Complementary Medicine Options For Treating Anorexia Nervosa

When you are suffering from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by extreme self-limitation of food and caloric intake, you may wonder what treatments are possibly available that can help your break out of the cycle of this psychiatric disorder. While conventional medicine and psychiatry do offer several treatment options, they often focus solely on one aspect of the disorder. If you are looking for a more holistic approach to treating your anorexia nervosa, there are ways that you can incorporate complementary medicine options into your treatment program. Get to know some of the complementary medicine treatments that may be useful to help you overcome your anorexia nervosa.


Acupuncture is a treatment that stems from ancient China and has been used by patients all over the world to help treat any number of medical or psychiatric disorders. The main idea behind acupuncture is that inside the body, there are energies that flow and cycle throughout the body, maintaining a person's health.

However, if a person's flow of energy is disrupted or their energies become unbalanced, they can experience numerous health problems and issues. In acupuncture terms, therefore, anorexia nervosa develops because of energy flow and balance problems in the body (especially the brain). However, once a person begins starving themselves due to their self-imposed dietary restrictions, they also throw the rest of their systems' energies out of balance as well, causing organ problems that can have serious consequences.

To help restore the flow of energy and the balance, an acupuncturist will insert tiny needles into specific energy points throughout the body. These needles stimulate the flow of energy and can almost immediately have a relaxing and calming effect on the mind and body. The exact points used for anorexia will vary depending on the other physical health issues caused by the disorder but will likely include points on the head, face, neck, and ears as well as elsewhere.

Meditation and Yoga

One of the biggest problems with anorexia nervosa is that there is a disconnect between the mind and body. The mind is so focused on control and/or on being skinny that it is unable or unwilling to pay attention to the physical needs of the body. The body needs energy in the form of food to survive and thrive, but the anorexic mind cannot see or understand that.

Practices like meditation and yoga are designed to rekindle that connection between the mind and body. Meditation is a focused mental exercises in which a person focuses on their breathing and is mindful in the moment they are in. It is designed to block out anxiety, worry, and thoughts of the past and future to focus on what is happening in that exact moment. This is an excellent way to attune the mind to the body and what the body is trying to communicate to the mind.

Similarly, yoga is focused on this type of meditative state but combines that focused meditation with physical movements (stretches and flowing poses) to connect the mind to the body in an active way. This can, again, foster a strong connection between the mind and body as the two work together to perform exercises and understand their mutual needs and goals.

Now that you know a few of the complementary treatment options that you can use in your treatment program for anorexia nervosa, you can better create a holistic eating disorder treatment program that will work for you.