Wednesday, September 01, 2010
One of the earliest contraindications (warnings) in using cold laser or low level laser therapy was to AVOID treating the thyroid gland. Why? The theory was that we may actually affect thyroid gland function. Several months ago I questioned the wisdom of this warning. What if someone's thyroid gland was not functioning properly? Can't we possibly restore function? This question burned me for several months and I even contacted the manufacturer of my laser system to ask if they had heard of any studies done on this subject. Well... the universe has a funny way of providing. The manufacturer (Apollo) just released news citing an article from a journal (Lasers Surg Med. 2010 Aug;42(6):589-96) answering this exact question.
Hashimoto's Disease or Chronic Thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. A hypothyroid condition is characterized by a thyroid gland that produces too little thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). Both T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) are responsible for controlling metabolism throughout the body. Virtually Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. So, this process is obviously incredibly important.
Hashimoto's Disease is an auto-immune disease where the thyroid gland is attacked by the body's own immune system. In doing so, the thyroid gland becomes enlarged, and it's function is impaired. The result is hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, joint and muscle pain, constipation, dry thinning hair, heavy or irregular periods, depression, and anxiety. It can be confirmed through blood tests showing high levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and low levels of T3 and T4.
About 14 million people in the U.S. suffer with hypothyroidism. It affects about 7 times more women than men. Common treatment methods include supplemental thyroid medication such as Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, Levothyroxine (LT4), and Synthroid.
In our clinic we've found that acupuncture is beneficial in some cases of hypothyroidism. Now, however, we have evidence that our cold-laser therapy treatments can also be incredibly effective in treating Hashimoto based hypothyroidism! The study as referenced HERE
was conducted to test if laser treatments directly on the thyroid gland can eliminate or reduce the need for supplemental thyroid medication (Levothyroxine). The results suggested that even 9 months after a 10 week treatment session, the need for supplemental thyroid (Levothyroxine) can be reduced or even completely eliminated! The study continues to suggest that one of the markers reflecting the autoimmune aspect of the disease (thyroid peroxidase-TPOAb ) can also be reduced!
So, now we have both acupuncture AND cold laser therapy to effectively treat hypothyroidism / Hashimoto's Disease.
Craig Amrine, L.Ac. is licensed acupuncturist and expert on cold-laser therapy. He can be reached through his website at www.hiddenrhythmacupuncture.com