Can eating disorders be treated with Naturopathy?

The naturopath is responsible for guiding patients in finding lifestyle and health solutions. Therefore, he helps to lead a healthier life. When it comes to eating disorders such as bulimia,binge eating oranorexia, it is important to realise that these are real diseases and not just eating habits.

How is an eating disorder defined?

Eating disorders are very diverse and their manifestations are extremely varied. They are characterised by a disturbed eating behaviour and relationship with food. Moreover, they have a negative and potentially serious impact on the person’s health. Eating disorders may start with an obsession with food, weight or body shape. In the most severe cases and if left untreated, eating disorders can have serious health consequences. Indeed, they can even lead to death. People with eating disorders can have a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms are severe restriction of eating, binge eating and purging behaviours such as vomitingor excessive exercise.

Conventional treatments for eating disorders

When an eating disorder is diagnosed by a health professional, the second step is to engage in eating disorder treatment methods. Some of these conventional methods include:

  • psychotherapy
  • behaviour modification
  • nutrition education
  • medication treatments

Often, the management of patients requires the intervention of a multidisciplinary team: doctor, dietician, mental health specialist… The role of the naturopath is of course to collaborate with health professionals.

How can Naturopathy help with eating disorders?

In the end, the naturopath brings a different point of view and different treatment options. This is very important, especially when conventional treatments are not suitable for the person with ADD. In terms of treatment methods for eating disorders, what distinguishes alternative medicine from other approaches is the emphasis on natural healing. Naturopathy is a healthy lifestyle and diet that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. It does this by drawing on the healing powers of nature. Naturopathy is based on six natural factors:

  • Natural and individualised nutrition
  • Serenity
  • Physical exercise in nature
  • The healing power of nature
  • Quality sleep

First, the naturopath tries to find the underlying cause of the patient’s discomfort. Then he restores the health factors by means of natural therapies. In the case of eating disorders, it may be depression or burnout,anxiety, or a past trauma. Most patients have serious problems with digestion, sleep, energy, hormones and so on. Some of these problems can be a serious obstacle to progress in healing. In general, the naturopath provides patients with food supplements or natural remedies. In addition, they use healing techniques such as acupuncture to reduce symptoms. All of this can help pave the way for other treatment options.

What alternative treatments are there for eating disorders?

  • Acupuncture can be used to complement conventional methods of treating EDs. In addition, it can reduce stress and boost the recovery of affected organ systems (respiratory, circulatory systems, etc.)
  • Phytotherapy aims to nourish the patient’s organ systems, which are often severely affected by the damage caused by an eating disorder.
  • Osteopathy is based on the principle that an individual’s well-being depends on the proper functioning of their bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue.
  • Homeopathy can help regulate imbalances that lead to eating disorders. For example, zinc deficiency is a potential factor in the development ofanorexia nervosa.
  • Meditation helps to reduce stress and anxiety that can lead to and perpetuate destructive eating disorder behaviours.

Sources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2600063/

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