Posts Tagged ‘alternative methods for graves’ disease’

The Thyroid Healing Plan- Emotional Part I

I’ve been asked many times what one should do to start the healing process of Graves’ disease and Hyperthyroidism, or any thyroid disorder for that matter. There are two sides of this problem: Emotional (psychological) and Physical (i.e. diet, herbs, supplements, medication etc.). We’ll start with the psychological part because I believe that this is where all started.

First, knowledge is power, we all know that. The more you know, the better decisions you can make. Sometimes, just reading a different opinion, from a different point of view can help you realize that your thyroid disorder may have different backgrounds from what you were told by the doctors (i.e. purely physiological). It should be noted here again that understanding the additional psychological reasons for your disorder does not substitute any medical treatment. Thyroid disorders are also physical disorders, not only mind disorders, and they should be treated medically as well. By that I don’t mean agreeing to invasive procedures like RAI and thyroidectomy, which are irreversible and which I highly suggest to avoid, if not absolutely necessary. But even if you went through them, it is still not late to perform some life style changes before they transform into another disorder (autoimmune or not).

So, what can you do:

  1. I suggest you sit down with pen and paper and go through your hierarchy of needs (specifically your 5 Basic needs below). Examine honestly which of these needs are not met or to what extent they are not satisfied. Understanding what you need in order to be happy with your life is a step towards your healing.
  2. needseditedExamine your emotions and how you feel as a result of your needs not being met. Negative emotions are the ones you should be looking for: rage, anger, resentment, shame, fear, sadness, loneliness, guilt, inferiority. Have in mind that they are probably deeply suppressed in your unconsciousness and not simply available upon your request to be seen and admitted immediately.
  3. Look deeper at close relationships: with family members, children, spouses, parents, siblings, and close friends. These are the relationships that mostly matter and affect us. Emotions related to them, especially negative ones, are the hardest to detect and admit. It is like that because your Super Ego, or the moral aspect of your personality, is trying to protect you from emotions very painful to face, and it will try get in your way by all means. You may go also through the so called denial, which function is to protect the ego from things that the individual cannot cope with. For example: it may not be acceptable to admit that your children are driving you “crazy”, and you feel guilty because good mothers shouldn’t be angry at their children. Or that you don’t love your spouse anymore (but he is a good guy in general), or your parents are a burden (but you shouldn’t feel that way because you are a responsible daughter/son). This is especially true when you don’t have a particular reason and can’t really blame anybody for anything specific. You may be blaming yourself for something you did or said, that is not “morally” and “sociably” acceptable. For example, it’s not morally acceptable to annoyed with your siblings, or children at times, or your best friend. You may be even embarrassed or guilty about experiencing or having these feelings and emotions at all. These I call “secondary emotions”, and they are even more poisonous than the “primary” emotions. You may think for example: “I shouldn’t be resentful to my husband because he is not that bad person overall; he takes care of me”, or “My best friend helped me when I was moving, I shouldn’t be irritated or annoyed that she is ignoring me now, when I need her so badly”. As a result of these ambivalent feelings and emotions, you may feel guilty, angry or frustrated- this time towards yourself. You may also be paralyzed by fear that you can lose financial stability, social prestige, or a friend. You may feel lonely, even though you insist that you prefer to live by yourself or you may fear death, even though you know rationally that “death is part of life” and is inevitable. There are thousands of situations and variations where you can experience negative emotions, but they can hide very deeply in your subconsciousness so even you are unaware of their presence. It’s nobody’s fault, it is the way it is. It’s human. But just admitting, allowing, and inviting them to come to the surface is in many cases enough.
  4. In the process of emotional dissection, I have found very helpful two things: One is meditation, and I already wrote about in other articles. The other method is writing three pages every morning. I learned this method some years ago from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, and since then I write every morning. It doesn’t really matter what you write about as long as you do it every day. Cameron believes that this helps clean out your mental trash every morning, and I assure you that it works very well for me. Get a pretty notebook and start tomorrow. Write about anything you want, the content doesn’t matter. You may put your thoughts, your feelings, your intentions, and desires, or your plan for the day. You don’t even have to read it after that, and nobody else will, so just write. You don’t have to be a writer either. As long as you are literate and can write, in any language, do it. I already have seven notebooks, filled with my life in the past few years. Will I even read them again, I don’t know. But they served their purpose and they still do.
  5. Building your self-esteem and cultivating self-love. Improving self-esteem is a very individual journey. It’s a key part of feeling happy within ourselves, and of feeling that we’re succeeding in the things that matter to us. It is also your road to health. It may be also a slow and difficult process; it’s not a twenty-four hour makeover. But don’t give up, it’s worth the time and effort! There are few methods that can be used to “treat” low self-esteem, even if you believe you don’t have that “disorder”. Again, don’t confuse self-esteem with self-confidence, these are different things, you may be very confident, but if you are reading post, you  may have some of this “low-self-esteem disease” as well.

