About half of the estimated 27 million Americans with Thyroid disease remain undiagnosed, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Hypothyroidism refers to the lack of thyroid hormones in the blood.
Thyroid problems and the presence of antibodies against the thyroid (which predict hypothyroidism) are more common in women, and increase with age. Depending on your risk profile, your doctor may recommend a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood test. TSH is released by the pituitary gland; when the thyroid bogs down, the pituitary releases more TSH. If you have normal levels of TSH, your test score will be from 0.4 to 2.5. Between 2.5 and 4 means you are at risk for hypothyroidism, and should be retested within a year. Above 4 means you have a mild case. Doctors used to resist treating patients in this category (clinical hypothyroidism starts at 10).
Treating such patients with diet modification and exercise can help prevent cardiovascular disease by reducing bad, LDL and the risk of hardened arteries while improving Waist-to-hip Ratio and increasing energy. So if your symptoms led to a TSH test and you scored higher than 4, you and your doctor should discuss treatment.
Exercise is an important factor in the treatment of hypothyroidism. Exercise increases tissue sensitivity to the thyroid hormone and stimulates thyroid gland secretion. This is especially true in people who are dieting; this is because when dieting the metabolic rate decreases but exercise prevents this decline. An exercise regime of between 15-20 minutes per day will be beneficial with hypothyroidism. This exercise needs to be strenuous enough to raise the heartbeat, an exercise such as walking, swimming, running and cycling.
Yoga can be of tremendous help to regulate the under-active thyroid gland. There are specific Yoga poses which helps to massage endocrine glands and regulate their functions.
The Asanas for Low Thyroid
- To start with, lie flat on the floor. The arms should rest along the sides, palms downwards. Exhale once, bend the knees, and bring them up towards the chin till the thighs press the stomach. Breathe normally.
- Now, exhale and supporting the buttocks with the hands, raise the trunk till it becomes perpendicular to the floor. Now, your body will be supported by the back of the head, the neck, the shoulder and the backs of the arms up to the elbows. To push the trunk into the vertical position, you will need to gradually move the hands towards the waist. The head continues to rest on the floor, so that the trunk also becomes perpendicular to the head. Once it is correctly perpendicular, the chin will touch the chest.
- Now, raise the legs and make them vertical, in line with the trunk, with the toes pointing upwards. Breathe evenly, calmly and easily. Stay in the pose for a few minutes and feel the good it is doing you.
- To release the pose, gently move the legs downwards, release the hands and let the body become flat again. You may also bring the legs down so that the knees approach the ears, and then gradually bring the legs down. Be gentle on your body. Never apply excessive stress. To start with, practice the initial position, drawing the knees towards the chin.
- Release the pose gently.
- Lie on your stomach. Bend knees, hold the ankles. Pull your hands and push with your legs, knees together, till the trunk forms an arch with only the stomach on the ground. Look up.
- After releasing the posture lie for a while in Shavasana.
- Sit with legs folded backwards, heels apart, knees and toes together.
- Adjust your hips between the heels (Vajrasana). Slowly raise your arms over the head.
- While exhaling, slowly bend forward and stretch your palms on the floor with abdomen pressing against the thighs.
- Then bring your face downwards and touch the floor with the forehead without raising the buttocks. Inhaling slowly, return to an upright position, reversing the process.
- Lie down on your back with your legs straight and your feet together. Place your hands, palms down, underneath your thighs.
- Pressing down on your elbows, inhale and arch your back. Drop your head back so that the top of your head is on the floor, but your weight should rest on your elbows. Exhale. Breathe deeply while in the position, keeping your legs and lower torso relaxed. To come out of the pose, lift your head and place it gently back down, then release the arms.
- Start by kneeling on the floor and cross your ankles at the back. If you have a knee injury, you could perform the simhasana (lion pose) by sitting down and folding your legs. Your back needs to be upright with your hands resting on the thighs
- After this, inhale deeply through your nose and then exhale with your mouth opened wide and tongue extending outwards.
- While exhaling, you should make a distinctive “ha” sound, resembling the roar of a lion, such that the breath passes over the back of your throat. You should also ensure to fix your gaze at the spot between the eyebrows or at the top of your nose.
- Repeat this at least 10 times consecutively for maximum benefits. While returning back to the original position, take your tongue in and breathe normally.
- Come up onto your knees. Take padding under your knees if they are sensitive.
- Draw your hands up the side of your body as you start to open your chest.
- Reach your hands back one at a time to grasp your heels.
- Bring your hips forward so that they are over your knees.
- Let your head come back, opening your throat.
- It is the foundation of proper breathing and one of the most commonly practiced yoga breathing techniques.
- Inhale gently allowing the air to pass into the body with ease and no resistance.
Exhale make a sound with the mouth closed that sounds like “hhhhha”.
- Make the sound the same throughout the exhalation. This will indicate the same amount of air leaves the lungs throughout the exhalation. An uneven sound usually indicates an unsteady nervous system. This will smoothen out during practice.
- Resistance created by the sound slows down the breathing rate and creates a back pressure that helps keep the airways open.
Note : The Yoga poses referred here should only be used as alternative treatment and not as a substitute to medicine.