Had CoVid, and you are still not back to your old self?

Had CoVid, and you are still not back to your old self?

Have you had CoVid, and wondered why, weeks later, you’re still not back to your old self?

You may well be suffering from “long CoVid”, or “post CoVid”, and the after-effects of the virus.

I had covid about 8 weeks ago and the last of the symptoms, my fuzzy tongue, and ongoing fatigue really only began to shift in the last couple of weeks. This prolonged healing time is not uncommon for most viruses, but many of us have become much more aware of this part of the healing and recovery journey, since CoVid’s arrival. Just because you are no longer contagious and can return to work, does not mean that your body is fully recovered from the virus or the effects your body has weathered in defending itself against it.

Breathe release stress

Symptoms of the virus do seem to be different

Symptoms of the virus do seem to be different for everyone. They are often strongest in your individual body’s “weak” spots and tend to be the expression of where the virus is sitting in your body and has managed to get a foothold. The main symptoms I had initially, were a fuzzy edge around my whole tongue, skin irritation, sore neck, fever, inflamed glands, and fatigue. For a few days, I also had aches throughout my whole body. I was fortunate and only suffered those for a few days.

The all-encompassing fatigue was the worst. As a massage therapist, interacting regularly with numerous other people, I had to watch my energy levels. I love my clients with all my heart, even so, when my resilience levels are low, especially as an introvert, there is a finite number of people I can manage to work with each day, without feeling drained. For me, it was about prioritising my effectiveness with my clients. Meaning keeping my energy levels up. This meant that for a period of time, I couldn’t see as many clients as I usually would. This obviously had a business-level impact, but it also impacted me, as just an individual. So, to maximise my effectiveness with and for clients, my focus, my concentration, and my attitude, which all consume energy, and still have enough energy to cope with the rest of my life, I had become deliberate about what I did and didn’t do. I had to learn how to take my self-care and energy management habits to the next level.

This blog is about the things I learned along the way, and what we, the team at BlossomingMe, are now focusing on, to take even better care of ourselves and our clients, through the post-CoVid healing journey. Much of these actions and habits can also be applied to times when you go through any big changes in life. Whether it’s a virus, like Glandular Fever/ Epstein Barr virus, auto-immune reactions like Urticaria, or other skin reactions, or other life-changing events or stressors like moving house or having a baby. Especially in the postpartum period, close to delivery, when your body goes through more changes, in readjusting to no longer being pregnant, these actions and routines can help you feel better and recover more quickly.

Low Energy Levels

One of the first indications I had, that I was still suffering low energy and the general symptoms of “long CoVid”, was my business partner asking me, three mornings in a row, “what was wrong?”, “was everything ok?”. Whilst in the moment, this didn’t help, in that, it drew my attention to the negative emotions I was feeling, rather than helping me find and focus on the positive ones that were also there. It did make me realise that there was an issue that needed to be dealt with. That I hadn’t recovered as fully as I had thought. My resilience was still low and I wasn’t coping with challenges as well as I usually might.

Breathe release stress

One reason that managing my energy levels was, and still is, important is the effect that my energy levels, and therefore my resilience levels, have on my attitude. Like the spike proteins that are what allow the Coronaviruses to penetrate the host cells in our body and cause the infection, (https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Spike-Proteins.aspx), my personality became very prickly. Protecting my mental attitude, in order to lower my defensiveness and reduce my prickliness, as well as to increase my resilience and ability to cope when things around me didn’t go to plan, became a  mission. 

Journey to healing and recovery

Minimising the number of people I saw

Managing my energy levels was a multifold process. One aspect was managing people interactions, another was supporting and nurturing my body through its physical and emotional healing, and the third was maintaining my precious, positive headspace.

The people aspect, I managed basically by staying close to work and home. Keeping quiet and keeping close interactions with people to a minimum. Not being in crowds of people, not even for my birthday. This was really trimmed down to basically immediate family and clients only. Both lockdown and naturally being an introvert, certainly helped a lot with this.

Reducing the number of projects and ultimately tasks

Just like I deliberately minimised the number of people I saw, or more specifically, emotionally connected with, to keep my energy levels high. I came to realise just how much multitasking really does not equal multi-focusing. The process of focusing my concentration became a much more deliberate, intentional, and conscious one.

