TCM & Thyroid Disorder
Recently, there have been many studies about how TCM treat thyroid disorders. The thyroid gland is one of the major glands in our endocrine system. Our thyroid produces two main hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which control how our body uses energy. If the thyroid gland produces too much or too little of these hormones, it can have a significant impact on the body’s metabolism, growth, and development.
Thyroid disorder is very common. Although anyone can be affected, the incidence of thyroid disorder in women is 10 times that of men. Other risk factors include age, family or personal history of autoimmune disorders, pregnancy, smoking, etc. The two main types of thyroid disorder are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
What are the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid gland secretes excessive amounts of T3 and T4. Common symptoms include:
- Increased hunger
- Increased heart rate, or palpitations
- Increased sweating
- Anxiety, or nervousness
- Weight loss
- Hand tremors and shakiness
- Changes in menstrual patterns
- Heat intolerance
- Goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid gland)
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, on the other hand, is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient amounts of T3 and T4. Common symptoms include:
- Weight gain
- Irregular menstruation
- Cold intolerance
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thyroid disorders
TCM believes that thyroid disease is a “psycho-physiological disorder”, the symptoms of which are caused or exacerbated by stress and emotional factors, and it’s often seen people with thyroid disorders have emotional or mental symptoms in addition to physical symptoms. According to a recent study, emotional stress and psychological factors are related to the onset of thyroid disorders. In TCM, we use either herbal medication, acupuncture, moxibustion, or tuina, or the combination of all, to help thyroid patients manage and cope with emotional stress or other psychological factors that can cause or worsen their condition.
A review, of which 25 randomized controlled trials were included, showed that herbal therapy alone or in combination with conventional medical therapy may help improve the treatment effect of hyperthyroidism and reduce side effects.  A recent case study showed that acupuncture has a positive effect on the treatment of hyperthyroidism by regulating hormone levels, reducing symptoms, and restoring body balance.
Several case studies have indicated that acupuncture as part of TCM can be exceptionally effective in treating primary hypothyroidism in both females and males. [4,5]
How EMW Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treats thyroid disorders
TCM Herbs, Acupuncture, and More
As one of the conventional treatment methods, the keystone of TCM has always been balancing the energy in the body and awakening the body’s innate potential to heal on its own. In EMW, we take a personalized approach to treating thyroid disorders based on individual symptoms and body constitution. For example, a hypothyroid patient who is fatigued and gaining weight would be treated differently than another patient with hypothyroidism who experiences a different set of symptoms.
Your treatment plan usually involves:
- TCM herbal prescriptions
- Acupuncture (if you are willing)
- Moxibustion with in-house essential oils (depends on body constitution)
- Lifestyle/dietary advice
Symptoms of thyroid disorder, especially in the elderly, may be subtle and mistaken for anxiety, depression, or other health issues. If you experience any of the symptoms or conditions that are at high risk for a thyroid disorder, ask your doctor for a blood test to confirm. Early diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorder are very important because, if left untreated, it may lead to obesity, infertility, heart problems, osteoporosis, and more.
Contact us to make an appointment if you have been diagnosed with thyroid disorders.
 Fukao, A., Takamatsu, J., Miyauchi, A., & Hanafusa, T. (2014). Stress and thyroid disease. Endocrine Diseases. 1st ed. Hong Kong: iConcept Press.
 Lee, H.-Y., Hwang, S.-I., Park, J.-K., & Yoon, Y.-J. (2021). A Review of Randomized Controlled Trials of Herbal Medicine Treatment for Hyperthyroidism. The Journal of Korean Obstetrics and Gynecology, 34(3), 114–136.
 Zhu, Jihe & Arsovska, Blagica & K., Kristina. (2017). Case Report-Acupuncture Treatment for Hyperthyroidism. International Journal of Chinese Medicine. 1. 121-123.
 Arsovska, B., Zhu, J., & Kozovska, K. (2020). CASE REPORT – ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT IN FEMALE PATIENT PRESENTED WITH PRIMARY HYPOTHYROIDISM. International Journal of Research – GRANTHAALAYAH, 8(6), 71–74.
 Zhu, Jihe & Arsovska, Blagica & K., Kristina. (2019). CASE REPORT: ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT IN MALE PATIENT WITH PRIMARY HYPOTHYROIDISM. International Journal of Research -GRANTHAALAYAH. 7. 217-220.