Acupuncture Treatment for Thyroid Problems
The state of your energy level depends on the health of your thyroid gland. Your ability to preserve a normal overall metabolic function, a healthy weight for your frame, and even a good emotional life may be impossible to do if your thyroid function is low. If this is the case, depression may set in, or if you have a high functioning thyroid, anxiety can occur.
Your thyroid is a remarkable gland and if it functions normally, a healthy amount of thyroid hormone is produced to meet your daily energy requirements; if it is low, you may always feel tired as well as feel cold often, easily gain weight, and have sleeping difficulties. Unfortunately, there are millions in the United States who suffer from thyroid conditions caused by water, food and air pollution, stress, and genetic predisposition.
One very good thyroid solution is acupuncture. It can be used especially for thyroid care and to rebalance your hormones. If you suffer from a low thyroid function, Chinese herbal remedies and acupuncture can help bring back hormonal balance to your body, regulate sleep patterns and boost your energy.
A combination of Eastern and Western treatments can be applied to treat or even cure hormone imbalances. Feeling cold regardless of the temperature, arthritis, hair loss, digestive problems, depression, weight gain, infertility, exhaustion or fatigue can all be symptoms of a low thyroid condition. The emotional distress, lack of stamina and lethargy stemming from hypothyroidism or low thyroid function is usually mistaken for clinical depression and is usually wrongly treated with seratonin reuptake inhibiting drugs like Paxil and Prozac. Undiagnosed or misdiagnosed hypothyroidism impact 1% of adult American women and for post-menopausal women in that group, about a fourth of them is affected with this condition.
There are a variety of hormone-related problems that can affect a person’s quality of life, energy and health. Low thyroid function is just one problem and the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, reproductive hormones and adrenal function among others can also contribute to homeostasis and normal metabolic rate of a person. It is essential to be properly assessed for hormone function if you manifest the aforementioned symptoms and signs and/or if your physician thinks you possess below optimal hormone levels.
But if your health care provider discovers that you suffer from a current hormone imbalance through lab test results or compelling symptom-related manifestations, how can he/she help treat your condition? Your physician can have options but within the scope of western medicine, a few are available. These may include hormone suppression prescriptions (if your testosterone/progesterone/estrogen or adrenal/thyroid is too high) or hormone replacement prescriptions (if any of the above is too low).
There may be a cellular resistance to the hormone in some of these cases which makes it difficult to fully optimize the thyroid being replaced as can be gleaned when the autoimmune response has targeted the thyroid hormone receptors, for example or because your endocrine function becomes impaired due to synthetic chemical pollutants in our water, food and air. A person may also be suffering from lack of iodine, which is usually the case in underdeveloped nations.
So how can you properly metabolize your thyroid hormone (regardless if it’s internally created by your endocrine system or if it’s replaced by prescription drugs), so it can be used by the cells to perform its functions on both a macroscopic and microscopic level? The entire body systems of the body need to be properly balanced for your thyroid hormone to be properly used. This means a treatment to optimize and balance wellness is needed and this is where traditional Chinese medicine or TCM comes into play.
The goal of acupuncturists and TCM practitioners is to treat specific acupuncture points and/or provide herbal remedies to treat the patient’s pattern of disease and bring back balance to the body systems by stimulating energy pathways or meridians in a manner that western medicine stimulates the nervous and lymph system of the body. TCM aims to bring back health by using lifestyle changes, massage, nutrition, herbs and needles to balance the Yin and Yang within the body. These two forces (Yin and Yang) according to TCM represent the various balances within the body (sympathetic/parasympathetic, acidic/alkaline, deficiency/excess, cold/hot, internal/external, and so on).
Western treatments for thyroid problems include estrogen replacement that can relieve hot flashes and thyroid hormone that treats fatigue.
TCM practitioners search for the underlying cause within the pattern of imbalance, which is usually a deficiency of both Kidney Yin and Yang. This problem is commonly diagnosed in menopausal women as both the Blood and Qi may decrease abruptly during the transition. The acupuncturist inserts needles into acupuncture points Liver 2 and Large Intestine 11 to clear heat, tonify the Kidney and Liver Yin (Spleen 6), and nourish the Kidney Yang (Kidney 7, Kidney 3). A Golden Book Tea herbal remedy modified with dang gui and long gu is also prescribed to produce Blood and anchor the Yang respectively. Weekly acupuncture treatments and herbal tea daily for two weeks can resolve the patient’s hot flashes, lessen his/her cold feelings, and make him/her sleep longer and more soundly resulting in greater energy and well-being.
Acupuncture can attain what Western medicine can’t by restoring balance to the internal homeostasis of the body. Pulse and tongue diagnosis combined with symptom cluster are the diagnostic tools used by the acupuncturist to help identify the problem of the patient. Needling identified acupuncture points and sedating or tonifying herbs can help balance the Yin and Yang and nourish the vital fluids while eliminating stagnation in the meridians.
TCM sees each patient as a unique case. Therefore, a customized plan of treatment is needed to properly address the patient’s symptoms identified by evaluating the pulse and tongue signs as well as the subjective symptom cluster.
Patients often get optimal results when Eastern and Western medical treatments are combined. Western medicine’s strength is to intervene life-threatening conditions while Eastern medicine’s forte is to better a person’s quality of life. So, the combining of these two approaches will lead to the best medical results for a patient most of the time.
Christina Prieto, AP
1617 Hillcrest St
Orlando, FL 32803