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Acupuncture and Eating Disorders

Acupuncture and Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2018 will take place from 26 February to 4 March.

This year, during Eating Disorders Awareness Week, we’ll be asking the question ‘Why Wait?’

On average, 149 weeks pass before those experiencing eating disorder symptoms seek help. That’s almost three years, 37 months or 1,043 days. On top of this, in a YouGov survey conducted for EDAW, more than one in three adults (34%) in the UK, who gave an answer, could not name any signs or symptoms of eating disorders.

We know the sooner someone gets the treatment they need, the more likely they are to make a full and fast recovery. As well as campaigning to improve the services available, we recognise that we must raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder and encourage and empower people to take action now – no matter how long their symptoms have been present.

Do I Have an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses. Anyone, no matter what their age, gender, or background, can develop one. Some examples of eating disorders include bulimia, binge eating disorder, and anorexia. There’s no single cause and people might not have all symptoms for any one eating disorder. Many people are diagnosed with “other specified feeding or eating disorder” (OSFED), which means that their symptoms don’t exactly match what doctors check for to diagnose binge eating disorder, anorexia, or bulimia, but doesn’t mean that it’s not still very serious. It’s also possible for someone’s symptoms, and therefore their diagnosis, to change over time. For example, someone could have anorexia, but their symptoms could later change so that a diagnosis of bulimia would be more appropriate.

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How traditional five element acupuncture can help with people suffering from eating disorders?

Traditional five element acupuncture has an entirely different conceptual framework from conventional medicine, and is based on a wide and intricate understanding of the workings of body, mind and spirit as a flow of energy, called Qi. This flow can become blocked, stuck, weakened or excessive in response to the circumstances of life, and when this happens symptoms develop. From this background there is the potential that traditional five element acupuncture might provide treatment options.

Working with eating disorders usually requires considerable counselling and careful management to encourage someone back to full health. There is no doubt that traditional five element acupuncture can help alongside other therapy, especially by aiding the restoration of natural function and calming the spirit. Acupuncture should not be seen as a primary treatment for anorexia but it can be an effective complementary therapy. However, each case is unique and it is always good to gain as much help as possible. Also as a long term support system when in recovery, to continue to care for body, mind and spirit.

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