 Below is a brief schema of the thyroid healing plan; some steps can be omitted if they are not relevant to the specific situation. This is also the plan I usually follow when working with clients, suffering from thyroid disorders.

ThyroidHealingPlan2

More information on this subject you can find in my book: “Mental, Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Thyroid Disorders”.

Hope it all helps your healing journey!

Svetla

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Rethinking Graves’ Disease and any other autoimmune disease for that matter

Rethinking Graves’ Disease, and any other autoimmune disease for that matter

img5The science keeps silence regarding what is the cause of Graves’ disease and similar autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s disease, Lupus, Diabetes type I, Rheumatoid Arthritis and many others. We, the public and the affected, speculate at large what caused our autoimmune disorders and probably we’ll never know for sure, neither will our doctors. Especially when the disorder is a possible combination of numerous factors: chemicals like fluoride (even though some decades ago it was used in fact for treating hyperthyroidism), pollution, the genetically modified foods we consume every day, heredity, exhausted adrenal glands due to massive and chronic stress, single traumatic events or mycoplasma bacterium (as noted by some clinicians). The pure physical causes may vary depending on circumstances and conditions, but chronic autoimmune diseases are, in fact, systematic malfunctions caused by collapses in the body chemistry balance. How is that happening? How our otherwise perfect body structure will allow this to happen?

img1There is almost 150-year history of hypothesizing that hyperthyroidism is a condition in which adaptive-defensive style and personal or environmental stressors are  significant predisposing and precipitating factors for the development of this disease. And that’s no surprise, because hyperthyroidism presents itself in a wide variety of behavioral symptoms such as active expression of emotional distress and instability in speech and behavior, all possibly suggesting mental illness. Graves’ Disease patients also seem to have significantly higher anxiety as a constant personality characteristic. Hyperthyroidism, in fact, is often confused with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), menopause, generalized anxiety, panic attacks and bipolar disorder. I am not familiar in details about the mental symptoms of the other autoimmune disorders but I am pretty sure that there are such, which suggests that mind and body worked hard together to create the complicated clinical picture of that particular disorder. Why would we think then that just by feeding the body with pharmaceuticals would solve entirely our medical problems? Do you think that our bodies are sick because they medications?

The result of all of the above factors, or even just one of them, is that our immune system is severely affected; it is not acting properly and is grossly disorganized. It cannot recognize the invaders anymore and starts attacking its own cells and different organs, as it is the case with Graves’ Disease. I believe we can take measures to improve our biochemistry through proper nutrition, different naturopathic methods or traditional measures like medications, but is this enough?

Sickness in any form, I believe, is always a reflection of inner, spiritual problems that interrupt the body’s naturally powerful immune system. Autoimmune diseases begin in the spirit and end up in the body, manifesting themselves in different chronic disorders. Same may not be true for acute illnesses even though I suspect a psychosomatic factor there as well.

