Complementary Therapies for Hypothyroidism

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Yoga may also help with endocrine balance, Martens says. “The reasoning behind the benefit of yoga is that yogic practices such as asanas [postures] and pranayama [breathing exercises] are said to balance the endocrine system in its entirety,” she says. “Since the function of the thyroid is heavily influenced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, [it] is affected positively.” For example, the fish pose, shoulder stand, and plough pose are said to massage the thyroid, stimulating blood flow.

A small study found that practicing yoga for six months was associated with improvements in cholesterol and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels, as well as a reduced need for thyroid replacement therapy in women with hypothyroidism.

Another study of 38 women with hypothyroidism and depression evaluated changes in measurements of their body mass, TSH, depression, fatigue, and anxiety before and after a regimen of yoga. After three months doing yoga five days per week, the women saw significant postive improvement in all of those measures, the study’s authors reported.

Other examples of mind-body practices you might want to talk to your doctor about include Pilates, tai chi, qigong, and hypnosis, according to the American Thyroid Association (ATA).

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