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News & Article Archives > Natural Apothecary Articles > Are You Suffering From Hypothyroidism?

Natural Apothecary  Natural Apothecary Articles

Are You Suffering From Hypothyroidism?
Posted by on 01 December, 2005

When someone is experiencing hypothyroidism the thyroid gland is impaired, producing too little thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism is due primarily to a dysfunction of the thyroid gland itself. If the thyroid gland is removed, obviously, the body is unable to produce any thyroid hormone. If the thyroid is partially removed, it may be able to produce enough hormones for a while, but over time it can become overworked and burn out. But the thyroid can also become impaired for many other reasons.

Are You Suffering From Hypothyroidism?
By Dr. Rita Louise

When someone is experiencing hypothyroidism the thyroid gland is impaired, producing too little thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism is due primarily to a dysfunction of the thyroid gland itself. If the thyroid gland is removed, obviously, the body is unable to produce any thyroid hormone. If the thyroid is partially removed, it may be able to produce enough hormones for a while, but over time it can become overworked and burn out. But the thyroid can also become impaired for many other reasons.

The thyroid consists of 2 lobes connected together in front of the neck just below the voice box. The hormones produced by the thyroid gland control the body’s metabolic rate and a dysfunction to this gland can affect every organ in the body. When the thyroid is under active it creates a general depression of many of the cellular systems and oxidative processes in the body that are needed for energy production. This can cause the metabolic activities in the cells to decrease. Metabolic wastes can then filtrate into the organs, causing them to become sluggish.

Deficiencies of thyroxin (the hormone produced by the thyroid) leave the body feeling tired and run down. As the metabolism slows down, weight gain and constipation are often experienced. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, lack of energy, intolerance to cold temperatures, menstrual irregularities, depression, sluggish reflexes, hair loss, dry, coarse skin, brittle nails and puffiness around the eyes. Typically symptoms present themselves slowly and often evade detection.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is inflammation that damages the thyroid tissue. This damage causes the body’s immune cells, which normally fight infection, to attack the thyroid and leave them incapable of producing enough hormones.

Hypothyroidism is often seen in post-partum women and is often mistaken for post-partum depression. Medications, such as Lithium also cause thyroid dysfunction. While rare, disorders to the pituitary or hypothalamus glands in the brain can also lead to this and other hormonal imbalances.

Recommendations For Wellness

Reduce soy consumption. Soy can depress thyroid function and has been shown to cause goiters (an enlargement of the thyroid gland) in healthy individuals.

Alkalinize the body! This may help to prevent thyroid dysfunction in the first place.

Get rid of the saturated fats from your diet. Saturated fats have been found to inhibit thyroid function.

Work to balance your estrogen levels. Estrogen slows down the thyroid gland.

Eat organically raised meats to avoid meats that are loaded with added hormones that have been introduced to increase the weight of livestock prior to sale.

Begin a hormonal balancing program using progesterone cream to help bring your body back into balance.

Vitamin B3, (niacin), which is often taken to reduce cholesterol levels, has been shown to also lower thyroid hormone levels.

Gentian is known to normalize the function of the thyroid gland.

Incorporate kelp and other sea vegetables that are high in iodine. Iodine is needed by the body to produce thyroid hormone.

Radishes have historically been used to treat thyroid problems and have been known to keep the levels of thyroid hormones balanced.

If depression due to hypothyroidism is a problem, try taking St. John’s Wort to help elevate your mood.

Chronic constipation can be addressed by adding additional dietary fiber such as psyllium to your diet. Herbal laxatives, such as cascara sagrada or Nature’s Sunshine’s LBS II can also be used as required.

Try supplementing with zinc and selenium. Studies indicate that severe zinc or selenium deficiencies can cause decreased thyroid hormone levels.

Coconut oil stimulates the thyroid gland and is a good choice for those suffering from an under active thyroid.

One of the most effective supplements for hypothyroidism is desiccated thyroid gland that comes from pigs. It was used long before synthetic forms of thyroid medications became available and is processed by the body more naturally.

© Copyright Body, Mind & SoulHealer 2005. All rights reserved.
Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Rita Louise, Ph.D. is the author of the books "Avoiding the Cosmic 2x4" and "The Power Within". It is her unique gift as a medical intuitive and clairvoyant that illuminates and enlivens her work. Let Dr. Louise help you bring health, healing and wholeness back into your life. Medical Intuition & Energy Medicine Certification training classes are now forming. Visit or call (972) 475-3393 for more information.

