Four Kinds of Alternative Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa

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According to a study performed by the National Eating Disorder Association, 1.0 percent of young women and 0.1 percent of young men meet the criteria for receiving a diagnosis of bulimia nervosa and may require bulimia nervosa recovery programs. Although medical treatments are often required, and traditional talk therapy will always have its place, many eating disorder treatment centers are employing alternative forms of therapy as a standard part of their recovery programs. Here, we’ll outline four of the most common forms of alternative therapy being used for bulimia nervosa treatment at advanced centers across the country.

Yoga Therapy 

Originating in India, but now spread worldwide, yoga is a low-impact physical exercise and meditation technique, involving slow, controlled stretching and balancing, focused breathing, and an intense, mindful concentration on the body’s movements. This makes yoga as part of a bulimia nervosa treatment plan a highly useful tool. Bulimia nervosa treatment centers more often than not include yoga as part of a mindfulness program. The concentration on the body and living in the moment helps counteract urges for excessive exercise and helps avoid disordered thoughts. 

In a study of how yoga affected women, the respondents reported positive changes with: 

  • having a positive body image 
  • making better dietary choices 
  • having a positive sense of well-being 

These positive changes are key in the recovery path from bulimia nervosa, which includes binge eating episodes and purges usually driven by a poor body image and desire to lose weight. Therefore, yoga could be a powerful tool to help people overcome some of their struggles during treatment. 

Mindful Meditation Therapy 

Similar to yoga, but focusing more on achieving perfect stillness and without the stretching, mindful meditation sessions allow participants to live in the moment without worrying about the future or getting hung up on the past. Meditation as part of bulimia nervosa therapy is beneficial because individuals often struggle with overcoming feelings of anxiety and stress that can trigger their eating disorder behaviors. 

Massage Therapy 

There’s a reason that massage therapy is often covered by insurance even at medical hospitals; it helps to relax the various parts of the musculoskeletal system, improves blood flow, and rejuvenates the recipient. In a similar vein, massage therapy can also be beneficial for the mind, so it can provide useful benefits during psychotherapy received at a bulimia nervosa treatment center. Massage can be a great complement to traditional bulimia nervosa treatment methods because it induces a calmer state, helps to override anxious thoughts, and encourages a greater sense of self-awareness. Massage therapy can do things like lower stress hormones and increase dopamine levels, which can help an individual feel better on an emotional level and focus on getting well.

Body Awareness Therapy 

Bulimia nervosa, like other eating disorders, is partially caused by a distorted body image in which the individual feels he or she is fat or otherwise flawed, even when this is medically untrue. Body awareness therapy is designed with a focus on objectively assessing the body. Studies Of various body awareness therapy methods show that body awareness therapy works hand-in-hand with meditation and yoga techniques to provide a sense of rational self-awareness. Negative portrayals of the self-image in the mind can be identified logically and then discounted, so through body awareness therapy, individuals are better capable of seeing their own bodies clearly.

In general, a comprehensive bulimia nervosa therapy plan should include many different bulimia treatment options and methods, and the best treatment centers work to incorporate many alternative and traditional treatments in their plans. If you would like to know more about treatment methodologies somewhat outside the beaten path, reach out to your local eating disorder treatment center today.