Yoga and mindfulness can benefit young people with eating disorders, clinical psychologist says
Senior clinical psychologist Sam Bottrill said yoga and mindfulness can help young people recovering from eating disorders.
Yoga and mindfulness can help body awareness and boost self-acceptance in young people with eating disorders, a senior clinical psychologist said.
Sam Bottrill works at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s child and adolescent eating disorder service, where her role includes teaching yoga and mindfulness techniques.
Based on ancient Eastern methods of meditation, mindfulness encourages people to pay more attention to the present moment and reconnect with their bodies and sensations they experience.
Dr Bottrill said while there were limited studies on the use of yoga and mindfulness to treat and prevent eating disorders, those conducted have shown positive results.
‘There is research that people who go on to develop eating disorders have low body awareness,' she told the Responding to Eating Disorders in Children and Young People conference in London on 3 September .
‘Having to push away feelings of hunger can mean you get distanced from your body.’
Reconnecting through meditation
She added that meditation and stretching can help young people reconnect with their bodies, and that yoga and mindfulness also place an emphasis on self-acceptance which can be beneficial.
They can provide a community for people recovering from eating disorders and an alternative set of values, she said.
She added: ‘Young people can think “what is the meaning of life, how am I going to be in this world?”
‘Eating disorders can offer answers. You don’t need to use yoga and meditation in this way, but they can offer a different set of values along which to live your life.’