Treating Eating Disorders

By: National Women's Health Resource Center

Alternative Approaches to Eating Disorder Treatment

Hypnosis is employed by some therapists but may be resisted by many anorexics who fear even a semblance of control by others. Some success is claimed by those teaching self-hypnosis and biofeedback techniques during three to six months of hospitalization. Hypnosis induces a deeply relaxed state of mind allowing you to become extremely focused. With hypnosis, you are far more open to suggestion — at least to suggestions compatible with what you desire. It is a form of intense receptive concentration. Accordingly, hypnosis often is used to modify behavior and overcome phobias and bad habits — it can help you make changes that you've been unable to make otherwise.

A therapist trained in hypnosis typically performs the technique initially, and can teach you to do it yourself. Biofeedback is a technique that teaches you how to control physical responses, such as breathing, muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure, that are not normally controlled voluntarily. This control is achieved by learning how to focus on and modify signals from your body.


Dance/movement therapy or "DMT" is founded on the principle that a vital connection exists between personality and the way in which one moves, and that changes in movement behavior affect the emotional, intellectual and physical health of the individual. It may be effective as a technique to help those with eating and body image problems. It is practiced by trained dance/movement therapists who have earned a minimum of a master's degree and have met additional requirements established by the American Dance Therapy Association (

Copyright 2003 National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc. (NWHRC)