There are many kinds of meditation techniques available these days. How to choose which one is the best for a person with an eating disorder? Are any methods better than the others?

Meditation is a practice of focusing your attention for some time on specific emotional states, mantras (non-religious), breath, intentions, specific focal points, visualization, thoughts, or simply being aware of what is happening in the present moment.

But please don’t think because we used the word meditation that you have to become a Zen monk or some kind of guru who sits on top of a mountain in India some place.
We are also not talking about some weird religious cult or anything like that. We are talking about scientific techniques proven by modern day science. In fact we like to use the term Mindful Awareness as this is one of the secrets to beating an eating disorder.

To choose the right meditation technique (Mindful Awareness) for an eating disorder sufferer let’s look at what kind of meditation are the most common nowadays.

1. Body-Centered meditation. This includes yoga, tai chi, pranayama, and gigong. All of them use gentle movement, deep breathing, stretching and being present in your own body.

2. Heart-Centered meditation. This includes Buddhist loving-kindness meditation and Christian prayer. These practices require a focused attention through repetition of phrases that reinforce loving intention and devotion.

3. Mind-Centered meditation. This includes Buddhist Insight meditation, Hindu focus on the “Third eye” and other meditations. These are mantra-based meditations and can be learned only from an authorized master who gives a unique mantra for every student.

4. Spirit-Centered meditation. This includes communion with God, Source, or Spiritual meditation. One example of this is “Centering Prayer” a technique in which your intention goes beyond the relaxation or health benefit. In this meditation you have surrender to God that is the Source of your Being.

Each meditation system has certain benefits and people with eating disorders can practice any of them if it is what they believe in. But has previously stated, we recommend a kind of meditation called Mindful Awareness.

People with eating disorders need a special focus on resolving their issues like stopping urges to binge, purge or starve while meditating. This is important for them because until they learn to ignore, re-label, re-value, and re-focus their thoughts about food, weight and body image issues, they wouldn’t be able focus on anything else. That makes all the above meditation techniques except Mindful Awareness difficult for them.

First if they learn to concentrate by focusing on how to cope with their abnormal food and weight urges that this is much more helpful to them. This special meditation can be done in an upright seated position either in a chair or cross-legged on a blanket on the floor, even lying down. The spine is straight yet relaxed. Eyes can be closed to better access a relaxed state. Then by listening to specific guidance (on a CD, iPod etc) telling them how to deal with their urges (binging, purging, starving, etc) they can reach their subconscious mine where the ED lives.

By listening and following the instruction while in meditative (Mindful Awareness) state they can benefit and over time learn to control the ED voices that keep them locked into their eating disorder.

The benefits from doing this special meditation are:
1) Reduction of stress and anxiety,
2) Decrease of urges to overeat and purge,
3) Improvement of food toleration in anorexics,
4) Improved confidence, calming the mind, clarity of thinking,
5) Improvement in motivations, understanding of happiness and indentifying their purpose in life.

To get significant and life-changing benefits from this kind of meditation people should start with as little as 5-20 minutes a day practiced consistently over time.
Generally speaking, mediation (Mindful Awareness) can help enormously to improve mental, physical and spiritual health of people suffering with eating disorders. To read more about mindfulness training for eating disorders go to

Author's Bio: 

Dr Irina Webster MD is a Director of Women Health Issues Program. She is an author of many books and public speaker.To read more about mindfulness training for eating disorders go to