I found reducing my focus from broad to laser-focused hard because my natural bent is big picture and historically, details have not been my forte. In fact, they often downright scare and overwhelm me. However, whilst big picture thinking has its uses, when my energy was limited, what I really needed, was to focus on getting specific tasks done and completed.

I began learning to reduce the number of projects and ultimately tasks I was trying to do at once.  As Henry Ford said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”

I started to concentrate on breaking the projects down into bite-sized tasks. Small enough that I could action without overwhelming myself and freaking out or feeling completely exhausted and beaten before I’d even started. This process didn’t happen overnight and if I’m honest, is one that I am still learning.

One strategy is organising my week, at least mostly at the beginning of the week, so that the most important projects or tasks are prioritised and done. Another is to protect my headspace more, whilst I actually do these tasks. One way that helped me both organise my week better and protect my headspace, as I’d heard so many times before, was to set up business sprints. Short bursts of focused time, usually about 60-90 minutes each. The times for each of these sprints and what each one was dedicated to doing, were noted in my calendar and eventually even on my Trello board. This strategy helped me immensely, to structure my time and my focus so that I could keep the main thing, the main thing. It helped me lift the energy drain from feeling scattered and directionless and save my energy for my main focuses, my family, and my clients.

As well as consciously setting up, and learning to use these sprints of time, I used some of the spaces between them and clients, to clear my mind. Meditation is something I’ve been doing for a few years. My favourite styles are simple. Either repeating mantras or listening to guided visualisations. As Adam Fraser talks about in his book, “The Third Space”, (reading is another favourite relaxing and nurturing activity of mine) these spaces between activities became very valuable, in helping me to change my focus. They were especially useful when I ran into things like roadblocks in trying to solve a computer or technology issue. They helped me to separate mentally, from the issue and frustration around it, before stepping into a session with a client. So that I was able to leave the discomfort of dealing with machines, as well as my anxiety and prickliness, from the issue remaining unresolved, outside. That way I could also focus on the specific problems for the client at hand, and the joy of finding solutions for them.

Working with these strategies deliberately, step by step has helped me come out of my Post-CoVid recovery with a stronger mindset. So that I feel more in charge.

Self-nurturing and Supplementing

From a physical health perspective, one of the questions that came up for me was “can I accept nurturing​ from others​… yet?” for example an osteopathy treatment or remedial massage.​ To be honest, this may take a while to return. It certainly took me longer than I expected. Even as a touchy-feely massage therapist myself, as well as a generally huggy person, although I still definitely enjoyed a simple, long hug from my hubby,​ I did not feel the desire to be nurtured so much by others. Particularly not being touched much by others. I did have an osteopathic treatment a couple of weeks ago, to support my body’s healing, but it’s really only now, 8 weeks later, that I’m looking for a massage myself.

Self-nurturing, on the other hand, was very powerful and really felt like an essential part of my healing. What worked really well for me were frequent baths. Both simple, Epsom salt foot baths, and full-body soaks in detox baths. Using an easy, homemade recipe designed by our osteopath. These really helped to ease not only my body aches but my mental and emotional irritability and smooth my sharp edges around people, as well. They were also instrumental in helping me to regain and maintain my positive attitude as well as rebuild my resilience.

self care acupressure points

Supplementing with vitamins and herbs, such as Echinacea, especially at the beginning, can be very helpful in supporting your immune system to deal with the invading virus. While antioxidants like vitamin C, garlic, can work very well for your immune system longer term. Zinc can help the vitamin C be absorbed, and work better in your body. And finally, NAC (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) can amplify the effectiveness of the anti-oxidants and can be particularly helpful to your body in clearing out the spikey proteins, that the virus left behind.

This is how we take care of our clients

and encourage them to take care of themselves, post-CoVid, as well as post-childbirth, moving house and any number of other stressful events you may have experienced.

We would love to take care of you. Either through the process, if you so choose, or, you know, once you’ve resolved these initial symptoms. 

 

 

 

Let us guide you along your wellbeing journey BlossomingMe is a holistic health service located on Sydney’s Upper North Shore.

Our specialised Remedial Massage Therapist and Osteopath offer a fully integrated approach which assesses and addresses the specific issues in your body.

