The function of the thyroid gland is to set the pace for your body’s metabolism. The hormones secreted by the thyroid directly affect nearly every organ of the body and contribute to the management of weight loss/gain, brain development, heart and nervous system function, skin condition, body temperature, breathing, muscle strength, menstrual regularity, memory, and cholesterol and energy levels.

Up to 27 million Americans experience imbalanced thyroid function, which comes in two forms: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. In this week’s blog on blending the best of East and West to treat thyroid disease, we’ll first look at the signs and symptoms of the different types of thyroid disease. Then, we’ll check out a model of treatment for thyroid disease you can expect from the caregivers at IMS.

thyroid

Symptoms of Low Thyroid Function or Hypothyroidism

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Cold intolerance
  • Dry and coarse skin
  • Hair loss
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Poor memory
  • Forgetfulness
  • Dementia
  • Nervousness and tremors
  • Immune system problems
  • Heavy menstrual periods


Symptoms of Overactive Thyroid or Hyperthyroidism

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Heat intolerance
  • Dry and coarse skin
  • Clammy skin
  • Hair loss
  • Warm hands and feet
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Poor memory
  • Forgetfulness
  • Nervousness and tremors
  • Immune system problems
  • Light menstrual periods
  • Frequent defecation


Integrative Treatment of Thyroid Disease
Inspection, smelling and listening, inquiry, and palpitation are the four examinations used to gather information and to determine a diagnosis in Classical Chinese Medicine. Today’s CCM doctor may want to x-rays or lab results from blood work in addition to more traditional inspection techniques such as examining the tongue. There are 28 different types of palpations or qualities of the pulse. This aspect of the four examinations include palpating the body to understand the type of pain you may be feeling. This will help your caregiver to understand whether the pain is sharp, aching, stabbing, and so on. Zheng jia ji jiu or conglomerations of energy (Qi,) concretions, swellings and gatherings are pin pointed as a part of the palpation examination. A palpation diagnosis is sophisticated and useful in treatment, because it brings about understanding on how qi or vital energy is flowing through the body.

A pattern diagnosis is then developed through careful consideration of the information gathered. This is a statement about the combination of your particular symptoms and your general health patterns. Several patients may present with the same illness, but our goal is to treat each individual. This means that each patient may receive a unique treatment plan that is inline with their needs, according to his or her pattern diagnosis.

What might a patient with hyperthyroidism expect when they come to IMS? Treatment truly depends on the manifestation of hyperthyroidism as it is experienced. For example, a person with constant hunger, ringing in the ears, gas/belching, acid reflux, and a rosy complexion would not receive the same treatment as someone presenting with hyperthyroidism and a different combination of symptoms.

Complex and customized medicinal formulas maybe recommended in pill form. These gel capsules can be loaded with concentrated extracts with 15-25 ingredients chosen to supplement your particular needs. Dietary instructions are also common. Certain foods might be encouraged, while others should be limited or taken out of the diet all together. Certain types of exercise or meditation might be encouraged. If Hashimoto’s disease is found to be at the root of a thyroid problem, selenium, natural iodine pills, or coconut oil might be included in our modality.

The World Health Organization lists over 40 diseases that acupuncture treats effectively and thyroid is on the list. There are several studies, one conducted at the Shanghai Medical University, showing that acupuncture is especially well suited to those with hypothyroidism, because it is closely related to deficiency in Kidney energy. A typical acupuncture treatment for thyroid will last 45 minutes. It is recommended that treatments be given once a week in the beginning. Typical treatment points are on the neck, feet, and hands where sterile acupuncture needles are inserted. Acupuncture needles are thinner than needles used to draw blood or for giving injections and do not cause pain when they are inserted. Patients generally find acupuncture treatments relaxing during and after the session, and acupuncture supporting the thyroid produces no side effects.


Sources:
www.thyrod-info.com “The Yin and Yang of the Thyroid: A Look at Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture for Thyroid with Dr. Patrick Purdue” by Mary Shomon
www.endocrineweb.com “Hyperthyroidism: Overactivity of the Thyroid Gland” by James Norman, MD
Contemporary Medical Acupuncture: A Systems Approach by Guan-Yuan Jin, Jia-Jia X. Jin, Louis L. Jin
Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness by Dr. Laurie Steelsmith

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