Alternative Therapies to Benefit the Thyroid
Dr. Andrew Weil's book, Spontaneous Healing celebrates the many alternative therapies which can be beneficial additions to your healthcare regime. God designed our body to heal and it will work toward healing itself, given half a chance.
Dr. Weil writes that M.D.s are great for some situations (for example, prescribing antibiotics and setting broken bones), but he recommends patients explore alternative therapies if they develop chronic conditions which do not respond well to the drugs and surgery approach offered by M.D.s.
Here are some strategies that I believe have benefited my thyroid function.
The shoulder stand sends blood to the neck and gently increases pressure on the thyroid in a way which seems to be stimulating. I learned about it from the "Thyroid" article in the database at Dr. Weil's internet site. I have found the shoulder stand to be beneficial and I try to do it at least 10 minutes daily.
This position is relatively easy to get into and hold, but it may have health risks for those with blood pressure or other health problems. I have read that the shoulder stand may not be appropriate for women during menstruation or for children. If you have any questions, please discuss it with your physician before you try it.
I'm a fan of food and prefer to get my vitamins, minerals, bioflavinoids, antioxidants, and other nutritional compounds from foods, which are more complete the way God made them than any extract or pill can ever be. Some people even believe that too many supplements (like too many drugs) can be hard on your liver and/or kidneys. However, I do realize that there are times when supplementation may be advisable.
I take a few (mostly food-based) supplements including lecithin, garlic, CoQ10, ginkgo bilboa, natural E and C, and B complex vitamins.
You can also try a formula designed for thyroid health, such as Thyroid and L-Tyrosine Complex from Enzymatic Therapy. It contains the amino acid L-Tyrosine, extracts from animal glands including thyroxin-free thyroid, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iodine, molybdenum, and Vitamin B12.
The book, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., is one of the best references you can buy. It lists specific foods, herbs and supplements to nutritionally treat hundreds of diseases. The following supplements are recommended for people with hypothyroidism:
| Very Important
|| Raw thyroid glandular (prescribed by a physician)|| Important
|| Vitamin B complex and extra B12
|| Brewer's yeast|
essential fatty acids
Prescription for Nutritional Healing also recommends supplements for people with hyperthyroidism:
| Very Important
|| Multivitamin and mineral complex|
Vitamin B complex
|| Brewer's yeast|
Essential fatty acids
Please read Prescription for Nutritional Healing for specific dosage recommendations.
The book Alternative Healthcare, published by Thunder Bay Press, explains thyroid problems this way:
"Nutritional deficiencies (for example, zinc, vitamin A, selenium and iron) and a toxic overload are thought to be the main factors involved in the onset of hypothyroidism. Researchers have found that exposure to some environmental toxins can cause the body to produce antibodies which attack its own thyroid gland. Nutritional therapists aim to enhance the body's detoxification abilities in treating such patients."
Exposure to chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine can affect the thyroid. (See the section, Thyroid Health Homepage: Things to Avoid.
There are a variety of approaches to detoxifying the body. I personally like the simplest ones: avoiding the source and eating cleansing fruit and juices. However, there are detoxifying herbs, colonics, chelation, and other treatments available through various healthcare providers.
Alternative Healthcare also lists several other alternative therapies which address thyroid problems in a variety of ways. For instance:
- Homeopathy can be used in conjuntion with conventional treatment by an M.D. to treat the acute symptoms of either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
- Spiritual Healing believes that "Hormonal problems may have roots in the emotions -- for example, an inability to express anger may affect the thyroid gland." Reducing stress and seeking to restore balance and harmony in your life may help to rebalance your endocrine system.
- Ayurvedic practitioners may suggest panchakarma for detoxification.
Accupuncture, accupressure, and reflexology
These traditional healing arts purport to be able to stimulate and regulate thyroid function. I've read a couple books and tried to stimulate the recommended pressure points without much result. Some authors suggest gently massaging the neck can benefit the thyroid. Others suggest applying pressure to the base of the big toe or other "energy points" on the body. I am considering going to a good accupuncturist to see if this therapy might be beneficial. Has anyone out there gotten good results from any of these?