The thyroid is a small gland in the throat that secretes hormones. These hormones affect a person’s metabolism, body temperature, and growth. They also affect the way a child’s brain develops.
When a person has a problem with their thyroid, it can affect both their physical and mental health. This article explores yoga as a complementary therapy for thyroid problems.
Yoga and thyroid health
Stress is often associated with thyroid problems. For this reason, yoga may be beneficial for thyroid health.
There are a variety of conditions that affect the thyroid. Two of the most common conditions are:
Hyperthyroidism: This is when the thyroid produces an excessive quantity of thyroid hormones. The underlying cause of hyperthyroidism may be Graves’ disease or an overactive thyroid.
Hypothyroidism: This is when thyroid hormone production is too low. This is often caused by an autoimmune disease that has damaged the thyroid.
Some evidence also exists that supports a more direct link between yoga and improved thyroid function.
A small study conducted in 2014 found that yoga improved thyroid function. However, the study noted that further studies with more participants were needed to draw firm conclusions.
A 2016 study found that 6 months of yoga practice helped to improve cholesterol levels and levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). This reduced the need for thyroid replacement therapy in women suffering from hypothyroidism
Beneficial yoga poses
The following yoga poses focus on stimulating the throat. They are thought to improve circulation, as well as stretch and strengthen the neck where the thyroid is located.
It is important to only stay in yoga poses for as long as feels comfortable. Beginners can try one or two poses and build on this each time they practice.
Each of the below yoga poses is easy to try at home with a yoga mat.
Yoga asanas to practice
- Neck Movements (5 rounds)
- Jalandhar Bandh 5 Rounds (30 secs each)
- Bhujangasana (1 minute)
- Dhanurasana (3 rounds)
- Sarwangasana (3 minutes)
- Halasana (1 minute)
- Hala Ugrasana (1 minute)
- Matsyasana (1 minute)
- Shirshasana (1 minute)
- Pschimottasana (1 minute)
- Ardhamatsyendrasana (2 minutes on each side)
- Ushtrasana (2 minutes)
- Supta Vajrasana (1 minute)
- Sinhasana ( 1 minute)
- Sinhamudra (1 minute)
- Trikonasana (1 minute on each side)
- Veerasana (1 minute on each side)
- Shavasana (when needed)
- Omkar chanting (30 minutes)
When to see a doctor
If a person suspects they may have a problem with their thyroid, they should speak to their doctor.
A doctor can help to diagnose hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism and recommend appropriate treatments.
It is important to remember that yoga is a complementary therapy. It can be undertaken alongside other treatments recommended by a doctor, but cannot replace them.
With inputs from Medical News Today