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Independent health store advice on natural ways to help seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health store can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This month we speak to Rosemary Tarrant, owner of Down to Earth Health in Selkirk

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) occurs generally during the change from autumn into winter and is a type of depression. People with it find their energy level deteriorates and it can affect their mood. Some people feel they have to tough it out on their own but this is not the case. Going down the natural path, there are several ways that have proved helpful to my clients over the last 20 years, and if you can start helping yourself before it descends, your route through the winter months can be eased dramatically.

Supplements and remedies

Symptoms of SAD include feeling low, losing interest in activities, low energy, disrupted sleep, weight/appetite changes and a lack of concentration and focus. It affects people for five to six months every year, so I would really encourage people to check out various practitioners and see what resonates with them. Using kinesiology is wonderful as I can check whether it is just a chemical aspect, in that they need a supplement in a capsule form, a powder or a herbal blended liquid like the homeobotanicals that I am also trained in. The root may also be emotional (so it’s not just a chemical aspect) and then I turn to the Bach Flowers or other essences and may combine them with the homeobotanicals. Food can also be a factor as energy and appetite can change. So some people may not eat enough and others may eat too many carbohydrates and heavy fats, increasing the feelings of imbalance with blood sugar imbalances and sluggishness.

If you live in the Northern half of the UK then I would encourage people from early September (mid-September in the South) to start reviewing their diet. Include oily fish in your diet (salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines) to support your levels of good fats and also your vitamin D, which decreases when the sun is not high enough in the sky. Supplements can be helpful but can affect medication so care is required. 5-HTP, magnesium and B-complex are often helpful for my clients. The Bach Flowers are wonderful in their safety. I often recommend the following remedies:

The homeobotanicals are made up by practitioners but telephone consultations are available.

Light therapy

I often recommend light therapy for SAD. The light boxes have changed so much over the last 20 years. They do need to be 10,000 lux strength to be effective and people do need to use them regularly. (As a comparision, being outside on a bright sunny day in the summer can be about 100,000 lux.) You do need to be fairly close to them (10 to 15cm) to get the best results.

Lastly, make exercise a habit. Walking is great as it stimulates the lymphatic system (the internal cleanser of the body), it’s free and can be done on your own or with friends. It’s great if you can connect with a walking buddy as this will keep you both on track.

Down to Earth Health

Down to Earth Health is based in Tower Street, Selkirk, in the Scottish Borders.

The shop stocks a wide range of vitamins, minerals and supplements, healthy snacks and drinks plus much more.

Owner Rosemary Tarrant is a professional practitioner (of 20 years) in kinesiology, homeobotanicals, nutrition and clinical massage.

Rosemary is also a Trustee and tutor for the Kinesiology Association, teaching Foundation and Diploma level. She also enjoys teaching CPD courses and doing Corporate Wellness Days for employers.

To contact Rosemary, send an email to or visit the website:

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