Clinical Hypnosis and Acupuncture for Eating DisordersPreviously blogged was Clinical Nutrition for Kids which proved to be an excellent tool in preventing future, negative eating habits. However, eating habits left untreated can result in eating behavior such as pecking, gorging, eating many small meals or skipping meals which, in some individuals, any of these can be a sign of an eating disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes eating disorders as:

“…an illness that causes serious disturbances to your everyday diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating…Severe distress or concern about body weight or shape may also characterize an eating disorder…Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.”

Although the cause of eating disorders varies, the results can significantly affect one’s overall health. The Institute of Clinical Hypnosis describes some possible causes and symptoms of the disorders bulimia and anorexia.

  • A struggle toward self-respecting identity
  • Defensive biologically-regressed attitude in dealing with puberty related challenges
  • The struggle to attain a perfect stereotyped female image of beauty, helplessness, and dependence’
  • Extreme weight change, nutritional deficiencies, organ failure and peripheral results such as blood pressure fluctuation, high cholesterol, digestive difficulties or heart disease.

Psychoanalysis and various medications could be prescribed through a conventional medical approach. However, in some cases, an alternative application using clinical hypnosis and acupuncture could prove more beneficial in the long run. Some even believe that clinical hypnosis alone has the ability to catapult a patient many years ahead of what would have otherwise been used as ‘talking therapy’.

Reprogramming Through Clinical Hypnosis
In her work, ‘Hypnotherapy in the treatment of anorexia tardive’ (tardive is delayed onset nervosa) and published in the Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (1995), psychologist Elizabeth Georgiou describes using clinical hypnosis for anorexia:

“Hypnosis was used throughout all phases of treatment and the client was highly hypnotizable and very responsive to hypnosis. Methods used included education; behavioral techniques; direct and indirect hetero- and self hypnosis for relaxation, stress reduction, ego-enhancement and desensitization of anxiety towards food and weight; and cognitive restructuring techniques.”

Through clinical hypnosis the above mentioned methods (and others) can be attempted. If successful, the potential for healing increases exponentially. The last method mentioned, ‘cognitive restructuring techniques’ includes CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). CBT, through clinical hypnosis, offers the patient the opportunity to reprogram themselves to release past stress, especially from childhood. Clinical hypnosis is used to reverse specific feelings that could otherwise lead to behavioral change such as these three common ones which often accompany an eating disorder:

  • “I should be thinner.”
  • “I should have known better.”
  • “I am a failure.”

Eating disorders do not even have to be this severe as many people, especially women, eat when under extreme, or in some cases, minor stress. This manifests as overeating leading to bloating, illness, weight gain and more. Through clinical hypnosis, deep relaxation should occur and if approached with little or no skepticism, a patient has the opportunity for a cerebral exploration that could uncover the specific root cause(s) leading to the disorder. Combined with acupuncture, the results have the potential to be life changing as the disorder could be alleviated or dissipated altogether.

Balancing Disorder with the Harmony of Acupuncture
As clinical hypnosis treats a patient’s eating disorder, consecutively, a capable naturopathic doctor licensed in acupuncture can open up the proper channels to enhance potentially stuck energy. Researchers at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia conducted a study entitled ‘Acupuncture as an adjunct therapy in the treatment of eating disorders: a randomized cross-over pilot study.’ This study found that, “There was evidence that acupuncture improved the participants’ Quality of Life as measured by the physical/cognitive and psychological components of the Eating Disorder Quality of Life scale. There was also evidence of decreases in anxiety (both State and Trait as measured by the State Trait Anxiety Intervention) and perfectionism (as measured by the Eating Disorder Inventory-3).”

Points that may be targeted in this very sensitive affliction will vary per person according to specific markers, triggers and overall health history. However the following are some general locations that one may experience during an acupuncture session:

  • Spleen (SP1) – This point is located on the medial (inside) big toe just below the nail. It is called Yinbai in Chinese which is translated as Hidden White. It is used to decrease stress and worry, two common associations with eating disorders.
  • Conception Vessel (CV14) – Known as Ju Que, Great Tower Gate, CV14 sits about six fingers above the umbilicus (belly button) just below the sternum. It is described as being able to assist heart or shen issues having to do with excess or deficiency. In Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM), shen is described as the spirit of consciousness. People with weak shen can often struggle with mental challenges which include addictions and disorders. CV14 also addresses nausea, vomiting, reflux and more which can accompany bulimia nervosa patients.
  • Stomach (ST4) – Treatment for anorexia will most likely include this point which has been found to assist the appetite when challenged by an inability to eat. Earth Granary is its English name (DiCang is its Chinese name) with granary meaning ‘a storehouse for grain’. It is located directly below the pupil near the corner of the mouth.

Acupuncture Assists Leptin Production
An interesting study by the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Aachen University in Germany found a correlation of low levels of leptin in anorexia patients. Leptin is a hormone that assists in regulating metabolism. Taking this information, researchers at Nanjing University in China discovered an increase in leptin production when working the hand points known as sifeng. These points are located palm side of the four fingers on the second joint crease of each finger. This is another positive sign of the high healing capability of acupuncture for eating disorders.

The combination of clinical hypnosis and acupuncture are shown to offer many of those suffering with an eating disorder an alternative hope. It is an approach that the body can embrace by utilizing its own curative capability beyond any outside synthetic attempts. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or click here to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

One Response to “Clinical Hypnosis and Acupuncture for Eating Disorders”

  1. There is certainly a great deal to learn about this issue.
    I really like all of the points you have made.

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