Can Acupuncture Help Treat Bulimia?

For thousands of years in China, health care providers have used acupuncture to treat almost anything that may ail you. To this day, these treatments are still used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture has even caught on in western nations and is even popular today as an alternative therapy to western medicine.

Some believe that acupuncture really works, while others believe it is pseudo-science. Still, others see no reason why a patient can't have the best of both worlds.

Can acupuncture help you with your eating disorder? Here is what you need to know.

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is based on the belief that everybody has a "chi"—a universal life energy—that flows through the body. This energy is believed to take pathways, known as meridians, and it helps keep us healthy by keeping the body functioning.

Acupuncturists believe that illnesses are caused by the chi getting blocked. To restore the flow and cure the illness, they insert fine, sterile needles into specific points in the body.

Any illness can be treated with acupuncture in TCM, including eating disorders. Bulimia is treated as a gastro-intestinal condition by acupuncturists. People who have found acupuncture beneficial also feel it's helpful with many of the symptoms and discomforts caused by eating disorders, such as reducing anxiety, increasing energy, relieving muscle cramps, or helping them sleep.

Western Medicine

In modern western medicine, bulimia is considered a psychological illness. There are several contributing factors, such as genetics and brain chemistry, but treatment mainly focuses on healing the damage done to the body and using therapy to teach sufferers better coping skills and behavior modification.

Overall, western medicine does not give much credit to alternative therapies like acupuncture. It's not something recommended by any mainstream medical organization, and many doctors warn patients about seeking out such treatments.

Best of Both Worlds

Though most western doctors would not recommend a patient with bulimia seek out acupuncture in lieu of modern treatment, few would discourage patients from seeking acupuncture in conjunction with mainstream medical treatment.

Many health care professionals have come to adopt the belief that alternative therapies like acupuncture can be beneficial if they bring the patient emotional comfort or spiritual nourishment. Some even believe that because acupuncture helps reduce stress and causes the body to release endorphins, it could be helpful to the healing process and speeds up recovery.

If you feel adjunct therapies like acupuncture may be helpful in your recovery, talk to your health care providers about it.

Sources: Acupuncture Massage College, Mirasol Recovery Centers, Healthline

Photo: Pixabay

More Articles

It may sound unbelievable, but people can suffer from a severe eating disorder and not even know it. You would think just looking in a mirror...

It is hard for someone without an eating disorder to understand why someone suffering from anorexia nervosa would go without food. Most people...

Eating disorders often do more than just affect a person’s body weight. In extreme cases, disordered eating habits can cause severe malnutrition,...

A dedicated fitness routine is a great way to stay healthy and fit, but as with everything else in life, people can take things too far. For some...

If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, you may feel overwhelmed. There are a few things you should know upfront.

First and...

More Articles

More Articles

It may sound unbelievable, but people can suffer from a severe eating disorder and not even know it. You would think just looking in a mirror...

It is hard for someone without an eating disorder to understand why someone suffering from anorexia nervosa would go without food. Most people...

Eating disorders often do more than just affect a person’s body weight. In extreme cases, disordered eating habits can cause severe malnutrition,...

A dedicated fitness routine is a great way to stay healthy and fit, but as with everything else in life, people can take things too far. For some...

If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, you may feel overwhelmed. There are a few things you should know upfront.

First and...

Hypoglycemia is a medical term that refers to low blood sugar levels. Usually, this condition is considered a complication of type 1 diabetes. It...

Diuretics are a class of drugs that promote diuresis, a process that increases the production and output of urine. The two most common ways to...

Anorexia, the shorthand name for anorexia nervosa, is an eating disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Even though anorexia is...

Anorexia is a mental and emotional condition, but it can have devastating effects on the body. Health care professionals estimate that only about...

Every year, thousands of amateur and professional athletes struggle with anorexia athletica, a lesser-known eating disorder, and variation of...

The reason eating disorders are so hard to treat is that they are such complex conditions. It is usually a combination of factors that lead up to...

When it comes to the discussion of eating disorders, night eating syndrome is a rarely recognized and often poorly understood condition. Night...

Most descriptions and media representations of bulimia nervosa fixate on binge eating and purging, usually via self-induced vomiting. Although...

New research shows a link between people with cathartic colon disease and the eating disorder bulimia. Cathartic colon is a dangerous condition...

Energy is not just something we need to keep our computers and smartphones charged. If an electronic device can fail to function without...