Nancy Gahles, DC, CCH, RSHom(NA) discusses the processes and functions of the thyroid.

by Nancy Gahles, DC, CCH, RSHom(NA)

I got a 65% on the Algebra Regents because I truly could not understand how to get the x on the other side of the equation. Perhaps if Einstein was my teacher things would have turned out differently. Einstein’s simple equation puts it all into perspective. Matter and energy are actually different forms of the same thing. Matter can be turned into energy and energy into matter. In the language of physics, the mass – energy equivalence is the concept that any mass has an associated energy. This mass-energy relationship is the language that the thyroid gland speaks.

E=total energy
M= mass (the thyroid gland)
C= speed of light (kinetic or potential energy in a closed space/body).

This is the point in algebra class where my eyes glazed over and I began to pass notes to my girlfriends and laugh the class away. But seriously folks,whenever energy (heat, light, electromagnetic) is generated and released, the process can be evaluated from an E=mc2 perspective. The function of the thyroid gland is to generate energy. The cells of the thyroid gland are specifically designed to absorb iodine from the foods we ingest, combine it with an amino acid, tyrosine, also from the foods we ingest, and convert it into hormones. These hormones, T3 and T4, convert oxygen and calories into energy. Energy is the fuel of every cell in the body and all are dependent on the healthy function of the thyroid gland to regulate their metabolism. The thyroid gland is dependent on other glands to control its function. The pituitary, the master gland, produces TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) to increase production of T3 and T4 when it senses a drop in levels. This being a temperature-regulating system, its action can be likened to your thermostat, which switches on when the temperature drops below the pre-set level. The hypothalamus, a part of the brain, then releases a hormone (cleverly named thyroid releasing hormone), which tells the pituitary to go ahead and release the stimulation.

Individually, we sense the action of this delicate feedback loop only when there is a disturbance in function. When we experience changes in our energy or in our body temperature that are more then momentary fluctuations, or when the changes are so subtle that we only become aware of them when overt tissue changes such as hair loss or dry skin become apparent, this is the time we explore the thyroid gland. The patient tells you the symptoms they are experiencing and you evaluate the signs of your physical examination.

Here again, the genius of Einstein is expressed in his equations. (How DOES he do that?) He introduced v as the moving observer in relationship to c the speed of light. Einstein said that electric and magnetic fields are different in different reference frames. The way in which you see it from your frame of reference is not the same way in which I see the same energy changes from my frame of reference. Only CHANGES in energy affect the behavior of objects. According to quantum physicists like Bohr,Schmidt, Rhine, Mitchell, Pribram and others, the attention to or observation of that change rests only with the observer of the change. The observer effect suggested that the physical world only existed in its concrete state while we were involved in it. Thus, prevailing principles of quantum physics and the observation of phenomenon from both the patient and the physician, must play a determining role in the diagnosis and treatment of people. This is especially true for ailments that are vague or have energetic components involved as in thyroid dysfunction.

A whole system of medicine is indicated here. One that takes into account the energetic expressions of all the systems of the physical body as well as the mental and emotional expressions of imbalance.

Homeopathy is one such system that recommends a medicine based on totality of symptoms and the law of similars. Taking into account the entire observed phenomenon of the patient as well as the observed phenomenon of the homeopath, a prescription is made of a medicine that matches the patient’s symptom complex as closely as possible. This is called the simillimum and will hopefully lead to a resolution of symptoms as the body is stimulated to regain equilibrium of all systems. This is the result of another genius of his time, Samuel Hahnemann, whose seminal work, Organon of The Medical Art, is a must read for anyone interested in practicing Integrative Healthcare. Dr. Hahnemann, long before Einstein, also recognized the phenomenon of observation relative to diagnosis.  Dr. Hahnemann stressed the importance of the “unprejudiced observer” when taking a case. He said “the unprejudiced observer, even the most sharp witted one…perceives nothing in each single case of disease other than the alterations in the conditions of the body and soul, disease signs, befallments, symptoms, which are outwardly discernable through the senses. That is, the unprejudiced observer only perceives the deviations from the former healthy state of the now sick patient, which are, 1. felt by himself  2. perceived by those around him and 3. observed by the physician.  All these perceptible signs represent the disease in its entire extent, that is, together they form the true and only conceivable gestalt of the disease.” (Organon of the Medical Art by Wenda O’Reilly).

