Creating an Opportunity to Reflect: Ear Acupuncture in Anorexia Nervosa – Inpatients' Experiences

Siiri Hedlund, Kajsa Landgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


The aim of this study was to elucidate the meaning of receiving acupuncture as a complement in the treatment of anorexia nervosa at a specialist unit. Nine inpatients were interviewed, one to three times. The sixteen interviews were analysed with a phenomenological hermeneutic method. The main theme found was “Creating a pause, a framework for rest and reflection.” The participants described acupuncture to be an attractive part of the treatment, offering a pause in a very stressful situation. The relaxing effect was palpable. They described unusual calmness and a meditative state allowing them to think clearly and to reflect, and also positive physical sensations like getting warm. Anxiety decreased and gaining weight became easier to endure. Participants appreciated acupuncture as an optional treatment that they could influence. The given frame for reflection allowed processing emotions, releasing control and seeing themselves as capable to relax. Where symptoms are intense and pharmacological treatments have modest effect, like in anorexia nervosa, adjunctive therapies that help manage symptoms deserve greater attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-556
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number7
Early online date2017 Apr 10
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Applied Psychology
  • Nursing


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