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Healing Trauma Gently
Posted by on 05 November, 2004

Trauma can be defined as psychological trauma or shock trauma. Psychological trauma occurs when there is an experience of stress that is “beyond the range of everyday experience, that would be ‘markedly distressing to anyone’, and usually experienced with intense fear, terror, and helplessness” . According to Peter Levine , an international expert on the effect of trauma on the body, shock trauma differs from the more traditional psychiatric definition in that it causes the body to be over-whelmed physiologically and neurologically in such a way that it can’t adapt. The nervous system and associated physiological systems have not returned to normal homeostatic control.

Healing Trauma Gently

By Ingrid Cryns

Trauma can be defined as psychological trauma or shock trauma. Psychological trauma occurs when there is an experience of stress that is “beyond the range of everyday experience, that would be ‘markedly distressing to anyone’, and usually experienced with intense fear, terror, and helplessness” . According to Peter Levine , an international expert on the effect of trauma on the body, shock trauma differs from the more traditional psychiatric definition in that it causes the body to be over-whelmed physiologically and neurologically in such a way that it can’t adapt. The nervous system and associated physiological systems have not returned to normal homeostatic control.

Trauma is a response in our body-mind system to when one feel’s threatened. Our bodies have an orienting reflex that allows us to look around and take in what is around us at the time of a threatening event. We can then respond instinctually to either run away or fight the threat. If neither option is possible, for instance when one is physically smaller, as in a child, or if one is trapped immobile, such as in a car, then a freezing response occurs. Within this freezing response one can either simply go numb, not feel anything physically and still be able to observe and take in what is around you somewhat, or else one can dissociate - go into an altered state of consciousness and leave the body. In dissociation one has no memory of the event because they have left. This is a basic instinctual survival mechanism that can be traced back to how animals coped with the shock of being attacked by a predator. Leaving the body allows one to not feel any pain in the body.

Some people can experience trauma and have no long-term dysfunction from the event. They have been able to activate their fight or flight response and have overcome the threat in a way that allows their body to have no repetitive residue to the event. It is not that the event itself is traumatic, it is the person’s perception of and capacity to respond to the event that creates the experience that it is life threatening and potentially traumatic. For some people their bodies can get caught in what can be called a ‘closed energetic loop’ of recreating the trauma over and over again in their lives. Sometimes this is very obviously manifested in a series of abusive situations throughout their lives. For others it can remain hidden until their bodies begin to breakdown in their 30’s or 40’s.


For those people who are traumatized and haven’t been able to orient themselves out of it, they become stuck in survival mode. Their system is overwhelmed by the threat. To use an analogy from Peter Levine’s work, it’s like driving a car with one foot on the accelerator and the other one on the brake at the same time. The body is constantly experiencing some kind of trigger that is unconscious to the mind, gets overwhelmed and then ‘shuts down’ in some form. This shutting down can be seen as a physical collapse, such as in periods of exhaustion, repetitive viral illnesses, or flues; an inability to tolerate close, intimate relationships, or perform at work; subtle to extreme forms of agoraphobia, spending more and more time alone, immobile at home; as well as body systems can eventually begin to shut down and stop working from the repetitive stress.

The following is a list symptoms that typically develop after an overwhelming event (from Peter Levine’s study guide called ‘Healing Trauma’). There are generally four stages, or levels of symptoms that can occur. Some tend to appear sooner than others, although there is no fixed rule about when and if a symptom will appear.

First stage

• Hyperarousal - The most common signs are physical - increased heart rate, difficult breathing, cold sweats, tingling, muscular tension, and tics. Mental signs are - increase in thoughts, racing thoughts, worry.
• Constriction. The nervous system focuses all our resources on the threat by constricting our bodies and our perceptions. Blood vessels in the skin, extremities, and internal organs constrict to make more blood available to the muscles, which are tensed in preparation for defensive action. Constriction alters breathing, muscle tone, and posture.
• Dissociation. A separation of awareness from physical reality, which protects us from the impact of escalation arousal. If a life-threatening event continues, dissociation protects us from the pain of death. It is a common means of enduring experiences that are, at the moment, beyond endurance.
• Denial. This is a form of dissociation requiring lower levels of energy. In this case the disconnection is between the person and the memory of or feelings about a particular event (or series of events). We may deny that an event occurred, or we may act as though it was unimportant. Feeling numb is another way to describe this, and should be understood as a defense against the pain. It is there for a very good reason.
• Feeling of helplessness, immobility, or freezing. If hyperarousal is the nervous system’s accelerator, immobility is its brake. When both of these states occur at the same time, a feeling of overwhelming helplessness results. This is not the ordinary sense of helplessness that affects all of us from time to time. It is a feeling of being completely immobilized and powerless to act. This is not a perception, belief, or tick of the imagination. It is real. The body feels paralyzed, collapsed.

