Fighting Eating Disorders With Chinese Medicine

Written by on November 10, 2006 in Features, Health

Nearly 1 million men and women in the United States suffer from eating disorders, according to The National Institute of Mental Health. The two most common types of eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia is characterized by drastic weight loss to the point of extreme underweight. Victims will harvest a great fear of gaining weight, and an extreme inability to accept one’s own appearance. Those suffering from bulimia are characterized by binge-eating behavior, accompanied by recurrent compensatory behavior to prevent weight gain.

Prevalent in most eating disorder cases, depression and anxiety may be treated by acupuncture. In a study performed by Guo Ke Ren, 30 cases of anorexia were treated with acupuncture to specific meridians for 30 minutes; after treatments, 25 cases were resolved and 5 responded with improvement, with an effectiveness rate of 100%.. A Chinese study has also found positive results in integrating TCM into treatments for depression. Subjects have reported “significant improvements in their physical health, mental health, sense of control and social support,” after several acupuncture and body-mind treatments.

Those suffering from eating disorders typically have much lower levels of total energy, vitamins, and essential nutrients required for healthy living. In an American study, “dietary intake of calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid of anorexics were significantly lower than in normal subjects.” Supplementation of some of these vitamins and minerals may help reduce the symptoms of eating disorders and help promote a healthy lifestyle in victims of anorexia and bulimia.

  • Rhodiola has been used in folk medicine for centuries to increase the body’s natural resistance to stressors. It enhances the transport of serotonin (a feel-good chemical that promotes wellbeing in the body) to the brain, reducing depression and anxiety.
  • St. John’s Wort is a popular herbal remedy for depression, a well-published side-effect of eating disorders.
  • Kava has been used in the South Pacific and Europe as an effective for mild anxiety, muscular tension, and insomnia.
  • Eluthero ginseng is used to increase stamina and endurance, protecting the body’s systems from stress-induced illness.

Traditional Chinese Medicine can provide those with anorexia and bulimia alternative therapies to popular Western prescriptions that not only aid in recovery, but help strengthen overall vitality and health in the body and mind.


For more information contact Pacific College at (800) 729-0941 or visit

About Tony Cecala

Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind.

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About the Author

About the Author: Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind. .


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