With a clear understanding of your goals, we treat both mind and body to help you live your best life.

 

When Will I Feel Better?

When Will I Feel Better?

When will it feel like I don’t have to keep coming back on such a frequent basis?

“When will I feel better?” – Most of our clients seeking Osteopathic treatment ask this question at some stage in their healing and recovery journey. This blog will address this frequently asked question with the aim to educate and manage expectations.

While it’s difficult to provide an exact answer, as everyone is different. We can however give you an idea of the ‘average’ recovery period  and the factors that might hasten your recovery.

Some people find the problem they came in with disappeared almost straight away. Others find it improves with each session, but over the first few weeks, it seems to keep coming back. This can sometimes feel like a boomerang, and you can become concerned that while treatment provides relief, it doesn’t appear to go away completely.

So how long does it take to get better after an osteopathic treatment?

While we know that by the 4th or 5th session, you will be well on your way in the healing process. We have also observed over and over again that it’s generally not until about the 8th session that clients really start to feel the transformation.

Can you explain why you recommend such a long treatment plan?

Within the first session or three, you will notice considerable relief and more mobility. You likely will even notice changes and improvements throughout the week. These improvements between sessions occur as your body continues to process and assimilate the changes and space created in the treatment session.

While you’ll feel some improvement, you  may find your body is feeling less comfortable again. This usually happens by the end of the period between sessions. If you notice this, we understand it’s easy to feel disheartened, and wonder whether a change is happening, or if you have to keep coming back…

Alexis Weidland Osteopath Blossoming Me Treating client

What can I do to aid my recovery?

  • Eat well – your body’s ability to heal is aided by good nutrition
  • Rest after treatments
  • Understand your body is trying to heal itself
  • Reduce emotional stress and strain as it slows recovery
  • Follow the treatment plan, do the exercises – Your daily exercises make a HUGE difference

Trust your body and follow the treatment plan

Our message to you, is this: keep an open mind, trust your body and follow the plan that we have created with you. As your body continues to heal and assimilate, a transformation happens! As stated above, this often is around the 8th to 10th session. At this point, you likely still are not “fixed”, but your body has started to stabilise. In this more stable place, your body can relax a little, allowing you to keep healing and strengthening, but simultaneously feel more resilient.

At this stage, you’re less likely to fall back into the old habits, movements and pain. And when a small disruption happens, you notice your body has more resilience, such that previously, when whatever challenge occurred, you would have been in pain for days. Whereas now, if there is pain, it seems to easily resolve itself in a day or so, or does not create a noticeable problem at all.

Treating underlying issues and maintenance

At this point, the space between treatment sessions can also increase. So that we can continue to stimulate healing and realignment, and deal with the underlying issues that contributed to your injury or compensation patterns in the first place, while allowing you to do more home-based maintenance. Allowing you to be in control of maintaining, improving, and dealing with any minor flare-ups along the way. While you focus on strengthening yourself in a more balanced way, to help you stay well and strong, and without pain.

It’s easy to forget

Some people quickly forget the problem they initially came in with. They become aware of all the other issues that they either: didn’t realise they had, didn’t realise that we could assist with. Often, in this situation, you can become so aware of the current symptom, and that it’s not as perfect as you would like yet, that it’s easy to forget the symptoms that have greatly improved or even completely disappeared. In this scenario, it’s probably not until the later stages of the first or second phases of the treatment process, around 10 sessions or more, that you begin to notice how far you have come and how good you feel – in general, and especially compared to what you felt when you began treatment.

 

Most importantly, know you can smile, and exhale, as Alexis’ caring, compassionate approach, combined with professional skills and qualifications as an Osteopath, means you are in safe hands.

If you are unsure about your response to treatment or would like some advice, don’t hesitate to contact Alexis directly, and she will do her best to guide you through.

With True Healing comes Resilience
Your Journey to Healing and Recovery

Your Journey to Healing and Recovery

It’s not a one-off event

Like success or anything else worthwhile, healing takes time. Many people think of the ability of our bodies to heal, for example back or knee pain, or an injury like a pulled hamstring muscle, as a one-off event. Others imagine this recovery takes place in a similar time frame to healing a broken bone (about 6 weeks). In reality, healing issues and injuries, such as these, usually involving soft tissues, like muscles and tendons, will begin to heal within this timeframe. However, they will rarely complete the healing and recovery process that quickly. In this blog, I will discuss how healing works and why healing takes time.

