Our bodies are all a bit like Goldilocks, especially when it comes to thyroid hormone levels and getting help with hypothyroidism.
Too much, and the system goes into overdrive. Too little, and the body can’t keep up with its normal daily functions. But when the levels are just right, we’re ready to take on the world.
Unfortunately, striking that perfect hormone balance isn’t always easy. Medications, lifestyle habits, illnesses, genetics, or even your natural constitution can leave you teetering on either side of the spectrum.
Most often, people find themselves on the low side battling issues like fatigue, sluggishness, and weight gain.
If you’re one of the 20 million people who struggle with hypothyroidism and its related issues, there is hope for getting back into balance.
At Wellnest Denver Acupuncture, we help people like you stimulate your thyroid gland naturally by addressing the root causes of poor thyroid function. Read on to learn how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can give your body the boost it needs.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
Most thyroid disorders fall into one of two categories: hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) and hypothyroidism (not enough thyroid hormone).
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is more common and affects up to 4.6% of our US population. Those with hypothyroidism have a slower metabolism and may experience other health issues related to low thyroid hormones, such as fatigue, muscle weakness, brain fog, weight gain, menstrual irregularities, constipation, and depression.
Hypothyroidism is usually confirmed by a blood test that measures thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH, and thyroxine. When thyroxine levels are low or normal, and TSH levels are high, this signals that your pituitary gland is having to work overtime (lots of TSH) just to get your thyroid to release the necessary thyroxine.
Finding Thyroid Balance: How Chinese Medicine Helps with Hypothyroidism
Western medicine treatment for hypothyroid is usually simple and straightforward: fill in the gap with a synthetic thyroid hormone (usually levothyroxine).
There’s nothing wrong with this treatment, and it is usually well-tolerated by most people. The thing is, replacing your body’s natural thyroid hormone with a bandaid treatment doesn’t address why your thyroid is underperforming – or prevent it from getting worse.
Rather than rely on medication alone, holistic thyroid treatment goes a step further to stop the hormone drain (and other hypothyroid symptoms) at the root while also preventing future deterioration of your thyroid gland.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), hypothyroidism is seen as a core imbalance in yin and yang and a deficiency in Kidney energy.
While the Kidneys may seem unrelated to the thyroid gland, in TCM, the Kidney system manages hormones, homeostasis, and the body’s overall vitality. Those with weak Kidney Qi or Yang energy will feel sluggish, fatigued, and cold. They put on weight easily, even without eating much.
A whole-body approach helps address these root causes and encourages better thyroid function.
Acupuncture for Hypothyroidism
Acupuncture treats the root of hypothyroidism by boosting Qi (or energy) production in the body, balancing yin and yang, and enhancing Kidney function. Certain points are also helpful to stimulate the thyroid and encourage natural thyroid hormone production.
Treating the root is the necessary first step, but acupuncture is also used to address the symptoms of hypothyroidism. After an acupuncture session, you can expect to feel a lift in energy, sleep better and wake feeling rested, and get sluggish bowels moving more regularly.
Herbal Medicine for Hypothyroidism
Chinese medicine herbs for hypothyroidism like dried ginger, Rehmannia root, and cinnamon help to stoke the warming, activating Yang energy of the body. This tonifies the Kidney system to improve thyroid function and symptoms (like coldness, weight gain, and lethargy) from the root.
Diet Therapy for Hypothyroidism
Just as herbs and acupuncture points can help improve the body’s thyroid function and balance, so can the foods we eat. We typically recommend starting with a diet of fresh produce, healthy fats, and lean proteins. Depending on your unique symptoms, we may also recommend certain foods to increase your Yang energy, nourish the Kidneys, or reduce dampness.
Acupuncture for Common Hypothyroidism Symptoms: Restore Your Balance Naturally
Getting your thyroid to function better naturally does take time. The good news is that acupuncture for hypothyroidism has its perks along the way! While improved function may be a long-term goal, you can expect to experience relief from many of the common hypothyroid symptoms and improvement in your daily quality of life within just a few treatments.
Weight gain is a common (and frustrating) side effect of an underactive thyroid. Without enough thyroid hormone circulating in the blood, your metabolism and your digestion naturally slow down. Not only do you put on more weight, but you can experience constipation, bloating, and a general “heavy” sensation weighing you down.
Acupuncture helps by regulating the body’s neuroendocrine system, including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, or HPA, that regulates the thyroid.
Along with helping your thyroid work better, acupuncture also helps clear out old waste from the digestive system, boost your metabolism, and fight “dampness” (excess water and fat accumulation).
Depression is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, but it’s often overlooked or pushed under the rug. Acupuncture, however, takes a different approach.
There are different types of depression in Chinese medicine. When it comes to depression caused by a thyroid imbalance, the root usually lies in a lack of energy and vitality. By nurturing the Kidney system through specific acupuncture points, we replenish that energy (along with hormones and neurotransmitters) to encourage more balanced moods from the root.
A healthy internal environment is necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Unfortunately, issues like hormone imbalance and irregular ovulation can make achieving that fertile environment a challenge. Why? Low thyroid levels are linked to infertility, as thyroid hormones play a role in properly releasing an egg from the ovary to be fertilized.
Thankfully, acupuncture and herbal medicine can help stimulate the thyroid gland and bring the thyroid hormones back to balance. Studies also show that acupuncture is beneficial for those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that attacks healthy thyroid cells and leads to hypothyroidism.
Improve Thyroid Function Naturally at Wellnest Denver Acupuncture
Holistic medicine is all about using what nature gave us to live our healthiest lives. That includes your thyroid gland!
Thankfully, Chinese medicine offers many different paths to healing your Kidney system and thyroid gland to restore your balance.
But while acupuncture can help you fight fatigue, lose the extra pounds, and overcome other symptoms that come with an underactive thyroid, the real benefit goes much deeper: you’ll reinvigorate your thyroid’s natural potential to function.
Schedule a consultation with us today to learn more about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help you manage your hypothyroidism naturally.