The Language of the Thyroid

The thyroid speaks loudest in women. Perhaps it is because the gland is twice as large in women as in men. Perhaps it is because, by its very nature, the thyroid is sensitive to changes in the hormones and the cycles of women offer more dramatic changes than in men. Hypothyroidism is by far the most prevalent thyroid disorder. Hyperthyroidism represents a smaller percentage of disorders. The language of energy changes is most clear in the pre- menopausal woman when estrogen dominance and decreased levels of progesterone are present. During this 5-15 year time period, women ages 35-50 can experience energy and temperature changes such as fatigue, weakness, sleep loss, lack of vital heat (cold), hair loss, weight gain, dry skin, allergies, slowed digestion and constipation. Mentally and emotionally they experience memory loss, difficulty concentrating, sadness, melancholy, depression. As the symptoms can be vague and insidious in onset, the overworked and underserved thyroid gland is likened to the overworked and underserved woman and the symptoms are taken for granted as a consequence of her harried lifestyle. It is only when symptoms begin to interfere with her ability to function that she seeks help. Hypothyroidism is a clear indication that you are in perimenopause. The same constellation of symptoms can appear after at the time of menopause, around 50 years of age, and can include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, muscle aches, joint pain, heart palpitations and anxiety. So, ladies, from 35 to say 60, you are in for the times of your life!  I remember when I was going through this time, as I recounted my symptoms to my primary doc she said, “You are asking me to send you to every specialist there is!” My advice is to stay savvy and connected to what is happening. Keep a journal. Do not chalk it up to lifestyle alone. Watch cyclical changes, emotional events, physical and mental changes, “stressors” and when they don’t remit, then tally them up and schedule a consult with your most trusted and knowledgeable provider.

Hypothyroidism can be easily managed with integrative healthcare. Hypothyroidism that is due to an iodine deficient diet is easily cured by introducing iodized salt or sea vegetables and other high iodine content foods to the diet. Hypothyroidism that is due to “sluggish” activity can be restored with a constitutional homeopathic remedy that will strengthen the gland and harmonize the whole system, in addition to diet and lifestyle changes. Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid that causes it to be underactive. This responds well to constitutional homeopathic treatment and liefestyle changes as well. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease and requires thyroid medication as well as constitutional homeopathic treatment. Hypothyroidism that is due to surgical removal of the gland needs thyroid replacement medication and constitutional homeopathic treatment. Certain disease of the pituitary gland can cause hypothyroidism as well and this needs to be identified and treated accordingly.  The use of a constitutional homeopathic remedy in all cases where it is indicated will nourish the glands and strengthen the entire system to work to its optimum.

There may be symptoms present and normal blood testing indicating absence of thyroid disease. In this case, subclinical hypothyroidism may be suspected. This case is best treated with homeopathy and an honest evaluation of the stress factors in your life to prevent the pathology from developing.

The Language We Answer In

To avoid confusion, I find it best to answer in the same language that was spoken. In consultation, I will listen to the language of the patient’s symptoms and, with Einstein in mind, to the energy of their expression. I will look up this language in the homeopathic repertory and find a match in the Materia Medica. As long as we are speaking the same language, the body will understand the information presented to it as a stimulus to healing itself.

Homeopathic remedies that lend themselves well to the energy changes in the body from thyroid dysfunction include Iodum, Lachesis, Fucus vesiculosis, Lycopodium, Natrum Muriaticum, Calcarea carbonica, Bromium and Agnus casti. These are some remedies that stimulate the organism to bring about equilibrium, a state of balance. A state of equality between the energy and the matter of the body. That was one of Einstein’s brilliant insights. He realized that matter and energy are really different forms of the same thing.  Matter can be turned into energy and energy back into matter. So it can be with the thyroid gland. Under certain conditions and in certain circumstances, you can rebalance the energy.

E=mc2.  When energy is restored to matter, the equation is complete. I finally get it! I wonder if I can retake that Algebra Regents?

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