Unresolved issues, energy blockages and suppressed emotions play an equal role in the initial setting of any disorder and they may interrupt the natural bio-repair process in the body. The healing process may stop or not work at all unless we also pay attention to our emotional detoxification and spiritual development. The mind and the spirit play a significant role in that healing process and should not be disregarded. They may boost the natural defense mechanisms to reverse the underlying cause of the disease in such a way that no medication can accomplish. Nurturing the body chemically (with proper food, not pharmaceuticals), structurally (meaning exercise), energetically, emotionally and spiritually is the best strategy for approaching Graves’ Disease and any other autoimmune disorder.

dandelions

So, what’s your soul craving for?

If you could, what would you change in your life?

How could you love more, or take better care of yourself ?

Here are some 101 ways to cope with stress:

And above all: 101 Self- Loving Acts

Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism Treatment Options

  Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism treatment options vary in their effectiveness, long term results and efficiency. So far, the medicine even after 100 years has not advanced a lot and acknowledges only 3 types of treatment. Please, consider the text below only as additional information.

   1. Medication: In the United States and many other countries two main brands of anti-thyroid medication are used: Methimazole and Propylthioyracil (PTU). The function of both antithyroid drugs is similar: to adjust the levels of the two hormones produced by the thyroid, free thyroxine (FT4) and free triiodothyronine (FT3), and to increase thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is the third important thyroid hormone. For their  normal ranges, please, refer to Thyroid Test Results. The philosophy behind the antithyroid drug treatment is that when the organism gets adjusted to the correct thyroid levels with the help of medication, soon it can do it on its own and the medication can be gradually reduced until no longer needed.  Easy said than done. That’s why this is the slowest known therapy as in many cases the drug dosage should be constantly adjusted until the desired results are achieved. The antithyroid drug therapy is chosen by some doctors as a primary choice of treatment and some others consider it as preparation of the patient for a consequent RAI treatment.

Methimazole. It is used to manage hyperthyroidism associated with Graves’ disease. Methimazole is generally well-tolerated with side effects occurring in 3 out of every 100 patients. The most common side effects are related to the skin and include rash, itching, hives, abnormal hair loss, and skin pigmentation. If you experience any of these side effects, please, consult your physician immediately. They usually appear if the doze is not correct so this should be adjusted as soon as possible. While many people see improvement in their FT4 levels, TSH remains unchanged for a prolonged period of time.

Propylthyoracil (PTU) is the other antithyroid drug prescribed for Graves’ Disease and hyperthyroidism. It is considered safer and usually is better tolerated by people, to my personal observation. It is administered to pregnant women suffering from Graves’ Disease more often as it is considered harmless for the baby and causes minimum birth defects.

The main concern of the doctors here is that the patient may relapse later. Yes, I agree, however it may or may not happen.

2. Thyroidectomy is the second treatment option for hyperthyroidism. This is a surgical removal of the thyroid gland, and is the oldest known treatment option for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism. Surgery is also an option for people who have a very large goiter, and those who are allergic to, or who may develop severe side effects from the antithyroid drug used to treat hyperthyroidism. Thyroidectomy could be partial or total, depending on the portion of thyroid to be removed. Total thyroidectomy, along with many other side effects will result in permanent hypothyroidism, i.e the patients need to take thyroid medication for hypothyroidism for the rest of their lives.

3.  Radioactive Iodine Treatment (RAI). This is the option most doctors will recommend even though I consider it the most dangerous. It has many side effects as well, and similarly to thyroidectomy will result in permanent hypothyroidism. Thyroid Eye Disease in most of the cases will not improve, but will get worse, as noted in many researches on the subject. Why the doctors prefer to ignore that information or even not disclose it to the patients still remains a mystery to me.

