Residential Rumination Syndrome Treatment in Beautiful Malaysia

Rumination Syndrome

Rumination Syndrome is an Eating Disorder that is usually seen in children and adolescents. It is a condition where children and young people unintentionally vomit or regurgitate food after eating. Rumination Syndrome is less common than other Eating Disorders but is equally distressing for young people and families. 

Children diagnosed with Rumination Syndrome will usually not digest their food fully. The food which has not been digested is regurgitated, often within minutes of eating, and spat out, re-chewed, or re-swallowed. As the food has not yet been digested, it usually doesn’t differentiate and doesn’t have the acidic taste or sensation of fully digested food. Rumination Syndrome is closely linked to high levels of anxiety in children and adolescents and can persist into adulthood. Children usually do not become distressed by the event itself, they are more often upset due to anxiety prior to the event.

We understand the challenges that come with rumination disorder, but we also know that recovery is possible. With our comprehensive and compassionate approach to treatment, we are confident in our ability to help you overcome this disorder and move towards a healthier, happier life.

We are here to help

The Wave Eating Disorder Admissions Team can be contacted on:

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Wave Clinic: Specialists in Teen Eating Disorders
+60 327 271 799 (General Enquiries)
+60 125 227 734 (Admissions)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Wave International Group LLC
+971 438 354 01

What Is It and How Does It Work?

Treatment for Rumination Syndrome

Young people with Rumination Syndrome can achieve full recovery with the help of an effective treatment program and a supportive, empathetic atmosphere.

At The Wave, our rumination syndrome recovery program is designed to cater to each individual’s unique circumstances, recognising that every young person will experience an eating disorder differently. At The Wave, young people are supported by a team of professionals with specialised training in the management of eating disorders. 

 We use a range of treatment methods, including:

  • DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)
  • CBTe (Cognitive behavioural therapy)
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing)
  • Eating Disorder Dietician-led sessions
  • Group therapy dedicated to food and body challenges
  • Creative arts therapy
  • Dance and movement therapy
  • Psychodrama
  • Supported skills-building sessions

Diaphragmatic breathing and psychotherapy, with or without medication, are helpful in the treatment of Adolescent and Childhood Rumination Syndrome.

Anxiety is very often linked to Rumination Syndrome, and early intervention is important. Rumination Syndrome and the anxiety that is presented is unlikely to go away on its own. Up to 70% of young people diagnosed with anxiety disorders are also diagnosed with depression, which increases the risk of death by suicide by twentyfold. Mental health concerns in children should always be taken seriously, and specialist advice taken at the first opportunity.

Signs and Symptoms of Rumination Syndrome in Teens

Signs and symptoms of Rumination Syndrome may include:

  • Regurgitation of food, usually within minutes or whilst at the table 
  • Abdominal Pain 
  • Feeling over full 
  • Bad breath 
  • Feeling sick or nausea
  • Weight loss 
  • Vomiting without retching
  • Avoiding eating with family and friends 
  • Malnutrition 
  • Crossing percentiles on weight graphs 
  • Hunger 
  • Irritability and anger at mealtimes 
  • Unusual posture with the head tilted backwards and cat-like position at mealtimes 

It is important to note that not all young people with Rumination Syndrome will exhibit all of these symptoms, and some may experience different or additional symptoms. 

Diagnosing Rumination Syndrome

Symptoms of Rumination Syndrome can vary between each person, and it can often be misdiagnosed. Accurate diagnosis usually requires analysis of a young person’s detailed symptom history.

Rumination Syndrome may occur alongside intellectual developmental disorders and children, and young people should be assessed by an eating disorder specialist clinical team. 

Physical complications should also be assessed and ruled out by gastroenterologists. 

To be diagnosed with Rumination Syndrome, the symptoms must not be better explained by Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, BED or ARFID. 

Rumination Syndrome therapies and treatment options

“I came to The Wave about 2 ½ years ago, and I can’t speak highly enough about their service, support, and love I received (and still do) from the team. They have helped me build stable foundations for a life that now feels worth living. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their amazing help, and I am lucky enough to call them my family.”

