Hashimoto’s disorder is an autoimmune disorder, in which immune system turns against the body’s own thyroid gland. This condition can lead to hypothyroidism. This is when the thyroid is unable to make enough hormones for body’s needs. According to American Thyroid Association (ATA), around 20 million people in the US have some form of thyroid disorder and at least 60 percent of those who do are not even aware of it. What causes this disorder is not yet fully known but stressful life is considered to be one main factor involved in the prevalence of this disorder.
This first sign of this disorder could be a goiter, which is a growth in the thyroid gland. For me one of the first signs I noticed was after I finished breast feeding my son. I was nursed him for seven months and was (finally) sleeping so I shouldn’t have felt so tired. Yet I felt like I had cinder blocks attached to my feet and that I was in a constant fog. It was unlike the regular tired you feel with a newborn, this was worse because no matter what I did I couldn’t get rid of the “groggy fog”. No coffee or espresso was a match for this awful feeling, ha!
Other symptoms of Hashimoto’s include:
People are familiar with the benefits of yoga with regards to general health. Yoga also has great significance in treating thyroid disorder. Practicing yoga is an excellent alternative approach to managing Hashimoto’s disorder when complimenting with proper medication. Yoga alone is not the enough to treat thyroid disorder but it can help patient to manage other symptoms of the disorder and in some cases may reduce medication. I found yoga practice very helpful, and highly recommend it as a supplement to your doctor’s protocol.
Some effective yoga techniques to support thyroid disorder recover:
Cat pose (Marjaraasana):
The thyroid gland has one of the largest blood supplies in our body. The compression and stretch created by this pose affect blood circulation and thyroid function.
Shoulder stand pose (Sarvangasana):
One of the most important pose to stimulate the thyroid gland. During this pose, blood flows from legs to head region. Due to its inverted position, it helps in managing thyroid blood circulation.
Fish Pose (Matsyasana):
In this pose, a person takes the form of fish. It provides enough stretching to the neck region for stimulation of thyroid gland.
Bow pose (Dhanurasana):
This pose massages the thyroid gland effectively and stimulates the gland to produce the hormone to hopefully manage the disorder. Avoid this pose if you have high-low blood pressure, constipation, diarrhea or severe headaches.
Dancer Pose (Natarajasana):
If bow pose is uncomfortable another variation you can also try is Dancer Pose, like shown below. This is a standing pose and while the back arches, it helps to stimulate the thyroid, even if you don’t have too much arch in your back.
Yoga can be beneficial to the Hashimoto’s disease because the poses and breathing exercise induce relaxation and help to reduce stress. Stress management is highly important for thyroid health. According to some research reviews, there are seven ways yoga helps to reduce the stress. Three of these are psychological and include mindfulness, self-compassion, and positive affirmations. The other four are biological and include brain stimulation, anti-inflammatory, protein modulation and reduction of cortisol. Yoga techniques also involve loosening and stretching of the neck area, where thyroid gland sits. These techniques help circulation of blood flow and removal of toxins.
It is good to practice some physical activity and meditation every day, but it is important for a patient with Hashimoto’s disorder to consult with your doctor before starting any kind of exercise. It is also not recommended to attempt any of the stretching or advanced form of yoga for this disorder without the presence of a qualified instructor.
When I lived in Los Angeles, there was a yoga studio in Santa Monica, that had a specialized Yoga Therapy for Thyroid conditions. I learned so much in these classes. In fact, I studied on a regular basis for a year, took notes, and practiced on my own. I believe learning in that type of environment really had such a positive effect on my thyroid. Although I am off the Synthroid, and my thyroid is functioning well, I occasionally practice a few of the moves, as they have lasting benefits.
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