3 Ways Yoga Can Help Relieve Eating Disorders

A study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, reports yoga therapy can help relieve eating disorder symptoms in teens.

Researchers from Seattle Children’s Hospital Department of Adolescent Medicine administered either standard care or standard care with yoga therapy to 50 girls and four boys (aged 11 to 21 years old) with eating disorders for eight weeks. The diagnosed eating disorders included anorexia, bulimia disorder and other unspecified eating disorders.

The yoga group participated in semi-weekly one-hour yoga practice for eight weeks. The instructors were certified in Viniyoga by Yoga Alliance. The standard care group was offered yoga after the study was completed to encourage participation in the program.

Eating Disorder Examination (EDE), Beck Depression Inventory, State-trait Anxiety Inventory and Food Preoccupation questionnaire responses were obtained from the participants, BMI (Body Mass Index), hip and waist measurements were also obtained.

The researchers found that the yoga group had greater decreases in eating disorder symptoms than the standard care group. The yoga group had reduced EDE scores and Food Preoccupation responses. Findings also revealed no BMI changes and decreased anxiety and depression in both groups.

“Results suggest that individualized yoga therapy holds promise as adjunctive therapy to standard care,” the study authors conclude.

Yoga Help for Binge Eaters

A study, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, found yoga can help reduce binge eating episodes.

Australian researchers administered either a 12-week yoga program or no yoga (wait-list control group) to 90 women (ages 25-63 years) with binge eating disorder (BED) and a body mass index (BMI) over 25. People with a BMI of 25 or greater are considered overweight.

Binge Eating Scale (BES) and International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) responses were obtained from the participants, BMI, hips and waist measurements were also obtained.

The researchers found that the yoga group reported reduced binge eating episodes and increased physical activity. The yoga group also had significant reductions in BMI, hips and waist measurements. However, the wait list control group didn’t report any improvements.

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

Elaine Gavalas is co-founder of Simply Centered and an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, yoga therapist, weight management specialist, and healthy recipe developer. For more information, visit here webpage: ElaineGavalas.com

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