Many of our clients initially arrive at our clinic, in a great deal of pain and discomfort. As you can imagine, our first focus is to improve comfort and mobility. Then we focus on supporting and strengthening the body. This allows the changes to consolidate and build. Enabling this new posture or way of being to hold for longer and longer periods. Ultimately, this leads to improved health, strength, resilience, energy, and vitality. Unfortunately, this doesn’t all happen in one visit, it takes time. Often it will take many visits, as well as time for their body to assimilate these changes.

Women Initiative

During your body’s healing and recovery from an issue or injury, there are three clinical stages: Inflammation, Proliferative and Remodeling.

Inflammation

Inflammation is the first stage, and often our first sign that something is wrong and our body needs help. Actually, it’s part of the healing process itself. Our body’s early response to the injured tissues. Inflammation creates swelling and redness, due to the influx of supplies and reinforcements (particularly red and white blood cells), which the body directs specifically to the affected area. This launches the beginning of the process of healing and repairing the tissues, and can last up to 4 days.

 

Proliferation

The Proliferation stage begins about 3 days into the process, overlapping with the end of the Inflammation stage. In this stage, the tissues, for example, the muscles or tendons, are being rebuilt. As this happens, the tissues can contract, feeling tight, restricted, and often painful.

Remodelling

Remodelling is the last stage and can last 6 months to a year, after injury. This is the stage of re-educating our body, helping it regain its original strength and conditioning. It involves our body adapting to these re-educational changes and finally assimilating them. When done well, it can even enhance and improve the state of our body, from where we initially began. This is due to what we learn and change in that process of re-education. For instance, in the process, we can learn better habits of lifting, exercising, movement, and posture. So, if you improve your habits, you may find that after you’ve “recovered” from your injury, your body is actually stronger, more proficient and more resilient. You may even have more energy than before the issue or injury.

Journey to healing and recovery

Are healing bumps normal?

Healing rarely happens smoothly nor in an exact straight line, it’s not linear. Healing is a process. One that naturally goes up and down. The old saying of “two steps forwards and one step backward” can sometimes be how it feels. Sometimes things can feel worse before they start to feel better. Sometimes it can feel like you’re going backwards, when in reality, your body is working with and assimilating the changes it’s being led and encouraged to take. Unfortunately, this can be a common response during healing and even to treatment. So yes, there can be bumps in healing. It’s normal for the process to be a bumpy one.

If this is how your body responds, it can feel tight, uncomfortable, or even painful. We’re sorry to hear you’re suffering. If this sounds like what is happening for you, heat will usually be your friend. Consider a warm shower, an Epsom Salt bath, foot bath, or heat pack, to soothe and relax your muscles. If you have any questions or concerns, please call your practitioner, and they can help you understand what might be happening specifically in your body. We help you understand what your journey to healing and recovery might look like, we want you to feel better ASAP.

Healing is like a spiral

I have often heard clients and practitioner friends describe that healing is like “a series of hills or mountains to climb”. Especially when they get frustrated, it’s not progressing in the straight line they expected. My favourite image or shape to describe the healing process is a spiral. Looping around, coming back to a similar place. For instance, when we feel pain, discomfort, or tightness recur. But in fact, the process has actually moved forward. It has improved and gone to the next level, loosening muscles or releasing tension in places. But the body has gone as far as it can at this moment and hit the next point of resistance. That is the pain, discomfort, or tightness that we feel. With some more help, from you or your therapist, you can also move through this, to your next level of healing and recovery. Reaching an even higher level of strength, resilience, and energy.

Women Initiative

Healing is the new high

Through this up-and-down journey of healing and recovery, we observe that our clients are so focused on how they feel in the here and now, that they forget the more intense, constant pain, discomfort or tightness they suffered at the beginning. This is a normal and natural part of the healing and recovery process. But it reminds me, as a practitioner, to help my clients reflect back on how far they have come. To celebrate their wins at each step, no matter how small they sometimes seem. Feeling more positive about the healing process can empower, enhance and even increase the speed of healing, because we are then supporting rather than resisting it. Focusing positively on each milestone can make the journey of healing feel like a fabulous high.