Second stage

Hypervigilance (being ‘on guard’ at all times); intrusive imagery or flashbacks; extreme sensitivity to light & sound; hyperactivity, restlessness; exaggerated emotional and startled reactions to noises, quick movements, etc.; nightmare & night terrors; abrupt mood swings (rage reactions, temper tantrums, shame); reduced ability to deal with stress (easily and frequently stressed out); difficulty sleeping; fear of going crazy.

Third stage

Panic attacks, anxiety, and phobias; mental blankness or spaciness; avoidance behavior (avoiding certain circumstance that remind us of previous traumas); attraction to dangerous situations; frequent anger or crying (do not take this personally; the person, especially if a child, needs your support); abrupt mood swings; exaggerated or diminished sexual activity; amnesia and forgetfulness; inability to love, nurture, or bond with other individuals; fear of dying or having a shortened life.

Fourth and final stage (these generally take longer to develop and in most cases, will have been preceded by some of the earlier symptoms).

• Excessive shyness
• Diminished emotional responses
• Inability to make commitments
• Chronic fatigue or very low physical energy
• Immune system and certain endocrine problems, such as thyroid dysfunction or psychosomatic illness - particularly headaches, neck and back problems, asthma, digestive distress, spastic colon, severe premenstrual syndrome, and eating disorders
• Depression; feelings of impending doom
• Feeling like the “living dead’; detached alienated, and isolated
• Reduced ability to formulate plans and carry them through

Identifying and understanding the range of physical symptoms allows one to begin to learn how to listen to the body and connect the physical symptoms to the emotional triggers. Learning how to link body awareness with mental awareness allows one to begin to heal the trauma. The symptoms of trauma can be stable (ever-present) or unstable (come and go), or they can remain hidden for decades. Quite often symptoms can appear in clusters and grow increasingly complex over time, which can make it very difficult to trace the symptoms to the original trauma. Our bodies hold this information even if our minds cannot remember.


In trauma, body sensations might be interpreted as negative sensations. The experience of feeling overwhelmed or flooded is a fear response. It is not pleasant to go into the body if it is in fear. Therefore to heal trauma, it is important to be able to re-organize what the meaning is of what it is like to be in your body. Body sensation and fear are hooked together. To uncouple this negative relationship, the idea is to initially learn body awareness of experiences of pleasure and safety, and to be able to contain or negotiate how to come out of the experience of fear in the body. Michael Maley , a bioenergetic therapist specializing in trauma work, calls this resourcing. Learning how to visualize and experience in the body good feelings becomes the initial focus in healing trauma.

Resourcing can be understood as ‘chicken soup’ for trauma. It is a way to front-load the therapy process.
The following is a list of some items that can be learned to help strengthen and stabilize the nervous system;

