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Treating Eating Disorders with Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture have been used for thousands of years in China and beyond. The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called "qi" (or "chi"), which is present in every living being and flows along body pathways called "meridians". If this flow of this energy is blocked in any way, illness may occur. Acupuncture works to restore the body's normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the qi energy.


The Japanese Style of acupuncture is a very gentle form of acupuncture, which uses fine needles, inserted at a shallow depth into acupuncture points along the meridians to help restore a person to a balanced state. In an acupuncture session, the acupuncturist will take the pulse, palpate certain areas on the abdomen (depending on the comfort level of the client), and identify the prevalent blockage or pattern. Once the needles have been inserted and person is resting, the acupuncturist returns to the pulse and the abdomen to modify and refine treatment. Infrared heat therapy may also be used during an acupuncture session to warm and strengthen deficient areas of the body, as well as to encourage relaxation. Specific acupuncture points may be added to help relieve the physical symptoms that often accompany an eating disorder, such as abdominal bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and acid reflux.

Eating disorder clients have a hard time being present in their bodies, and they really don't want to talk about how they're feeling. I invite them to be present with their bodies and feel their bodies. My intention isn't to encourage them to relive past trauma, but rather to help them move those patterns, and to see that potential for change within themselves. The gentle Japanese style means their experience of acupuncture is a relaxing one. It helps tonify their bodies and get their systems to point where they can begin rebuilding energy."

Gabrielle Rubin

Acupuncture works not just on the physical level, but also on the mental-emotional level. Depression and anxiety often co-occur with eating disorders, so integrating acupuncture and eating disorder treatment can achieve profound and positive results. Clients report significant improvements in their physical and mental health, sense of control and social support after several acupuncture and body-mind treatments.

An auricular (ear acupuncture) treatment for PTSD and detox from alcohol and other addictions may also be added to support individuals who are struggling with addiction and trauma recovery. Acupuncture provides a safe and comfortable environment in which the client can relax, heal, and begin to feel their body. It's a healthy and effective treatment alternative for those suffering from eating disorders as well as depression, anxiety, and trauma.