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Thyroid Health – Signs and Symptoms of Lowered Functioning

It’s a good thing that the thyroid has been getting more attention in general lately.  For too long it has been overlooked and misdiagnosed.  While medication is sometimes needed to manage a poorly functioning thyroid, and is used to replace a missing thyroid, Chinese Medicine also treats the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and can help boost functioning naturally.

 

When Your Thyroid Function is Low

I want to share with you a list of symptoms that may indicate a problem with your thyroid.  While there are two main problems that can occur with the thyroid – hypo-functioning aka Hypothyroidism, and hyper-functioning aka Hyperthyroidism, in this article we will focus on hypothyroidism and it’s most common form which is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Untreated Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism can cause:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Weight gain, and with it increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
  • High cholesterol due to the role of the thyroid in fat metabolism
  • Depression – as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the cause of their depression – but their thyroid problem hasn’t been diagnosed so they are being misdiagnosed and mistreated. That’s one reason that antidepressants don’t help a subset of women.
  • Anxiety also often accompanies thyroid problems.
  • Decreased cognitive function – aka brain fog – the thyroid is responsible for helping us maintain brain health, and even slight thyroid dysfunction can impair memory and concentration. Studies of women in their 60s have shown that even marginally slow thyroid function can cause dementia-like symptoms, and that treatment can dramatically improve cognitive function and have a brain-protective effect.
  • Increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of the thyroid on heart rate and rhythm.
  • Difficulty adapting body temperature – feel cold all the time? Could be a sign that the thyroid is not working optimally since one of its jobs is to regulate body temperature.

the thyroid is often called the butterfly gland
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the throat.

 

What Should You Do if You Suspect a Thyroid Problem?

 

  1. I recommend ordering a complete Thyroid Blood Panel that includes:

TSH

Free T4

Free T3

Reverse T3

TPO Antibodies

TG Antibodies

 

This gives a broader picture of thyroid and pituitary function and if there’s an autoimmune aspect. A knowledgeable functional medicine doctor or holistic endocrinologist can interpret the lab test results.

2.  Try a gluten free, soy free, dairy free diet for at least 1 month.  Studies have found that these three proteins cross-react with thyroid tissue, which means your immune system gets activated when you eat those proteins and also attacks the thyroid tissue.

3.  Get out of sleep deficit!  Your body needs to rest deeply in order to repair and restore.  If you are not getting quality sleep or enough for your personal needs, you are constantly digging yourself deeper.  Make sleep a priority.

4 . Cut back on caffeine – too much caffeine can increase cortisol and upset your hormonal balance even more than without it, and this in turn affects the thyroid.

5.  Add holistic healthcare to your health maintenance plan! Acupuncture is very valuable in helping your body get out of stress overload and into healing mode.

 

Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine for Thyroid Health and Healing

 

In my practice, I’m often helping women on thyroid medication or those who haven’t yet started medication with many of the symptoms listed above. When we’re talking about hormones, including those made by the thyroid and pituitary, which is the gland that stimulates and regulates the thyroid, we’re talking about subtle energies that control metabolism and many major functions including our mental health.  Sometimes we need to address that subtle energetic layer, in addition to the chemical layer that the replacement hormones address.

Herbal therapy and acupuncture help hypothyroid by:

  • Reducing Inflammation
  • Promoting natural healing hormone release
  • Allowing the body to heal itself by releasing blocked energy
  • Boosting your body’s own natural energy production
  • Calming the entire nervous system
  • Balancing your body’s hormonal chemistry
  • Regulate body temperature

 

Call us today to start healing your thyroid, balancing your endocrine system, and feel more like yourself! 630-335-1069

Neuro Emotional Technique – finding hidden causes that interfere with healing

Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) is a way to uncover underlying stressors that are linked with and contributing to your sense of dis-ease or pain.  Some of our pain is emotional, some is physical, and some is intertwined.  NET compliments acupuncture therapy and helps to speed healing especially for very chronic problems. 

In NET, we have two ways to gain access to the subconscious blocks that are holding you back from complete healing. 

 

1. Mind Entry

we start with an I’m OK statement, which is typically something that you want to be true.  Muscle Response Testing (MRT) bypasses the thinking brain to access the subconscious emotional, or Limbic system, of the brain. 
Next, we find which meridian access point – one of your wrist pulse positions – gives us a change in the MRT.  

 

2.  Body Entry

Here, we contact  a painful or troublesome spot on the body – then we look to see if there’s a change in muscle strength with MRT when we connect it to another test point that indicates what the body wants to correct the pain.  

 

The Four Bases of Healing in NET

NET helps us find what the mind-body wants in order to assist deeper healing of the issue we’re exploring.

First Base finds and corrects a stressor, called a Neuro Emotional Complex,  

Second Base indicates a homeopathic remedy to assist in healing,

Third Base implicates nutritonal support

Fourth Base indicates a needed structural fix.  

NET is complimentary to acupuncture, and is based on the principles of Chinese Medicine in addition to incorporating chiropractic theory, nutrition, and homeopathy.  Acupuncture treatment assists in deepening the corrections done via NET, and can be used to correct a 4th base issue and sometimes is used in lieu of or in addition to the 2nd base finding. 

My patients love how they feel stronger and lighter after a session.  Pain improves, and overall wellbeing moves forward.  If you are curious if NET is right for you, call 630-335-1069 to schedule a complimentary consultation.  

