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

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