• Education. Teaching the concepts of how to work with trauma and the body in terms of symptoms, resourcing, re-organizing and transformation. The mind needs to understand, be able to learn how to listen to the body and integrate new information for the body to heal permanently.
• Restore basic fight/flight responses. Learning basic body awareness exercises of how to run to a safe place, allows the ‘trapped’ energy in the body to go down into the legs and escape the threat, activating the flight response. Also, exercises that explore pushing, squeezing, hitting, yelling, or confronting, set’s a boundary and teaches how to fight the threat on a body level. Boundary work allows the ‘trapped’ energy to flow up the back through the arms, through the throat, as well as sometimes using the legs as well.
• Body sensation work. Anything that increases body awareness is encouraged as it creates a secure link to the present reality;
a) Taking classes or treatments in Yoga, Pilates, Alexandra, Feldenkrais, Trager,
Gendlin´s Work on Focusing, Authentic Movement work and so on. All of these body oriented therapies increase body awareness of tensions, blocks in energy, holding, frozenness, etc. The more awareness you have of your body, the more you can access healing of the core wound.
b) Learning how to feel grounded and centered in the body, knowing when you are not, and knowing how to come back to the ground inside the body.
c) Body as anchor. Awareness of current body sensations can anchor one in the present, here and now, allowing a separation of the past from the present. One does this by finding a concrete, observable resource that is chosen from a client’s life, so that the positive memories in both body and mind can be utilized. Examples could be a person, an animal, a place, an object , and/or an activity that generates a positive feeling. An anchor gives the client a feeling (in body and emotion) of relief and well-being. Within this is finding a safe place, preferably an actual, earthly location, that can be visualized and experienced in the body as a positive feeling anchor.
• Imagery work. Learning how to work with a visual picture that can create a positive feeling. Guided meditations and shamanic journeying are both methods that achieve an altered state of consciousness. Trauma is also an altered state of consciousness that informs the body to live from a past experience. (These past experiences are seen as negative energy bands such as fear, terror, and anger with shame being the worst at the bottom of them all.) Positive imagery work teaches the body how to experience an alternative state of consciousness. Images can be based on spiritual figures or positive energy bands of feelings such as courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, love, joy, peace and enlightenment.
• Music. Working with music to help regulate and soothe the system. Identifying songs and sometimes particular sounds or ‘toning’ (singing sounds with no words that vibrate in a healing form) that works for and is personal to each individual’s tastes.
• Emergent resources. Sometimes in trauma, one can have an ‘out of body’ experience (dissociation) and make a connection to an angel or spiritual figure. This is a resource that can be supported and used to achieve an alternative positive option rather than experience the fear in the body.
• Connections to therapist or people who care. Working with solid transitional objects from someone that they feel love with can create a connection that stabilizes and re-claims the feeling of love in the body. Examples would be a stone, a picture, jewelry, etc. from the loved one.

Resourcing can be used to create new systems to help self-sooth and regulate the overwhelmed nature of a trauma system. In this light, addictions (such as alcohol, smoking, drugs, food, etc.) can also be seen as a way to help regulate the affect on the body of high anxiety and help to self-sooth. For a trauma system to remove an addiction prematurely before other resources are able to be integrated and effective, does not work.
“If it is true that at the core of our traumatized and neglected patients’ disorganization is the problem that they cannot analyze what is going on when they re-experience the physical sensations of past trauma, but that these sensations just produce intense emotions without being able to modulate them then our therapy needs to consist of helping people to stay in their bodies and to understand these bodily sensations. And that is certainly not something that any of the traditional psychotherapies, which we have all been taught, help people to do very well.”
- Bessel van der Kolk, MD


Resourcing needs to be learned very slowly and takes time as any feeling produces a charge of expression in the body and thereby creates more oxygen and life to the body. More feelings can activate an overwhelming response that floods the system causing panic, numbing or dissociation very easily. Titration is the rule of thumb in this kind of work. Allowing a drop at a time to enter the system that can slowly and gently re-organize the original experience to integrate safety into the body.

Body-oriented psychotherapy, or even just some bodywork therapies can allow for a cathartic release of emotions. Exercises or suggested experiences are sometimes designed to create stress in the body to access the hidden emotion underneath the protective defense systems that we all have. At times an individual could be strongly guided or ‘pushed’ into an experience without a lot of conscious connection to what is happening. It does help to get our heads out of the way in order to surrender and listen to what the body is feeling. For people who have strong ego structures and healthy boundaries this work is very effective.

However, for people with a trauma experience in their system, their body-mind system has been ruptured. The ego structure can be very fragile and fragmented. A cathartic release can sometimes create more feeling than the body-mind system can handle. This can also re-traumatize the individual with a flooding of emotion causing the therapist to sometimes be seen as a perpetrator. It is very important to remain connected to the therapist at all times and to stop the flow of the work as soon as a sign of un-safety or overwhelming/flooding occurs. Resource tools to bring yourself back to your centre and ground become the thread or link between client and therapist to support the ability to slowly and safely access the core trauma. It is a new and very important experience for someone with trauma to know that they can “come back on their own” from the place of fear in the body.

The trauma vortex is a concept developed by Peter Levine to explain the idea of how a rupture happens in the energetic system of a trauma client. Something will trigger, overwhelm the system and it feels like you are falling backwards into some or all of the ‘old’ (read past) feelings of; negativity, despair, hopelessness, annihilation, self-abuse/sabotage, rejection, exhaustion, collapse, and/or contraction. It continually feels like the past trauma intrudes onto the present reality. Shame, a deep hallmark of trauma, is often a very significant experience with constant self-blaming, self-destructive, and addictive behaviour. For many children who experience abuse, they usually feel they were the one who was wrong, that it was their entire fault, as this is what was reflected to them. This concept helps to take out the negative self-judgment that can happen for trauma people who feel so dysfunctional by this cycle. The trauma individual feels very sensitive and usually feels emotions very intensely. There is also quite often an intense swirl and swing up (manic ungrounded highs) and down (despair, depression) energetically. Often they want to rush through the healing process, get through it quickly - all of this being potential for triggering the trauma vortex.

