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Thyroid Disorders and Chinese Medicine

Balancing Fire and Water


Thyroid issues seem to be more prevalent these days, but this could be because more people are being tested, and the tests themselves are better at detecting irregularities. There are two main thyroid disorders: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.


Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormone. Typical symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, moist skin, increased sweating; tremor, nervousness, increased appetite with weight loss, diarrhea and/or frequent bowel movements, weakness, eyes that seem to bulge out of their sockets and sensitivity of the eyes to light. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is under-active and produces too little thyroid hormone. Typical symptoms of hypothyroidism include: hoarse voice, slowed speech, puffy face, drooping eyelids, intolerance of cold conditions, constipation, weight gain, dry hair, dry skin and depression.


In Traditional Chinese medicine, both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are considered to be a Yin/Yang imbalance. The yin is symbolic of the water element and yang symbolizes fire. Complete polar opposites, both yin and yang originate from the kidneys.
In Western terms, an overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormone alters the body’s chemical balance and causes hyper- or hypothyroidism. In Chinese terms, when Yin is deficient it cannot control the Yang energy from escaping outward and upward, and this "reckless" movement of Yang brings about the characteristic symptoms of hyperthyroidism. When Yang is deficient, it simply cannot produce the vital energy necessary to keep the body functioning well, and symptoms of hypothyroidism result.
Simply put, thyroid issues are an imbalance with the kidneys in which can be controlled through the proper prescribed herbal formula, acupuncture treatments and dietary changes. Symptoms of thyroid disorders will begin the slowly normalize as the kidneys (yin and yang) begin to balance.


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