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The incidence of thyroid disorder is high in India, affecting one in ten adults. Lack of thyroid hormone or resistance of the body tissue to thyroid hormone with respect to metabolic demand results in disorder called hypothyroidism. The major function of the thyroid gland is to act as a spark for the maintenance of oxidative metabolism in most tissues. In Ayurveda, this is attributed as the function of agni (metabolism), as hormonal imbalance cannot be corrected, one can look to correct the root cause i.e. Agni vaishamya (Impairment of metabolism).

Causes –

The most common cause is an autoimmune condition named Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in which the immune system attacks thyroid gland.

Clinical features –

1. Puffiness on the face and eye lid.
2. Peripheral edema
3. Dry coarse skin
4. Breathlessness
5. Constipation
6. Weakness
7. Menstrual abnormality
8. Hair loss
9. Sudden weight gain

Management –

The treatment approach in Ayurveda is very different because of Prakruti (body constituent), Agni bala (metabolic activities), etc. Before starting any internal medicine, it is very essential to cleanse the channels. Therefore panchakarma (bio-purificatory procedures) plays an important role. Based on increase and decreased quantity of Dosha and dhatu, medicines will be prescribed by a Doctor.

Acupuncture – In the treatment of Hypothyroidism, acupuncture can be used to restore hormonal balance, regulate energy levels, smooth emotions and help manage sleep and emotions. There are several powerful acupuncture points on the ear and the body that can be used to regulate the production of thyroid hormones.

Yoga – It plays a role in revitalizing thyroid hormones. Studies also show that 2-5% of sub clinical hypothyroidism manifest as Hypothyroidism. Asana’s taught like Viparita karani, Sarvangasana, Matsyasana are head-low postures which can reduce levels of circulating catecholamine, improved tolerance to stress and hence help the Thyroid gland secrete thyroxin. Pranayama practices such as Bhramari are also very helpful in managing Hypothyroidism.