The counter or healing vortex is an additional concept that includes the resourcing tools to counter-balance the trauma vortex experience. When one is in the trauma vortex it is like being in an altered state of consciousness, in the past. It is very difficult, from this place to be aware of or even sometimes remember how to access some of the learned resources. Sometimes writing down what the resources are can be helpful, posting them on the fridge or even giving them to a couple of friends or intimate partner who can guide you a little to remember what to do. The hardest thing when in the trauma vortex is to be able to reach out for help, as the original experience was one of being very, very alone in it.

Once the body begins to learn to feel safe and has had some experience of pleasure, one can then begin to allow some of the trauma feelings to enter the therapy and become re-organized. This is a process called pendulation. To pendulate between the trauma vortex and the counter or healing vortex allows for a slowly increasing ability to contain and transform the trauma into a new experience for the body.

It helps to be able to understand the body in terms of cycles of energy charge, discharge, and rest (or collapse in the case of a trauma system). That the past experience created a pathwork in the body-mind system that has a certain character to it. It takes the blame and anger out of it and looks at it in a way of being able to accept where the system is in the present moment and gives hope in being able to respond in another way that promotes health. In other words the ability to feel self-responsibility is very important for people who experience life as a victim. It takes the therapist out of the role of rescuer (which only encourages dependency and victim-hood), and creates empowerment for the trauma individual.

“The therapist’s job is not to help clients find memories, or even to know what ‘really happened’. It is to listen and hear the truth of the experience. Our job is to heal, not to find fault and lay blame. We don’t know what happened to our clients in reality, but we can know the truth of their feelings. We can give clients back their rights, behaviours, and a sense of themselves that were lost. In doing that deeper truths are discovered and their potential for relationship, work and pleasure are reclaimed.”
- Helen Resneck-Sannes

It is also highly recommended for a therapist to not get a lot of detail from the client initially because for some people simply in telling the story the traumatic feelings can surface and flood the system. It is enough to just know the basic facts - there was abuse, a rape happened and so on. The body will reveal the symptoms and remembers the trauma deeply in the cellular tissue.

Transformation and Spiritual Opportunity

Re-organizing includes re-negotiating the experience of trauma by interweaving or integrating the lost aspects that are re-claimed by resourcing, to create a new and complete experience. Completion transforms the trauma by generating greater resistance to any future trauma reactions. Working with the body in trauma teaches us to experience compassion with ourselves by understanding the links between our feelings and our bodies’ sensorial response. In healing trauma, the nervous system regains its capacity for self-regulation.

Trauma can be seen as a spiritual opportunity, a pathway to awakening. It can be understood as a process of transformation where the illusion of safety has been stripped away and one must learn an entirely new way of being, as Peter Levine says, “like a new born child”. Trauma is a catalyst that teaches profound surrender, something that some people with many years of spiritual discipline try to learn how to achieve. Psyche, body and soul become transformed through the continuous cycles of gently healing the polarities of expansion and contraction. Being able to resolve the trauma allows us to open up to the spiritual blessings that teach us a whole new understanding about what to value in life and how to experience joy and pleasure again.


Eckberg, Maryanna & Levine, Peter Victims of Cruelty : Somatic Psychotherapy in the Treatment
of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (c. 2000, North Atlantic books )

Levine, Peter, Waking the Tiger, (c. 1997, North Atlantic Books, website;

Maley, Michael, ‘Trauma’ - Fourth Year Bioenergetic Training Workshop (Lecture Notes, March 2001)

Resneck-Sannes, Helen, A Feeling in Search of a Memory (Women & Therapy, Vo. 16 (4), C. 1995)

Resneck-Sannes, Helen, A Model for Working with Shock Trauma: An ethological and bioenergetic approach Pacific (Northwest Bioenergetic Conference Training Days Journal, c. 1993)

Resneck-Sannes, Helen, Shame, Sexuality, and Vulnerability, (From Women and Therapy, vol. 11, c. 1991)

Rothschild, Babette, The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment
(c. 2000 W.W. Norton & Co.)

van der Kolk, MD, Bessel, The Body Keeps Score: Memory and the Evolving Psychobiology of Postraumatic Stress, (Trauma Clinic, Harvard Medical School, c. 1994)

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