What is Anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa is a common eating disorder that often starts with normal dieting to lose weight, but turns into a form of intentional starvation, causing a person to become dangerously underweight.

What are the Symptoms of Anorexia?

People with anorexia become obsessed with dieting and weight. They develop a fear of becoming fat and have a distorted image of their body, seeing themselves as fat, even when they’re very thin.

Under-eating, vigorous exercise, ritualistic food habits and abuse of laxatives cause excessive loss of weight.

Most anorexic people have no history of being overweight.

What are the Causes of Anorexia?

Anorexia usually starts in the mid-teens, although it can start at a younger or older age. Women are more likely than men to have anorexia – about 90 per cent of those affected are female.

It’s estimated that about three or four people in every 100 have anorexia. Most deny they have a problem and many have depression. It can run in families.

Traditional Medical Treatments for Anorexia

After assessment by a psychiatrist at a specialist eating disorders unit, counselling, antidepressants and advice on healthy eating may be offered.

Admission to hospital is often needed to treat any physical problems that have resulted from under-eating.

Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Anorexia

To lessen anxiety and soothe the nervousness and low spirits that often accompany anorexia nervosa, aromatherapy practitioners suggest any of the following essential oils: bergamot, basil, Roman chamomile, clary sage, lavender, neroli, or ylang-ylang.

Ayurvedic practitioners worry about the lack of nourishment as well as the depression that’s often associated with anorexia. They may recommend cardamom, fennel, and ginger root to help stop vomiting and improve digestion, and advise a bland, soothing diet without spices, coffee, or tea.

To soothe and calm the nervous system, practitioners also may suggest massaging the head and feet with warm sesame oil.

Try herbs that stimulate the appetite, such as ginger root, ginseng, and peppermint. Herbal products are available in health food stores and in some pharmacies and supermarkets. Follow package for specific directions. Remember to consult your doctor before embarking on any new regimen. Anorexia shouldn’t be ignored; the disorder can have serious consequences.

Use constitutional therapy several times weekly: apply alternating applications of hot and cold towels to the front and back of the body focusing on the abdomen and lower back. To stimulate the digestive system, apply cold compresses to stomach for 30 minutes before meals.

Acupuncture can help enhance an anorexia sufferer’s general recovery by promoting feelings of well being and by balancing the body’s chi, or energy levels, which have most likely been impaired by the patient’s habitual self-starvation. The length of treatment will vary, depending upon the needs of the individual and the severity of her condition.

Chinese Herbal Therapy Anorexia wreaks havoc with the digestive system and depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals. Herbs may be used to counteract these imbalances and restore the body to its natural state of being. Some common prepared formulas include Saus. sure a and Amomum Stomach Nurturing Pills and Vitality Combination.

Yoga seeks to enhance emotional control and restore peace of mind. Yoga. poses build chi (vital energy), improve body awareness, and stimulate and tone the digestive and the endocrine systems. Specific yoga poses for eating disorders include Bow, Boat, Pea. cock, Rooster, and Lion. Daily meditation can help you achieve increased emotional control.