“I think none of that addressed underlying issues, whereas being involved with something like Muay Thai and competing made me face things head on,” Gowing said. “Not only can it be a coping mechanism, but it really addresses the issues of confidence, self-esteem, being able to set boundaries and that sort of thing.”

A product of an environment where such issues weren’t discussed, being forced to juggle exhaustion, fulfillment, defeat and other emotions all at the same time was a welcome change. As much of and advocate for Muay Thai as Gowing is, she explains that it isn’t just Muay Thai that could act as a deterrent for depression. There are many avenues worth pursuing.

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“I think physical activity in general or anything that requires discipline is underutilized,” Gowing said. One potential roadblock in the way when considering a combat sport isn’t necessarily the aggression and violence, but could the potential of anxiety pre-fight and depression post-loss have an adverse effect?