Physiotherapy or body-oriented therapy is often overlooked as an adjunctive treatment for patients with eating disorders (ED). However, the integration of physiotherapy is based on the physiotherapists’ experience in both the body and the body in movement, two important issues integral to eating disorder pathology. From our clinical experience, physiotherapeutic techniques represent a potent clinical addition to available treatments. Patients with eating disorders have an intense fear of gaining weight and present a negative body experience. Excessive exercise and drive for activity or hyperactivity are considered to be a secondary symptom and are characterized by a voluntary increase in physical activity, a compulsive urge to move and by the dissociation of fatigue. Both characteristics are the two cornerstones for physiotherapy in children, adolescents, and adults in an inpatient or outpatient treatment. More concrete, the objectives for physiotherapy are (1) rebuilding of a realistic self-concept, (2) curbing hyperactivity, and (3) developing social skills. Physiotherapists have a wide array of skills that can be applied successfully in the treatment of anorexia nervosa (AN). The goal of this chapter is to present practical guidelines for physiotherapeutic management in eating disorder, more specific about mirror exercises, film images, and some additional individual or group exercises, recommendations based on more than 35 years of clinical experience.
Part of the book: Eating Disorders