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Eastern Technique for Eating Disorders

The mental and physical benefits of Buddhist philosophies such as transcendental meditation (TM) are becoming well documented. Incorporation of an eastern philosophy and practice may provide a solution for women who struggle with binge eating and bulimia. The technique focuses on reducing negative thoughts and emotions, rather than strict attention to diet.

The technique known as ‘mindfulness’ is being taught to Australian women to help them understand and deal with the emotions that trigger their binges.

Unlike many therapies for eating disorders, there is less focus on food and controlling eating and more on providing freedom from negative thoughts and emotions.

Griffith University psychologists Michelle Hanisch and Angela Morgan said women who binged were often high-achievers and perfectionists.

When such women perceived they didn’t measure up to self-imposed standards or were not in control of situations, they indulged in secretive eating binges. A typical late-night binge could involve four litres of icecream and a couple of packets of chocolate biscuits, Ms Hanisch said.

“Many women develop elaborate methods of hiding the evidence of their binges and some feel so guilty afterwards they also induce vomiting, overuse laxatives or exercise excessively to counteract the effects of the binge,” she said.

“Binge eating is largely a distraction – a temporary escape from events and emotions that nevertheless can cause long-term physical problems including electrolyte imbalances. Instead, women need to learn how to react in a different way.”

Mindfulness involves exercises similar to meditation that could help people live more in the moment, develop a healthy acceptance of self and become aware of potentially destructive habitual responses.

“Women who have been through the program report less dissatisfaction with their bodies, increased self-esteem and improved personal relationships,” Ms Morgan said.

“They learn that thoughts and emotions don’t have any power over us as they are just passing phenomena and aren’t permanent.”

Mindfulness has already been shown to be effective as a treatment for anxiety and depression, substance abuse, and the stress associated with physical conditions such as trauma, chronic pain or cancer.

Source: Research Australia

Eastern Technique for Eating Disorders

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Eastern Technique for Eating Disorders. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/01/12/eastern-technique-for-eating-disorders/542.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.