According to The National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 million men and women in the United States suffer from eating disorders. The two most common types of eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia is characterized by extreme weight loss; bulimia is characterized by binge-eating and compensatory factors such as purging and fasting.
Both anorexia and bulimia involve a perception distortion of body shape and weight. Conventional therapies for eating disorders include medical and psychological evaluation, medication and nutritional counseling.
One of the most effective healing traditions in the treatment of eating disorders is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) which includes acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, massage, and dietary therapy. In addition to allopathic therapies, TCM, especially acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, can aid in regaining emotional and physical health.
The medical complications of eating disorders can affect multiple body systems, including the digestive, endocrine and cardiac systems. Eating disorder symptoms are often associated with the digestive system, one of the most affected systems of the body. Depending on the specific eating disorder, symptoms may include acid reflux, abdominal bloating, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort.
General health eating disorder complaints, such as dry skin, fatigue, concentration difficulties, anemia, muscle cramps, hair loss, insomnia, anxiety, and low energy are among the symptoms that acupuncture addresses. As either a primary or adjunct therapy for eating disorders, acupuncture speeds recovery of the affected body systems and aids in stress reduction through the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
Auricular (ear) acupuncture points are effective in harmonizing digestion, absorption and metabolism. Acupuncture body points selected can tonify Chi and circulate oxygen and blood with an emphasis on the stomach. By restoring Chi energetic balance, acupuncture can manage uncontrollable appetite and reduce cravings.
Acupuncture treatment can correct the energy imbalances that often are underlying factors in eating disorders. Acupuncture nourishes related organs and can contribute to the healthy functioning of the digestive system. TCM for eating disorders utilizes a combination of holistic modalities to regain health, including acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, massage, and dietary therapy.
For more information about Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of eating disorders call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500.