The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland situated in the neck region. It helps the body to maintain normal temperature and is essential for the normal metabolic functioning of every cell in your body. The thyroid gland secretes a hormone called thyroxine which is also known as T4. It is called as T4 because the hormone contains 4 iodine atoms. When a single atom of iodine is removed, T4 gets converted into T3. The amount of thyroxine produced in your body is controlled by another hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) made in the pituitary gland situated at the base of the brain.
If the thyroid gland is over productive a condition called hyperthyroidism sets in. Hyperthyroidism happens due to an excess amount of free thyroid hormone. Some symptoms seen in a patient with hyperthyroidism include heat intolerance, nervousness, increased irritability, increased heart rate, palpitations, tremors, weight loss with the same or increased food intake, and increased frequency of defecation. Women may have a decreased frequency of menses. In hyperthyroidism, the laboratory investigation shows a low TSH and a high T3 along with an increase in the total and free T4 levels.
In hypothyroidism the symptoms seen are reversed. The patient often suffers severe fatigue, depression, loss of memory, mental confusion and sometimes even symptoms of mild psychosis. The heart rate slows down, the skin becomes dry and the patient often complains of feeling very cold. The serum cholesterol levels may be raised and there may be severe anaemia. On laboratory investigation, the T4 and free T4 levels are found to be low while the TSH is always high and T3 may be within the normal range.
Is this related to stress?
Commonest cause of Hypo or Hyper functioning of thyroid auto immunity although in some hilly endemic areas (far way from sea) it could be due to iodine deficiency. Auto immunity is due to wrong perception of the hyper reactive immune system which sets off a special squad of fighters (antibodies) to destroy the thyroid cells. It is known that long standing suppressed chronic frustrations or anxiety or worry can disturb the immune system and cause autoimmunity.
What Yoga practices are recommended?
For hyperthyroid (Sharada’s case) deep relaxation techniques in he form of cyclic meditation for 30 minutes and pränäyäma (chandranuloma viloma 27 rounds, seetali and seetkari 9 rounds each, followed by Nadanusandhana on AAA 21 rounds – 4 times a day) with help to reduce the metabolic rate, connect the speeded up loop of stress that caused the problem. For hypothyroidism (Roshini’s case) practice should include stimulation followed by relaxation. Hence the list of practices could include 3 to 6 rounds of suryanamaskara, viparithkarani, sarvangasana (3 minutes), matsyasana (1 min), halasana (3 min), sputa vajrasana, Bhujangasana, dhanurasana, followed by QRT (3 min); Suryanuloma viloma 27 rounds 4 times/ day increases the metabolic rate and hence is useful to reduce weight and improve body heat. Bhramari and ujjayi pranayamas practiced while maintaining in Jalandhara bandha may be replicated 12 rounds each 4 times a day on empty stomach. Deep internal awareness and feeling the dep rest in the thyroid region following each one of these stimulation helps. Also change of life style though practice of Yama, Niyama , Karma yoga and Bhakti yoga forms an important and integral part of yogic way to cure this problem.