When functioning properly, the thyroid gland secretes just the right amount of thyroid hormone to regulate almost all the metabolic processes in your body. Too much or too little of these vital body chemicals and it can drastically influence energy levels, body weight and your mental health. With over 20 million Americans living with some form of thyroid disease, much attention has been given to the many ways that acupuncture and Oriental medicine can treat thyroid problems.
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that sits in the front of the neck. It is responsible for energy, metabolism, hormone regulation, body weight and blood calcium levels. Thyroid disorders stem from either an overproduction (hyperthyroidism) or underproduction (hypothyroidism) of thyroid hormones. When your thyroid is not functioning properly, your body can experience a variety of symptoms:
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can be diagnosed by testing the levels of thyroid hormones in your blood. Hormones secreted by the thyroid are measured, as well as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), a chemical released by the pituitary gland that triggers hormone production in the thyroid. Some milder forms of hypothyroidism can also be detected by a consistently low basal body temperature.
Both Western and Eastern medicine offer various methods to restore thyroid hormone levels. Western treatments rely mainly on drugs and surgery while Eastern treatments aim to restore immune function as well as balance the production and release of thyroid hormones through a variety of approaches ranging from acupuncture and herbal remedies to lifestyle changes and special exercises.
In the treatment to thyroid problems, acupuncture can be used to restore hormonal balance, regulate energy levels, smooth emotions and help manage sleep, emotions and menstrual problems. There are several powerful acupuncture points on the ear and the body that can be used to regulate the production of thyroid hormones. Treatments take all of your symptoms into account and are aimed at balancing the energy within the body to optimize health.
When it comes to lifestyle changes, a diet rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, and iodine helps support thyroid function while certain foods known as goitrogens may interfere with thyroid hormone production and should be limited. These include cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts), peanuts, and soy. Stress reducing exercises such as yoga or tai chi can also be beneficial.
If you have a thyroid problem, call for a consultation at 310-401-3347. A custom-tailored treatment plan will be created to suit your individual needs so that you can feel better quickly and safely!
Blood tests may not be sensitive enough to detect milder forms of hypothyroidism. Monitoring your body’s basal (resting) temperature is often used to identify a thyroid hormone deficiency.
To track your basal temperature accurately, follow these guidelines:
Seaweed – Iodine is an essential element that assists the thyroid in producing thyroid hormone. By increasing iodine intake, patients have seen an increase in the production of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The best natural source of iodine is kelp, bladderwrack and other seaweeds.
Coconut Oil – Virgin coconut oil is praised by health experts for its ability to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. It is made up largely of medium chain fatty acids, or triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are known to speed metabolism, promote weight loss, and raise basal body temperatures.
Brazil nuts and walnuts – These nuts contain high amounts of selenium. Many hypothyroid patients have been found to have deficiencies in this trace mineral.