 4. Alternative natural treatments or a combination of antithyroid drug therapy and holistic methods. This I consider the most effective and harmless, but probably is the longest therapy. The Natural treatment system for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism  will involve change of diet, supplements, herbs, physical exercises, yoga, meditation, to name a few. Life style changes and stress management are also necessary. It is a total makeover and works not only on the symptoms but on the causes of Graves ’ disease and Hyperthyroidism as well. It’s a life changing experience, not just masking the symptoms or destroying vital parts of the body system like the thyroid gland. Both, antithyroid drug therapy and holistic methods can work together for faster results and they can be seen literally in a few weeks.

 5. No treatment, left untreated. This should not happen ever. Graves’ disease and Hyperthyroidism are dangerous autoimmune diseases which, if left untreated may cause a Thyroid Storm, a condition that may lead to death.

7 signs that you need a Health Coach

How many times you’ve said to yourself: I can’t do it, it’s too much, it’s overwhelming, I don’t know where to start, I need a plan and I can’t make one, and if I do, I can’t stick with it.   If you heard yourself saying that, I would suggest hiring a Health coach. These are your particular reasons:

  1. You feel like you’re chasing your tale. No matter what decision you make to change your life, your diet, your habits or anything that needs to be changed, you end up doing NOTHING. You need a Health coach, to create an action plan and walk you through the process.
  2. No matter how well you know you have to tell your husband to pick up his dirty dishes, to hire a baby sitter, or to spend less than 70 something hours in the office, or get rid of your constantly wining friend, ask for a raise, or just get a decent massage, or a manicure for that matter- and you are not doing it… You need a Health coach as a sounding board, a non-judgmental friend, and a partner to whom you can voice your concerns and fears, and even practice “how to say difficult things to loved and not so loved ones”.
  3. You continue to swear that this will be your last junk food, and you’ll eat healthy, nutritional foods only, and you’ll take your vitamins and supplements and drink 8 glasses of water with every meal- but you’re still not doing it. Well, you need a health coach, to create a diet plan for you, and help you stick with that plan, for your own sake.
  4. You promised yourself, and it’s also included in your New Year’s resolutions, that you’ll go to the gym at least 3 times a week, or run, or bike, or do meditation and  yoga, but you’re so tired to even get out of the bed or think about it. You need a Health Coach so you can find out what’s the best option for you, that will suite your health needs and goals.  The Health coach will hold your hand while you’re doing the small steps.
  5. You don’t know where to start, it all seems so overwhelming, and difficult, and challenging, and so you just drop off everything. You need a Health coach to keep you accountable and prioritize with you, and make plans with you and for you, until you can do that on your own.
  6. You want to be stress-free. You want to be healthy. You want to be better. You want to change your life style, once and forever. You need a Health Coach.
  7. Last but not least- you have a chronic disease, like Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism, and it’s not getting any better for the past few months, you definitely need a Health coach, to guide you through saving your own health. Health Coaching can help you change the destructive life style that led to the manifestation of this disease.

For sure, have in mind that Health coach is not any of the following:

A personal trainer, or:

  • A gym teacher
  • A yoga instructor
  • Someone barking orders at you

None of the above. And the coaching process is very simple, it will respond to all of these questions for you:

What do you want to accomplish?

  1. How your life will be different?
  2. What are you doing already in that direction?
  3. What’s on your way now?
  4. What small step you can make today, tomorrow, this week, this month that will move you toward your goal?
  5. What help and support you need today, from me, or anybody else?

In a CNN interview, Dr. Mehmet Oz reported that health coaches should be a part of every public clinic, medical office and hospital wellness center and should be reimbursed by insurance companies & corporate wellness programs.  But- they are not yet!

If you want to schedule your coaching session now, and move on, click here:

Health Coaching fro Graves’ Disease Patients

3 “Hyperthyroidism Herbs”- worth growing, owing and drinking!

I’m a lot into alternative and herbal medicine, just experimenting all the time. You probably know me by now.:). But that’s me- so, regarding the information below- use your own judgement, of course. 

There are in fact many herbs, that can positively influence hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease but there are 3 that are “must have” in your herbal kitchen and use them regularly, instead of all the sodas and artificial juices sold in the stores.

