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Alternative Treatments for Eating Disorders

Your dedication to getting well and following your treatment plan are important. In addition to traditional counseling and medication, some people find alternative treatments as helpful boosts to their doctor’s recommendations.

Yoga

Practicing yoga can help reduce stress levels and provide a clear mind. This low-impact exercise helps individuals become more “in tune” with their bodies and contributes to a more positive sense of well-being, better body image, and fewer poor eating habits.

From intense to meditative, yoga can be practiced in many forms. Before deciding which type is best for you, take classes from a few different instructors or stream classes online to find the perfect fit. Here are just a few of the many types of yoga available:

  • Vinyasa 
  • Hatha
  • Hot yoga
  • Restorative

To learn more about these types as well as the countless benefits of yoga, read our article “Strike a Pose: Managing Emotional Distress Through Yoga.”

Acupuncture 

This form of traditional Chinese medicine entails an acupuncturist inserting fine, sterile needles into specific points in your body. Research shows that several acupuncture sessions alongside existing eating disorder treatments can significantly improve the following: 

  • Symptoms of depression
  • Anxious thoughts 
  • Chronic pain
  • Physical tension
  • Sense of control

Relaxation therapy 

Massage therapy may help improve your outlook and lead to a more successful recovery journey. In one study, women with anorexia nervosa who received massage therapy twice a week for five weeks had:

  • Lower stress hormones 
  • Decreased body dissatisfaction
  • Increased dopamine and serotonin levels

There are also benefits associated with other relaxation therapies such as aromatherapy and meditation. One study found that meditation can:

  • Reduce emotion and binge eating
  • Increase self-acceptance
  • Improve awareness of hunger cues
  • Help with anxiety, addiction, and pain management

Self-care

Alongside prescribed and alternative treatments, it’s important to build lifestyle habits that help you reach recovery. By practicing self care such as regular exercise, maintaining meals, sticking to a sleep schedule, and socializing with friends and family, you can build positive habits that help you manage disordered eating.

Whatever path you take toward recovery, our trained counselors will walk alongside you.

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