Imagine for a moment what you would do if you could clear your pain sufficiently and improve your movement? 

During this strange and crazy time,  YOU are still our highest priority!

We can still treat you in person with Osteopathic and Massage services at our Turramurra clinic during COVID-19 lockdown.

So come in, feel nurtured as we provide you with the treatment and tools so you can feel brilliant again.

 

Where are you at in your journey to healing and recovery?

Join and comment in our Facebook Community Group – Essential Lifestyle Academy, we’d love to connect with you!

Hemp Seeds… Good or Bad?

Hemp Seeds… Good or Bad?

Hemp Seeds… Good or Bad?
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a plant, very similar to marijuana and is often confused as the same. While the leaf of the marijuana plant contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is activated when the leaves are heated, leading to pychoactive effects, hemp only contains tiny amounts of THC.
Used nutritionally, hemp seeds are used either whole or crushed to release the oils. Heating is avoided to keep the fragile oils, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients bioactive.
A Good Source of Healthy Fats
Hemp is a good source of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids. It is one of the largest sources of ALA, a precursor to EPA and DHA (the bioactive forms of omega 3 fatty acids found in wild, deep sea fish). While ALA does not convert at high levels, being a rich source of plant based healthy fats, it is very beneficial, especially for those who choose to live a vegan lifestyle.
Hemp also contains GLA, a specific omega-6 fatty acid as well as many phytosterols. Phytosterols have been shown to have the potential to actually help to remove fat build up in arteries.
A Great Source of Vegan Protein
Containing all of the 10 essential amino acids required for making and repairing proteins, hemp is a great plant source of “whole protein”. Further, while many plant sources of protein contain phytates which can be called “anti-nutrients” as they are difficult to digest, reduce mineral absorption and can create gut irritation in some people, hemp does not contain phytates.
A Real Powerhouse!
So, Hemp seeds are a good source of macronutrients (carbohydrates including fibre, fats and proteins).
Well, they are also a good source of micronutrients, containing many vitamins and minerals including: calcium; iron; magnesium; phosphate; potassium; zinc; some B vitamins (including folate); vitamin C; vitamin A; and vitamin E.
This makes hemp seeds a powerhouse of nutrition. It may be especially important as a good source of magnesium as many people these days are tend to be deficient and it is a mineral that is important in many biological functions. While magnesium deficiency can be linked to issues such as insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease and bone health. Supplementation shows promise in alleviating symptoms of PMS such as bloating, insomnia, water retention, weight gain and breast tenderness, along other things
So, Do I Try It?
Hemp seeds then, contain many healthful compounds, are a good source of proteins, carbohydrates ad healthy fats, do not contain a significant amount of THC and so far, at least, have not shown evidence of any potential negative side effects. It may then, be worth having a try, to see how it affects you, take it cautiously at first and write in a journal any changes you feel. If after a week of taking up to 2 Tablespoons a day has helped your feeling of wellbeing and hasn’t shown you any concerns (remember to read back over your journal to find any possible correlations), then maybe you can continue to use them in your health regime. If you find you don’t like the results, then maybe they are not right for you, remember, each person has a different biochemical make up, so the aim is to find things that work to support you and your unique body.
Menopause – I don’t know who I am anymore… is this the way it is now?

Menopause – I don’t know who I am anymore… is this the way it is now?

I don’t know who I am anymore… is this the way it is now?

Perimenopause, Menopause and Post-menopause

10 tips to a comfortable menopause journey

So, we know that menopause is a process that happens to all women at some
point. Many of us assume that the common symptoms of perimenopause
including hot flushes, irritability and discomfort are a “normal” and
inescapable part of the process. You may be surprised to know that this is not
the case! As with puberty, while our bodies change, it is not a life sentence.
It can just be a transition. It is true that many women suffer horribly. It is
also true, that with a diet and lifestyle that supports our hormones to balance,
including cortisol and DHEA as well as the more widely known oestrogen and
progesterone, we can transition through this period of life, comfortably! Life
after menopause can be lively, exciting and something to look forward to. A
stage of life blessed with increased wisdom and being comfortable in your own
skin. Travelling through your Golden years with ease and grace.

