The Benefits of Acupuncture Treatment for Anorexia

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the ancient healing tradition, which incorporates herbal medicine and massage amongst other treatments. This alternative therapy may complement more traditional treatments of anorexia nervosa. Acupuncture can help alleviate the emotional and physical discomforts experienced by anorexics.

Given the psychological nature of anorexia, acupuncture can also help ease distressed moods and calm agitation which often accompanies this disorder. We should therefore explore further the possibilities and benefits of acupuncture treatment for anorexia.

What Happens During an Acupuncture Session?

During your first acupuncture appointment, you can expect to answer a questionnaire regarding your general health and well-being. The acupuncturist will gather information regarding your habits, any other health problems that you might have, and medications that you are currently using. They may also ask you about the different types of treatment that you are currently seeking. This will allow the acupuncturist to have a more complete picture of your health history thus enabling them to treat your anorexia more effectively.

Subsequent sessions will involve the insertion of specially designed microscopic needles into predetermined locations in your skin. Depending on what your symptoms are, the insertion of the needles into these points will help release the flow of energy or Qi in the body. During these sessions, many patients report a feeling of mental and physical relaxation.

After your acupuncture treatment session, your practitioner may also advise you to drink water and rest. You may be asked to use a series of herbal medicines to resolve the energy issues that are often found in anorexic individuals.

Benefits of Acupuncture Treatment for Anorexia

  • Often individuals who suffer from anorexia will have deficiencies of the heart and spleen. These deficiencies can be identified by an acupuncturist and treated by the insertion of needles into the heart meridian and the spleen meridian which is found in your hand and foot.
  • Symptoms suffered by anorexics such as dizziness, insomnia and other conditions which are caused by the inflammation of the liver can be alleviated by the insertion of needles in the gallbladder and liver meridians which are also found in the hand and foot.
  • Other symptoms of anorexia such as rapid heartbeat and general restlessness, believed to be caused by the stagnation of energy in the heart and stomach, can be treated by inserting the needle into the heart and stomach meridians, which are found in the hands.
  • Anorexic sufferers may also seek out acupuncture to treat their feelings of irritability. This condition is symptomatic of Qi or energy stagnation in the liver. Your acupuncturist can address this problem by inserting needles into the liver and heart meridians found in our foot and hand. This treatment has been found to calm down people with anorexia.


  1. Acupuncture for Anorexia Nervosa
  2. Eating Disorders and Acupuncture