Acupressure for the thyroid

Written by melissa smith
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Acupressure for the thyroid
Acupressure may help ease the thyroid imbalance that leaves you feeling drained. (tired of working image by nutech21 from Fotolia.com)

Traditional Chinese medicine views thyroid dysfunction as an imbalance in the yin and yang energies of the body. While yin energy is cool, passive and tends to sink; yang energy is fiery, active and expansive. When one predominates, the imbalance can overstimulate the thyroid, or cause it to become sluggish. While acupressure may help ease symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, it is not a replacement for conventional medical treatments.

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History

The technique of massaging key points on the body in order to stimulate healing originated in India over 5,000 years ago, notes John Cross, doctor of acupuncture in the Isle of Skye, and author of “Acupressure: Clinical Applications in Musculo-Skeletal Conditions”. Ancient practitioners observed that certain points on the body became tender in concert with certain types of illness. They noted that stimulating these points relieved the symptoms of disease. Acupressure migrated to China along with the Buddhist monks who practiced it, where it became a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine.

Theory

When your body is in a state of health, it draws qi – vital life energy – from its surroundings, as well as from food, water and air. While yin and yang are often described as two different types of energy, they are really more like two sides of a wheel: they must work in harmony or the flow of energy becomes unbalanced, according to the website Traditional Chinese Medicine World. When yin predominates, the body is cold, sluggish and often gains weight. When yang predominates, you can feel aggressive, tense and anxious.

Solutions

A traditional Chinese medicine approach to restoring your thyroid involves restoring balance to the yin and yang energies, according to Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld, acupuncturist and co-author of “Thyroid Balance: Traditional and Alternative Methods for Treating Thyroid Disorders”. An acupressure practitioner might work on stimulating the heart and the triple warmer--a TCM concept that corresponds to the Western notion of metabolism. If you have a hyperthyroid, an acupressure session might focus on releasing or dispersing excess energy. A hypothyroid treatment would probably work on removing any stale or stagnant qi and restoring its free circulation.

Research

Although research into the effectiveness of acupressure for thyroid disorders is not available as of 2010, some TCM practitioners have found strong correlations between TCM diagnoses of yin/yang imbalance and thyroid conditions. In their 1990 article, published in the “Chinese Journal of Modern Developments in Traditional Medicine”, H.P. Chen and colleagues at the Shanghai Research Institute of Acupuncture and Meridian found that a TCM diagnosis of yin/yang imbalance was a strong predictor of thyroid dysfunction in patients.

Key points

Release any excess energy and restore the smooth flow of qi to your thyroid by stimulating two acupressure points that sit on the back of your neck, just above the vertebra that forms a bump when you tilt your head forward. Probe the areas on either side and just above this bony protrusion until you find tender spots. Massage, then press and hold these points until you feel a relaxing numbness radiating out from them. If you haven’t worked on these points previously, it can take a few minutes before you feel relief in this area. For a complete TCM diagnosis and acupressure treatment, see a professional.

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