Hope, Healing, and Balance

Our Specialised Programs for Teens

We provide expert care for young people classified as high-risk, extremely high-risk, and moderate to mildly severe risk. We tailor our approach to each individual to ensure that they’re getting the precise level of care they need.

The Wave Indigo Program specialises in the treatment of young people classified as high-risk or extremely high-risk. Our team of medical specialists is able to provide dedicated care for young people with increased needs. The facility is complete with ECG machines and labs for around-the-clock monitoring. The Wave Indigo Program has four Intensive Care Beds beautifully appointed for young people with the highest level of needs. Teens and young adults may require chair or bed rest with one-to-one care to assist with medical stabilisation.

The Wave Fuchsia Program provides complete care for young people with a BMI of 16-16.99 who do not otherwise meet the criteria for admission to Indigo Program (this includes recent risk of self harm & recent thoughts of suicide).

The Violet Program is for teens with a BMI of 16.99 -17.5, who do not otherwise meet the criteria for admission to a higher level of care.

Rumination Syndrome therapies and treatment options

Recovering from Rumination Syndrome

During a young person’s stay with us, they’ll experience a range of therapies and treatment options. Some of our most popular include:

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is an effective evidence-based treatment for eating disorders. It helps young people to manage overwhelming emotions that often result in issues with food. 

Rumination Syndrome can cause a great deal of stress, young people might experience emotional issues as well as anxiety and depression, sometimes missing school and social gatherings and becoming isolated. IPT can help young people focus on exploring emotions rather than suppressing them and better understand themselves.

IPT forms part of the specialist eating disorder treatment program for teenagers and young adults at The Wave and is delivered by Therapists trained in IPT for eating disorders. The Wave Eating Disorder programs utilise a variety of evidence-based treatment models, psychiatric care, and exemplary medical interventions when needed to deliver Intensive Care, Primary Care, and Secondary Care treatment for eating disorders for young people aged 13 and over.

One-to-One Therapy

During one-to-one therapy, each young person meets regularly with a dedicated therapist. These sessions offer a safe space for them to open up, share any worries and concerns, and look at the root of their condition. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is thought to be particularly useful in treating Rumination Syndrome. CBT for Rumination Syndrome includes instruction in diaphragmatic breathing, which can lower stress levels, and clear a pathway for thoughts and is often used in meditation, grounding, and relaxation practices.

Group Therapy

At The Wave, we place a strong emphasis on team spirit and building relationships. After all, having a strong support network helps many people when the time comes for them to transition back into normal life. That’s why so many of our activities and therapies are focused on cultivating relationships.

Although many young people find it a little daunting to open up, group therapy is a great way to learn from others on a similar journey. Our young adults also find that group therapy enables them to form long-lasting friendships with other people. In addition, hearing from others who’ve battled an eating disorder shows our young adults that they’re not alone and gives them the chance to hear how others cope with the condition. There’s also a greater sense of accountability, as everyone will have each other’s backs.

Eating Disorder-Informed Yoga

Eating disorder-informed yoga is gentle and non-aerobic, making it ideal for those with Rumination Syndrome who may have experienced malnutrition.

Eating disorder-informed yoga offers a gentle workout focused on the mental rather than the physical. During sessions, young people are guided through different movements, each designed to help them develop emotional awareness and trust in their bodies. It’s all about developing healthy habits that give young people ownership over their bodies.

Alternative Therapies

From dance and art therapy to reiki and mindfulness, we offer a range of alternative therapies to enhance wellness and promote healing from the inside out. Being exposed to natural healing treatments can relieve stress, helping many people better cope with negative emotions and those moments when they feel like slipping back into old habits.

Creative therapies like art, dance, and drama offers the chance to express emotions and let go of negative associations with food. These therapies also help many develop new skills and hobbies that they can use once they’ve left our clinic – ideal for channelling their energy into something creative.

Gardening Groups

Known as horticultural therapy, our gardening group programmes offer our young people the chance to garden and look after their own bed of flowers and plants. This ownership gives them responsibility for something, empowering them to look after the seeds they’ve sown. Not only does this show them the power of care and compassion, but these skills can also be directly translated into how they look after themselves.