Symptoms

These tend to vary
from person to person and some women hardly notice any. An incomplete list
includes:

  • Hot flushes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Worse PMS
  • Lower Sex drive
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Discomfort during sex (due to dryness)
  • Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing
  • Urinary urgency
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Trouble Sleeping

Perimenopause is the transitional stage between regular monthly periods and reaching menopause (defined as the point in time when a woman has had 12 months since her last period). The stage after this is classified as post-menopause.

Pre-menopause is the stage of life between puberty and menopause. A stage where hormones tend not to fluctuate much, a woman tends not to suffer any symptoms associated with menopause and she is in her reproductive years.

Perimenopause begins when the oestrogen produced in the ovaries starts to
reduce. Often resulting in several years of irregular periods due to the more
sporadic release of oestrogen and progesterone (as well as cortisol and DHEA).
Sometimes the hormonal fluctuations as so large or out of balance that we may
experience symptoms such as depression, moodiness and irritability, weight
gain, discomfort, reduced memory and concentration, muscle aches, as sense of
being uncomfortable in our own skin, hot flushes, hair loss, breast tenderness,
reduced libido and sexual pleasure and vaginal dryness, to name a few. This
stage may begin sometime between the ages of 35 and 50 years and can last from
as little as a few months, to as long as 15 years with the average, being
around 4 years. In the final stage, oestrogen levels may decline sharply. Symptoms
may be most pronounced at this time, expanding to include things like urinary urgency
and frequency or even incontinence; depression and anxiety as well as night
sweats, fatigue and skin dryness.

Menopause occurs when there is no longer enough oestrogen produced by the ovaries to trigger the uterine lining to build, the release of an egg or the shedding of the uterine lining. This is the point where fertility ceases. Contrary to what some of us thought, during the perimenopausal stage, conception is still possible.

Treatments:

Medications:

Doctors can prescribe

  • Oestrogen creams for vaginal dryness, pain and discomfort
  •  Progesterone creams for breast tenderness
  •  The pill or other hormone replacement therapies to try to minimise symptoms
  •  Creams or tablets to reduce bladder irritability

Look into the options and side effects for yourself before you decide

10 Natural Tips for a Comfortable Menopause Journey
  • Exercise
  • Stop smoking
  • Get more rest/sleep
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Be in a healthy weight range
  • Ensure you don’t have a vitamin or mineral deficiency (magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, omega 3, evening primrose oil [internal or topical])
  • Reduce foods that have the potential to alter hormone balance in the body => Processed, hydrogenated and trans-fats; Highly refined carbohydrates (especially sugars); Caffeine; Alcohol
  • Pelvic floor exercises to support the pelvic area and the bladder (as incontinence is a symptom of hormonal imbalance associated with perimenopause)
  • Using natural oils (jojoba, coconut, olive) as lubricants down there as a lubricant during sex, or during the day to allow more comfort
  • Add an anti-inflammatory, alkalising, plant rich diet

Always consult your doctor if you have strong pain, very heavy bleeding or bleeding for more than 7 days longer than your usual period

I Sleep, but I’m always TIRED… Maybe its my Thyroid

I Sleep, but I’m always TIRED… Maybe its my Thyroid

I Sleep, but I’m always TIRED… Maybe its my Thyroid

Depending on which source you look at, Thyroid conditions affect women somewhere between 4 and 10 times more than men. The Thyroid Foundation of Canada states that about 5% of the world population is affected and the Australian Thyroid Foundation adds that 1 million Australians currently have an undiagnosed Thyroid issue (that’s 1 in 25 people!). As rates of thyroid conditions (especially hypothyroidism) tend to increase as we age and we have an aging population, we may expect to see numbers increase further. The Thyroid Foundation of Canada goes on to state that Thyroid disorders are very treatable. Given that a large percentage of the affected population is unaware of their situation, this would lead to a substantial number of people, unnecessarily feeling fatigue, irritability, discomfort and with an inability to be fully productive.

What is the Thyroid?

