The search for eating disorder complementary treatments aim to supplement and enhance the results of common therapeutic solutions, such as cognitive behavioural therapies and medication.
Eating disorders are complex issues with many potential treatment routes. The methods chosen to address an eating disorder will depend on numerous factors, including the patient’s current situation and the specific issue they’re experiencing with food. A person’s current state of mind and how committed they are to pursuing recovery are also important.
In most cases, a combination of treatments is the most effective solution, as it allows tprofessionals to tackle concerns from a range of angles at once. Doctors may suggest medication, group or one-on-one counselling, and supplemental solutions, like medicinal mushrooms.
Exploring Complementary Treatment Options
Eating disorder complementary treatments build on top of the existing therapeutic method suggested by a healthcare provider, often assisting with issues like appetite and relaxation strategies to address anxieties about food. Common options include:
- Body awareness therapies: A practice designed to focus on quality movement awareness. People with bulimia, anorexia, and unspecified eating disorders generally have lower body and self-awareness.
- Exercise and yoga: Yoga can help to reduce stress levels and improve thinking processes. One study found significant improvement in feelings of wellbeing and positivity following a short program of yoga. Exercise can also assist with improving confidence and building appetite.
- Acupuncture: A traditional Chinese medicine approach to holistic eating disorder treatments, acupuncture focuses on alleviating various issues associated with eating disorders, such as symptoms of depression and physical discomfort.
- Relaxation therapy: Relaxation tools like massage therapy can assist with increasing levels of dopamine and serotonin, while reducing levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. One study found women with anorexia receiving massage therapy experienced reductions in body dissatisfaction and lower stress hormones.
Specific treatment strategies often differ according to the needs of the patient and any other conditions they may have. Some patients may also need assistance from a nutritionist to help them gradually increase the amount they eat over time.
Nutrition and Supplemental Treatments
Recovering from an eating disorder isn’t just an emotional and psychological journey. Physical recovery can also be a time-consuming process, requiring significant time and patience. Reintroducing certain nutrients and foods too quickly can cause additional problems and discomfort. Eating disorder complementary treatments can assist with rebuilding the body’s digestive system and improving physical performance too.
Access to nutritional supplements is often extremely helpful for people with eating disorders. Most common supplemental treatments suggested for those with eating disorders start with zinc and potassium, which help to improve the performance of the body and strengthen the performance of the stomach and digestive system.
Delivering the right levels of nutrients can be complex using traditional solutions, but studies are rapidly evolving to demonstrate the benefits of medicinal mushrooms in providing users with both nutritional benefits, and tools for recovering more rapidly from eating disorders.
The medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum, or Reishi can improve the performance of the immune system, which is often compromised in people recovering from eating disorders, due to problems with the gut microbiota, and the lack of access to beneficial bacteria. The Reishi mushroom can fight against infections and immune inflammation, allowing people to recover quickly from the physical side effects of eating disorders.
Reishi mushrooms are also rich in a host of nutrients and vitamins which support the overall functioning of the body. Reishi has access to all the essential aminoacids, vitamins and minerals, and offers an easy way to access nutrients for people with problems eating balanced meals.
Reishi and Treatment for Depression
Reishi also has an impact on the mental health of patients recovering from eating disorders. Many people suffering from anorexia and similar eating disorders suffer from anxiety and depression too. This depression can make it extremely difficult to find the mental willpower to recover from an eating issue. Fortunately, the bioactive compounds in Reishi could be ideal for improving mood.
Studies have found that Reishi is suitable for helping not just with aches, pains and dizziness – all common physical symptoms of an eating disorder recovery, but irritability and anxiety too. Further research in a group of breast cancer survivors also found that taking Reishi supplementation improved quality of life for the participants, while reducing feelings of depression.
Combined with a high antioxidant status, capable of reducing damage to the body’s cells, and potential benefits for heart health, among others, Reishi’s impact on mental health could significantly improve the likelihood of a successful recovery from various eating disorders.
Used alongside other eating disorder complementary treatments, or as an addition to tools like therapy and medication, Reishi could be a powerful tool in helping those with eating disorders to rebuild their internal ecosystem with essential vitamins and minerals, while fighting back against issues of poor immunity, discomfort, and depression.