Flowers take time to grow, but they flourish with the right care and support, just like young people in recovery will. We also offer young people the opportunity to plant fruits and vegetables, enabling them to be involved with food from the moment it’s planted.

Cookery School

At The Wave, we believe in recovery through action. That’s why we get all our young people involved in activities and programmes that promote healthy eating, helping them develop a better relationship with food. One of these ‘living’ recovery activities is our cooking school. Here, we encourage young people to prep, cook, and learn new recipes that they can take with them into their future.

Being around food and learning how to nourish the body through cooking gently helps young people form healthy associations with eating, making it a fun experience rather than a scary one. It also equips them with the basic culinary skills they need in the future if they decide to move away from home or travel abroad.

Nutritional Programmes

During a young person’s stay at The Wave, they have a personalised nutritional programme tailored to their specific needs. This ensures that those in recovery from an eating disorder get all the vitamins and minerals they need to stay strong and recover. Rumination Syndrome can cause certain deficiencies due to food not being properly digested. 

At The Wave, we also offer a wide range of education on nutrition, food groups, and how nutrition affects the body. Over time, young people in our care slowly learn to develop healthy and regular eating patterns and meal planning. We take everything at our young adult’s pace, helping them adjust to the changes smoothly.

Family Therapy

Rumination Syndrome can take a toll on the whole family, and it can sometimes be difficult for loved ones to truly understand what a young person is going through and why. Our family therapy sessions are a safe space for everyone to open up, voice their feelings and concerns, and better understand one another.

Hope, Healing, and Balance

Resource for Parents - Diaphragmatic breathing

Breathing exercises can help with a variety of health related conditions. Physical and mental health can benefit from harnessing the power of breathing and breathing more productively. 

Diaphragmatic breathing can lower stress levels, slow down a racing body, clear a pathway for thoughts and is often used in meditation and relaxation exercises. The benefits of diaphragmatic breathing can extend throughout the body and mind. 

Diaphragmatic breathing is easy to learn and is a tool that parents and young people can practise together and co-regulate, connect and bring clarity into the day. 

If you or young people have been diagnosed with any lung problems or have had lung problems in the past, please consult your Doctor before trying the following exercises. The exercises do not replace medical advice and should be used in conjunction with a great mental health treatment plan. 

Take a seat, lie on the bed or lie down in a safe space on the floor 

Get comfortable, pop on some extra socks and maybe have a blanket nearby. 

You can add some beautiful smells or essential oils into room

  • Sit or lie down on a flat surface. Get comfy
  • Relax your shoulders and drop them as far from your ears as you can 
  • Put one hand on your chest 
  • And the other on your tummy (take time to notice if this feels triggering for you or you are reluctant to place your hand where suggested)
  • Breathe in through your nose, deeply, like a reverse balloon, until you are unable to breathe in anymore. 
  • Feel the sensation of the air reaching your tummy area, expanding your tummy and pushing towards your side flanks 
  • Notice that you chest is almost still 
  • Put your lips together and pretend you have a straw between them.
  • Push the air out for 4 seconds and you will feel your tummy deflating 
  • Go back to the beginning and start again
  • If you practise this several times, you should begin to feel yourself slow down and the fog or mood start to lift. 

Frequently asked questions

Rumination Syndrome FAQ's

Yes, Rumination Syndrome can be treated through a range of therapies. Early intervention and treatment are vital for a successful outcome.

No, regurgitation in rumination syndrome is not controlled, nor does it involve a conscious choice, whereas bulimia nervosa does. Regurgitation – or purging – in bulimia is often surrounded by guilt, negative body image, and discomfort. Rumination disorder does not always involve weight or body image concerns, and there often appears to be no discomfort with the regurgitation.

Experts aren’t sure why rumination syndrome starts. Although it is thought that rumination is unconscious, it is also believed that the voluntary muscle relaxation of the diaphragm becomes a learned habit, like burping. Although it has visible physical consequences, Rumination Syndrome is a psychological disorder.

Professional associations and memberships

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