The Thyroid gland is an important part of the endocrine system. Its job is to control many bodily functions via secreting hormones – T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). They regulate the body’s temperature, metabolism and heart rate and in doing so affect many areas. The Pituitary (and Hypothalamus) glands monitor and control the amount of T3 & T4 that the Thyroid releases. Thyroid conditions create either a state of Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism, that is, too much or too little thyroid hormone production, respectively.

Causes:

Thyroid disorders may be caused by iodine deficiency; autoimmune diseases (namely Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Graves’ Disease); viral and bacterial induced inflammation (thyroiditis); congenital; malignant (cancerous) and benign tumours/nodules on the thyroid gland, disfunction of the pituitary or Hypothalamus glands; or as a result of some treatments (surgical removal of the thyroid gland [or part there of] & toxic changes from radioactive iodine therapy).

Symptoms

Symptom combinations tend to vary as there are many factors involved, further, as symptoms tend to start slowly and gradually progress, it may take a while for sufferers to realise that they are not just tired or stresses etc.

Hypothyroidism

  • weak slow heart beat
  • muscular weakness and constant fatigue
  • sensitivity to cold
  • thick puffy skin and/or dry skin
  • pale and cold (maybe clammy) skin
  • poor appetite
  • brittle hair
  • voice may be croaky and hoarse
  • slowed mental processes and poor memory
  • weight gain/difficulty losing weight
  • constipation
  • goitre (increased size of the thyroid)

Hyperthyroidism

  • rapid, forceful heartbeat
  • tremor/shaking/palpitations
  • muscular weakness (due to muscle loss)
  • weight loss (due to muscle and fat loss) in spite of increased appetite
  • restlessness/irritability, nervousness/anxiety and sleeplessness
  • profuse sweating
  • heat intolerance
  • hot, moist skin
  • diarrhea
  • eye changes (generally bulging)
  • goitre (increased size of the thyroid)

Treatment:

Hypothyroidism

Generally is treated by medicating with T4 thyroid hormones (and sometime T3 also). This is a life-long treatment and requires frequent blood test monitoring.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition creating a low level of Thyroid hormones and is the most common cause of Hypothyroidism. As with all autoimmune diseases, the immune system is over-active and is associated with inflammation. A diet and lifestyle that reduces inflammation and supports the immune system to balance, may be of benefit in combination with medication and monitoring. It is also worth noting that generally only T4 hormone medication is given, but some people respond better with a combination of T3 & T4 hormone medications. Further, some people find that animal derived Thyroid hormones are more effective for them than the synthetic medications. So be aware that there are a few options out there and if your symptoms are not responding as expected, some experimentation with the support and guidance of your GP is possible.

Lifestyle changes that may assist in the management of hypothyroidism include:

  • Reducing gluten intake
  • Checking MTHFR gene function and your body’s ability to absorb and use Folic acid/folate/folinic acid effectively – and supporting maximal function
  • Reducing stress
    • meditation
    • exercise
  • Supporting Adrenal overload and the body’s stress response
    • taking adaptagenic herbs (such as Siberian Ginseng, Rhodiola and Ashwaganda)
    • B vitamin supplements
  • Supporting Kidney and Liver functions and the body’s detoxification processes
    • Milk Thistle
    • Dandelion
  • Eating an anti-inflammatory diet
    • Avoid gluten, dairy, red meat, processed sugar, packaged foods
    • Adding turmeric, omega 3, green leafy vegetables
  • Supporting optimal Thyroid function
    • Vit B3 & 6
    • Selenium
    • Vit C
    • Vit D
    • Magnesium
    • Iodine
    • Salt balance (electrolytes) – using water, sea salt and honey

Hyperthyroidism

Graves’ Disease (a genetic autoimmune disease) is the most common cause of Hyperthyroidism. Nodules on the Thyroid (cancerous or benign) and Thyroiditis caused by viral or bacterial infection can also be causes.

Treatment is based around reducing the levels of thyroid hormone in the body. This can be done via

  • Thyroid blocking drugs
  • Destroying thyroid cells with radioactive iodine
  • Surgically removing the thyroid gland (partial or complete)

While medical treatment is required, a healthy lifestyle may generally support optimal response to treatment, your general health and your resilience.  

It is also important to note that the treatment of Hyperthyroidism may result in a subsequent hypothyroid state, meaning that Thyroid hormone medication may be required.