Ayurveda for Hypothyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is the inadequate production of thyroid hormones. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include sensitivity to cold, pain, inflammation in your joints, weight gain and heart disease. An ancient holistic healing system, Ayurvedic medicine, emphasizes symptom management while treating energy imbalances in the Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas, the distinct life force energies that flow through and control the body. From an Ayurveda perspective, the specific treatment for hypothyroidism will depend your individual symptoms and your willingness to participate in your doctor’s recommended protocol.
While conventional medical practitioners rely upon blood tests to diagnose hypothyroidism, Ayurvedic doctors will conduct an in-depth interview with the patient before proceeding with any diagnostic procedures. Because the basic tenets of Ayurveda hold that the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the body equally contribute to good health, lifestyle and life circumstances are important indicators of the cause of your symptoms. The color and appearance of your tongue, fingernails and skin are also indicators of your overall health.
Because foods affect people differently, you should consult with your Ayurvedic physician before making changes to your diet. Seafood and other lean meats provide you with adequate protein. Low glycemic foods, such as whole grains, lentils and kidney beans are high in fiber and have a minimal effect on your blood sugar. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, turnips, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower can reduce thyroid activity and are contraindicated for patients experiencing low thyroid activity.
Ayurvedic physicians use hundreds of herbal formulas and approximately 250 herbal plants to treat patients, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative medicine. Ayurvedic physicians may recommend Siberian ginseng and black walnut to assist thyroid function and to support the adrenal and thymus glands. The herbal preparation guggulu may also be prescribed to stimulate your thyroid. Other remedies, such as spirulina and black cohosh, can help your thyroid to function normally. However, you should consult with your Ayurvedic physician to determine the proper dosage.
Yoga and other relaxation techniques help to lower stress levels and improve thyroid function. Yoga postures, known as asanas, ease the flow of energy throughout the body and improve circulation. The asana sarvangasana - or shoulder stand pose - is an appropriate movement for the thyroid gland, according to Ayurvedic physician Lakshmi Prasuna. Sarvangasana helps to improve the blood circulation and flush toxins from the thyroid. The breathing exercise known as Ujjayi pranayama, or victory breath, is a controlled breathing technique that directs the flow of oxygen and promotes balance in the thyroid. Your Ayurvedic physician may also recommend head and neck exercises and backward bending asanas.