Updated: Aug 21
Eastern medicine uses a personalized approach to treating disease—one that's based on an individual's specific symptoms and that may include any of several practices commonly used by Acupuncturists practitioners.
If you have a thyroid disorder and would like to consider including Eastern medicine in your overall treatment plan.
Finding a Balance-
As with any disease or disorder, Eastern medicine regards both broad categories of thyroid disease—hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism—as being caused by an imbalance of yin (loosely defined as structure) and yang (function) in the body. The goal of Eastern medicine is to achieve a balance between these two forces.
The Acupuncturist treatment principles are tailored to an individual's symptoms. Put another way, one's diagnosis alone does not dictate the use of specific herbs or therapies. For instance, a patient who has the standard symptoms of hypothyroidism but also experiences, say, dizzy spells would be treated differently than another person with low thyroid who has a different constellation of symptoms.
That said, according to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM), the modalities most likely to be used to treat the symptoms of either thyroid disorder are:
Acupuncture for the thyroid health-
Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body that coordinate with pathways of qi (“Chee")—the energy that flows through the body, which plays many roles in a person's overall health and wellbeing. By targeting these pathways, or meridians, an Acupuncturist practitioner aims to bring back into balance a disruption of qi believed to cause pain and other symptoms of a disease.
Proponents of Western medicine who recognize acupuncture as a useful adjunct to conventional treatment suspect that the practice somehow boosts the body's natural painkillers by stimulating nerves, muscles, and connective tissue.
There've been few studies looking at the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating thyroid disease, the British Acupuncture Council cites several specific ways in which acupuncture has been found to be potentially useful for treating thyroid disease, such as:
Increasing levels of thyroid hormones in the people with hypothyroidism
Lowering levels of thyroid hormones in patients with hyperthyroidism
Reducing sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation by acting on specific areas of the brain
Increasing the release of the chemical adenosine, which decreases sensitivity to pain
Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing blood circulation in small blood vessels, which aids dispersal of swelling
Reducing inflammation by promoting the release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors
You should try it-
Many types of treatment comprise Eastern medicine, so if you decide to explore acupuncture as a complement to the conventional therapies you may be receiving for thyroid disease, don't be surprised if the practitioner devises an approach that's very different from what you are used to.
If you are experiencing on-going thyroid issues we highly recommend you schedule a visit.