Generally speaking, conventional medicine has a good handle on how to treat thyroid disorders. Hyper- and hypo-thyroidism are usually routinely managed with medications that are designed to restore the body’s hormone balance. Contemporary medications are rigorously tested and determined to be safe and effective before being made available. This leaves little room for the consideration of alternative therapies, although they may have been researched and determined to be safe and effective.
About alternative medicine for thyroid disease
Before considering the avenue of alternative medicine, it would be important to consult with your doctor. However, below you can find some general information about alternative therapies and medicines you may consider as conservative measures for the treatment of thyroid disease. Keep in mind that alternative therapies are not a substitute for evidence based conventional therapies.
The effect of the diet on thyroid disease
Prior research has determined that the thyroid gland functions optimally in those with a diet rich in iodine, magnesium and protein. In addition, vitamins A, B and C have also been shown to have positive effects on the thyroid. Individuals with thyroid disease should avoid caffeine and foods containing high doses of selenium, which can negatively influence the functioning of the thyroid. However, it is important to note that it is often difficult to control thyroid conditions by diet alone and conventional medicines may still be required.
Osteopaths and chiropractors treat thyroid disorders by manipulating the spine. The resulting improvement in circulation of the blood and the reduction in muscle tension have been known to provide improvement in metabolic function. However, these are not generally viable in the long term and conventional medicines may still be required.
TCM and Naturopathy
There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the treatment of thyroid conditions using naturopathy. In America, some states have authorised naturopaths to treat thyroid patients; others do not. In states where it is permitted, a naturopath may provide herbal preparations that are based on TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). The idea is to remove blocks to the “qi,” which is your life force energy. However, there is little information in the literature and research to suggest this is effective, although the preparations may ease the stress you are feeling due to symptoms of thyroid disease.
After consulting with your doctor, you may want to consider naturopathy as a complement to, rather than a replacement for, your usual method of treatment.
Acupuncture may also serve as a supplement to conventional medicine in the treatment of thyroid disorders.
As a treatment, acupuncture has become more and more mainstream. Current research suggests that by stimulating areas of the body with fine needles you can elicit a response in another area. In recent times, there has been overwhelming evidence that suggests this idea is a valid and effective treatment method for a variety of conditions including thyroid disease. However, like with diet and manipulative therapies, it is common that acupuncture be complementary to medications.
An overall healthy lifestyle that includes eating well and exercising, can help you manage thyroid disease. Alternative therapies are not likely to become the treatment of choice, but in some cases may be used in conjunction with your thyroid medication. If you are considering trying alternative therapies for thyroid disease ensure that you consult with your doctor, to ensure personalised and comprehensive care.