 Motherwort (Leonurus cardiac) – it is a member of the mint family. You can find this plant pretty much everywhere on the planet, in all continents. It can be also cultivated in your garden. Motherwort balances the hormones generally and helps palpitations; it strengthens the heart beat without increasing the pulse.

Motherwort helps bring on a delayed or suppressed menstrual flow, especially when someone is anxious and tense, it’s also used to improve fertility and anxiety, it helps also the hot flashes in menopause. You can use it as a tea, or a tincture, or even make your own.

It reduces blood pressure. Do not use if you are pregnant. Bitter taste. It also has sedative and antispasmodic properties.

Hawthorn (Crataegus species) has been used to treat heart disease as far back as the 1st century. By the early 1800s, American doctors were using it to treat circulatory disorders and respiratory illnesses. It’s a thorny three, which gives red berries in late summer, early fall. It contains compounds that support the heart and circulatory system. It’s found to be beneficial for heart muscle weakness, for pressure, tightness in the chest and for mild arrhythmia. In some scientific researches it’s found that hawthorn interact with key enzymes in the heart to increase pumping force of the heart muscle and it also works to dilate the blood vessels. Hawthorn also helps painful joints and stabilizes the collagen in the bone itself. It also helps bloods shot eyes, glaucoma, swollen ankles and varicose veins. It can be used as a substitute of a beta- blocker. 

It’s available in capsules, tablets and tinctures, but my favorite is Hawthorn tea, some of the capsules include not only the berries, but also leaves and flowers.

To make a tea from these berries, you generally use a teaspoon per cup. Let it brew for a few minutes before drinking.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) (The officinalis stands for “officially recognized as a medicinal herb”).

This is one of my favorite herbs and I already have written about it a lot. It’s an “easy herb”, you can grow it in a pot on your window, or in your garden. Lemon balm has been used for centuries to relieve anxiety and sleeplessness; it has mild sedative effect, relieves menstrual cramps, fights cold sores, relaxes nerves, and eases indigestion. Combined with Valerian roots it’s often used for insomnia treatment. It also helps hot flashes associated with menopause. 

The flavonoids and polyphenolics found in the Lemon balm have been identified as inhibiting the excessive thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).  The TSH is blocked for further stimulating the excessively active thyroid gland. Generally it helps the action of the anti-thyroid drug, and acts like one in mild cases. I’ve been using that herb as “sleep helping tea” for many years and I also know that it’s gentle on children and even babies.

I would not suggest combining and drinking these herbs altogether for “faster results”. I would suggest  trying them on for a few days, i.e drink Hawthorn tea for a few days (only), Lemon Balm tea after that, Motherwort for the next 3 and see how you feel. We are all different as people, we feel differently. Try it cold, hot, as an infusion, or you can even steep it overnight.  

Happy “tea”ing! Happy drinking! See you soon…

Svetla

Click on the corresponding books to find out more. Or   get them all in a package deal (you save $40.00):


 

Grounding Energy for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism

 Many of us, diagnosed with Graves’ Disease and hyperthyroidism suffer from different  debilitating symptoms such as loss of concentration, feeling vulnerable, mental impairment,  memory lapses, diminished attention span, irritability, fatigue, insomnia (inability to get enough  sleep), restlessness, tachycardia (rapid heart rate: 100-120 beats per minute, or higher),  increased energy, very emotional, or just feeling plain crazy. 

 There is a simple explanation of this phenomenon which includes our sympathetic and  parasympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system is responsible for Charging and  Expression, and Parasympathetic Nervous system is responsible for Winding Down and Rest.  This is called Vasomotoric Circle and is first discovered by the Norwegian psychologist Gerda  Boysen.  In the past the first was used usually to describe the “fight or flight” response, but today we simply use it for “hurry and worry”. In a few words when we experience excessive levels of stress–whether from internal worry or external circumstance–a bodily reaction is triggered, called the “fight or flight” (hurry and worry) response. 

