class involving take-down points for example, the exact sequence (for combat and wellness) is considered a Spleen treatment.

In other words, you heal while you learn Systema.

Poor Adrenal and/or Thyroid functioning. These are a reflection of both the Kidney and the Triple Heater energies. One of the ways to strengthen both of these energies is via breathing exercises. While the vast majority of the breathing exercises we do is from Systema, I sometimes weave Qi Gong methods into the mix.

Also, taking strikes can be fear evoking. Overcoming fear – any fear – will strengthen the Kidney energy. This is one of the great values of taking strikes not often talked about.

Blood Stagnation. The is a result of low qi and Liver stagnation. By learning to move in a relaxed, stress-free manner, the energy will also follow this pattern. In other words, my doing Systema the “correct” way, or at least as best as we can, we heal the Liver energy and move the Qi throughout the body. Slow push ups, squats and leg raises also are excellent methods for doing this too.

Finally, my patients I treated expressed a lack of direction or motivation in their life. Depression was the mask covering the face of Boredom. By committing to training in this great art, people feel a purpose if not a deep passion. Granted, it is very challenging but that is also part of the stimulating effect.

Ultra marathoner Dean Karnasez said it best: “We are so comfortable that we are miserable.” There is truth to this. Systema helps expand our boundaries and allows us to explore new outer and inner worlds. We become more by training.

Add it other factors like comradery, feelings of accomplishment and overcoming fears and self-doubts etc., and blend it with healthy doses of fun and laughter and you can see why Systema is a great antidote to depression.

Thirsty? Drink more water.

Tired? Take some Chinese Ginseng and get more rest or activity.

Depressed? Come to a Systema class. In 90 minutes, your whole life may change!