 

Happy and Free

Does Acupuncture Help with Fertility?

achieving pregnancy

 

When you are trying to get pregnant, every month can seem like an eternity.  It can feel like a race against time and like every day matters.  You may feel pressured by society because of your age, or by the burden of a diagnosis.

So, what to do? Acupuncture is a well-known treatment to help improve fertility.

How Does Acupuncture work for fertility?

Acupuncture can help balance hormones, improve blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, and help reduce stress hormones that might interfere with fertility. As a holistic therapy, the goal is making you healthier overall to allow conception and a healthy pregnancy.  Acupuncture sessions are very relaxing, and can be a great source of hope and strength while you are dealing with fertility issues.

How long does acupuncture take to work?

As with anything someone seeks treatment for, it depends on many factors, but most people start seeing changes as soon as their first cycle. More regular periods, less pain and PMS symptoms, and better sleep and digestion are all signs that acupuncture treatments are working and preparing your body for pregnancy.

In general, you should plan for a minimum of three cycles to balance your hormones and improve egg quality. It might take longer if you have a known condition like PCOS or endometriosis, but even those respond well to acupuncture.

At each session, your acupuncturist will offer nutritional guidance as well as lifestyle support to help you reach your goals. The more healthy choices you can make outside the treatment room, the better acupuncture will work—helping you get pregnant faster.

Even more important is how soon you start treatment. Often people wait for months or years to seek out acupuncture. Actually, getting started sooner will give you a better chance of success. Add acupuncture treatments as soon as you start wondering if you are having trouble, and you’ll be meeting your baby before you know it!

 

We’re happy to answer your questions and support you throughout your fertility journey.  Contact us and let us know how we can help!

Retraining the Diaphragm to Enhance Your Health!

Believe it or not, but the way you breathe can impact your health! And vice versa.  The diaphragm is a muscle that sits under the lungs between the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity.  As with any muscle in the body it can get tight or spastic or out of shape.  What’s more, is the connective tissue surrounding the diaphragm connects it to so many different parts of the body, thus implicating it in any type of pain or dysregulation in the body.

Luckily, we can affect the health of the diaphragm and its movement through breathing exercises. practicing mindful breathing every day does more than just calm you down for a few minutes. It retrains and exercises the diaphragm thus helping to relax and reprogram many other muscles and tissues they connect with all over your body.  

 

Diaphragmatic breathing

 

How does diaphragmatic breathing (also called deep breathing or a 3 part breath) detoxify and restore our bodies?

Deep breathing stimulates the lymph nodes and assists lymph drainage (think of the lymphatic system like the sewage system of the body, where debris and toxins are collected and then eliminated).  In fact, it increases the rate of elimination as much as 15 times!

When the diaphragm moves up and down in deep breathing, it stimulates the vagus nerve, which houses many of the parasympathetic nervous systems’ fibers.  This is important because the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the ‘rest and digest’ response.  When we are able to digest we absorb more nutrients to build and protect our bodies and when we can rest, our bodies are given a chance to repair. -Deep breathing assists the circulatory system, improving blood circulation, another major channel of elimination and detoxification.

 

So, how do we practice diaphragmatic breathing?

I found it helpful when I was first learning to lie on my back and place one hand on my lower belly and one hand on my ribcage. Begin by slowing down the breath and relaxing the mind, using the nostrils to breath. Then take an inhale sending the breath down into the lower belly, feeling the hand rising up, keep inhaling and now fill the ribcage with air, feeling the sides of the ribs expand, and finally feel the top of the lungs, the upper chest fill with air. Exhale, reversing the flow.  So, upper chest empties, then side ribs, then lower belly. If it’s helpful, imagine filling a balloon. Inhale, sending breath down to the bottom of the balloon, filling the lower belly, then the side ribs and up to the top, a full balloon. Exhale, top of the balloon, chest deflates, then side ribs contract and finally lower belly, almost squeezes the last of the air out. You can begin with a 4 second inhale count and a 4 second exhale count and as your lung capacity increases you can gradually lengthen each, keeping the length of the inhale the same as the exhale.

Who Can Benefit from breathing exercises?

This practice is appropriate for anyone experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, pain, menstrual difficulties, urinary frequency and urgency, sleep trouble, and really anything!  I encourage all my patients to incorporate mindful breathing – breathing without doing anything else for a few moments – as part of their home work.  They love knowing this simple practice can help them, and it’s a life skill worth practicing!
If you are suffering from a condition that interferes with the life you want to be living, please call 630-335-1069 to schedule a free consultation!

Acupuncture Supports Breast Cancer Patients

 

As a holistic practitioner specializing in women’s health, and the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I feel deeply connected to the work I do to support women going through cancer treatments and women dealing with the after effects of treatment.

While cancer treatments are life saving they’re also harsh to the body and spirit.  Acupuncture is a safe way to support a woman receiving chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.  It allows the body to enter a resting state so it can heal and repair. And it’s not just the needles.  As the practitioner, I am not just a technician inserting needles.  There is a patient-practitioner synergy that has its own value in the healing process.  The result is very supportive and healing.

This article on cancer.gov discusses how several studies show that acupuncture can reduce side effects of treatment such as joint pain.

And this breastcancer.org article cites studies showing acupuncture as being effective for other sides effects including nausea, hot flashes and fatigue.

Let’s not forget the mental-emotional strain cancer causes.  Acupuncture is very effective for anxiety, insomnia, and depression as well.

Acupuncture does not interfere with medications and can be modified to accomodate each patient individually.  Please share this article with someone you know who needs support as she makes her way through this difficult journey.

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