Originally discovered by the Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon, this response is hard-wired into our brains and represents a genetic wisdom designed to protect us from bodily harm. This response actually corresponds to an area of our brain called the hypothalamus, which, when stimulated, initiates a sequence of nerve cell firing and chemical release that prepares our body for running or fighting. In many people diagnosed with hyperthyroidism this area- the sympathetic nervous system is actually overloaded. We never make it to the other cycle, winding down and rest. And we need something that will bring us to the equilibrium and harmony, with which we are initially born.

There are a few exercises that I usually suggest, especially of you are feeling restless, too energized or too “charged”, that may bring you close to the “winding and resting cycle”. I know how impossible is at this point to just sit and meditate, which will be the best scenario. However, there are other things that can be done to “slow” you down and keep you in the reality:

1.   Grounding exercise: Get on your knees and hands,  place your palms and knees on the ground. Imagine the excess energy flowing out of your palms and even pouring out of your head. You’ll release only the excess energy to the Earth, simply “grounding” yourself. As you release this energy you can place the intent that such energy is used for healing the Planet. If you cannot reach down (let’s say you are in your office and it will be a little weird to kneel down), you can just imagine the energy flowing out of your hands and feet into the ground.

2.  Hug a tree. If you are lucky enough to have a back yard, or a park nearby, you can do a similar exercise. Imagine the tree taking the excess energy for its own healing, grounding it through the roots. You can even imagine yourself as a tree and let the energy drain through your own roots.

3Keep it simple. Eat simple foods, do simple things, live simple. Be less complicated. Ask yourself: “Is this too complicated for me”, if it is, just drop it.

4.  Progressive muscle relaxation techniques, where you contract and then relax each muscle group moving progressively from the toes to the head. You can use some relaxing music.

5.  Mindfulness meditation- that’s simply noticing what you’re doing, and how are you doing it. Observing and noticing what surrounds you, and paying attention to details. “I’m stepping on the floor, the floor is cold, my left feet hurts, my right hand is touching the walls, they are smooth and pink”, etc.

6.   Finally- dance slowly..I am posting a poem, which I received from one of you, I believe it is written by a cancer  patient, but it says everything I ever wanted to say:


 SLOW DANCE

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a
butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the
fading night?


You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask : “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say, ‘Hi’

You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry
through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
Here are some other techniques for “slow dancing”
or yoga and breathing exercises:

23 Foods to help Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease

Diet is a big selling word worldwide..There is a diet fro pretty much everything.Most of us suffering with thyroid problems believe that eating the right food or avoiding the wrong one will cure us from hyperthyroidism or Graves’ Disease.

This is true and not really true. No matter what you eat the next 24 hours it will not cure your hyperthyroidism overnight. But maintaining a proper diet in a long-term plan will cut a lot of your symptoms, will help your immune system to fight the over active thyroid and basically will improve in natural way the performance of your thyroid.

Accordingly, any food that naturally inhibits the thyroid overproduction is good, especially if you are diagnosed with overactive thyroid/ hyperthyroidism. These foods are called goitrogens, they can act as antithyroid drugs (like PTU and methimazole).

This is a short list of foods that may help your hyperthyroidism, some of them are called cruciferous vegetables, some of them are just fruits that do a similar job.

Cruciferous vegetables and goitrogenic fruits:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard greens
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips
  • Millet
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Mizuna
  • Garden cress
  • Water cress
  • Daikon
  • Wasabi
  • Bok choy
  • Komatsuna
  • Rapini
  • Soybean and soy products, including tofu
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches


The above listed vegetables and fruits are enough to cover any food diversity for a week, you can mix and match, add meat, or river fish (this is not dangerous as it does not contain iodine), or anything else that comes to your mind.

Why not give a boost to the thyroid medication? But yes, just eating the above foods will not be enough..

Please, feel free to share any recipe, or diet suggestion, or idea you may have regarding hyperthyroidism diet.

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