A large percentage of those afflicted with eating disorders are adolescent and young adult women. These illnesses can also affect older women and men. Types of eating disorders include: Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS). Bulimia is the most common type of eating disorder.
Treatment addresses both the psychological and physical aspects of the eating disorder. A consistently effective therapeutic treatment plan has not been identified. Standard treatment for eating disorders combines psychotherapy, nutritional counseling and medication. An interdisciplinary approach is most effective.
Alternative therapies may complement psychological and medical treatment of eating disorders. TCM, especially acupuncture, can address the emotional and physical discomforts of various eating disorders. Given the psychological nature of these disorders, therapies that ease distressed moods and calm agitation are most effective. A feeling of mental and physical relaxation is often the first effect of acupuncture a patient becomes aware of. As an adjunct therapy for eating disorders, acupuncture releases endorphins that affect the digestive and hormonal systems and aids in stress reduction.
Auricular points are effective in harmonizing eating, digestion, absorption, metabolism, and have a calming effect. Body points selected can tonify qi and circulate oxygen and blood with an emphasis on the stomach. Acupuncture can reduce cravings and manage uncontrollable appetite by restoring qi energetic balance. Treatment can strengthen the endocrine and digestive systems and correct the energy imbalances that may be underlying factors in eating disorders.
In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males suffer from eating disorders according to the National Eating Disorders Association. For more information about acupuncture as an adjunct therapy for the treatment of eating disorders contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.