At our recent 50hr Food and Mood Yoga Therapy & Meditation Teacher Training we learned about how to apply the yoga therapy model and meditation practices to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and eating disorders.
This ABC Catalyst episode on “Investigating Body Dysmorphia” is very fascinating and unfortunately reveals that BDD is heavily on the rise in Australia, both in men and women. Many of us have bodily shame or areas of our body we dislike, and it’s not as uncommon as you may think.
It is very interesting to note at the end of the Catalyst episode that oxytocin spray, which is administered via the nostrils, may assist with BDD as well as other related mental health conditions such as body image disorders, eating disorders and social anxiety.
“This study is the first to show that oxytocin has neurobiological benefits and can be therapeutic for people with BDD. Study lead Dr Sally Grace, from ACU’s School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, said areas of the brain affected by oxytocin included the amygdala and temporal lobe which control emotional processing of visual information.”
“MRI scans showed that when we administered this hormone as a nasal spray to patients with BDD, we were able to restore their brain function to normal levels using just a single dose.”
What we can start to understand from this research is the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of the disease.
Anorexia, has been psycho-emotionally recognised cross culturally amongst sufferers as a “hurting heart”.
In Biyome’s meditation teacher training and yoga teacher training, we work to scientifically and experientially understand the heart-brain connection and can achieve this spike in oxytocin naturally by practicing self compassion meditation. We also know that placing a hand to the heart whilst practicing the art of self compassion can increase oxytocin further. Eye contact meditation practiced eye to eye with a safe other really helps increase serotonin and oxytocin as well.
You may also naturally boost your oxytocin by receiving a long hug from a loved one. Hugging meditation is a lovely way to connect with children and partners and those we care for on a daily basis. Clearly, it’s a daily heart to heart connection that we all need for our psychological health and well-being.