Who would have thought that a small butterfly-shaped gland in the throat could be so crucial to our health and survival? This gland, the thyroid, is controlled by hormones from the pituitary gland, which is located near the mid-brain. When stimulated by these pituitary hormones, certain cells in the thyroid release two important hormones of their own called T3 and T4. These hormones help to transform carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into the energy that is necessary for optimum organ functioning. Thyroid hormones are also necessary for the growth, development, and maintenance of our nervous system. Moreover, other cells of the thyroid known as C Cells, release a hormone called calcitonin which helps to regulate levels of calcium and phosphate, thus promoting the formation of bone.
An underactive thyroid could lead to such symptoms as fatigue, body aches, chills, depression, bloating, dryness, and unexplainable weight gain. An overactive thyroid could lead to rapid, irregular heart rate, raised body temperature, and warm, moist skin.
One should see a doctor immediately if thyroid imbalance is suspected. Your primary doctor may refer you to an endocrinologist who specializes in hormonal disorders. A full thyroid blood test would be done to determine if there is a thyroid imbalance. If a problem is found, prescription medication may be necessary to prevent dangerous and severe complications such as heart attack or heart failure. Whether one is on thyroid medication or is on the borderline of being on medication, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can help.
TCM is comprised of acupuncture, herbal therapy, nutritional counseling, non-touch energetic therapy (InfiniChi), bodywork (tuina), and restorative exercises (chi gong). This is a comprehensive, holistic system of healing that addresses both the root cause and more apparent symptoms of the thyroid imbalance. TCM can be effective in addressing the most common causes of thyroid injury such as emotional stress, toxic overload, nutritional imbalance and auto-immune conditions. Working with licensed TCM practitioners in conjunction with qualified medical doctors can be an effective, integrative approach to addressing thyroid disease.