Is there a real cure for Graves’ disease? This is probably the question that comes to your mind if you just left the doctor’s office after being told that your thyroid test results are “abnormal” and you probably have hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease. Many of us have heard these words without really knowing what exactly they mean because we were not given any real explanations. I also heard these words nine years ago and I was scared, as you probably are right now. On the other hand, I finally had some kind of explanation for the weight loss, the palpitations, the protruding eyes, the emotional outbursts, the anxiety, the sleeplessness and the many other symptoms. I was devastated, but at least I knew what was really wrong after six long months of going from doctor’s office to doctor’s office. What I didn’t know is that I had a long healing journey ahead of me and would be faced with a fight for my physical and mental health.
Graves’ disease affects not only you, but everyone around you – your spouse, your kids and even your friends and work colleagues. You are no longer yourself, but someone else that you don’t really know or understand. A long healing journey is about to begin for all involved and nothing will be the same ever again.
There is a cure for Graves’ disease, but this doesn’t just involve religiously taking your prescribed medication or deciding to go for RAI or a thyroidectomy. It is about understanding the core of Graves’ disease and thus changing many things in your life.
I have found through my own journey and experience that healing from Graves ’ diseasegenerally revolves around five main axes, no matter what kind of treatment you choose. None of these should be overlooked because you won’t get the permanent health results you are looking for, i.e. to be declared euthyroid (with normal thyroid function) by your doctor. For those of you who chose to rule out RAI and thyroidectomy as I did, these are the five areas you should pay the most attention to:
- Your diet counts for about 20% of your healing process. Although there are some controversial writings regarding what you should or shouldn’t eat, I still believe – and have personally experienced – that avoiding foods with high iodine really helps. Eating goitrogenic foods or cruciferous vegetables (these are vegetables that naturally inhibit the overproduction of thyroid hormone) is also very important. Some of the foods included in this group are: broccoli, cauliflower, all vegetables from the Brassica family and almost all leafy green vegetables. The other important factor is not only what you eat, but what you should generally avoid: i.e. all products containing aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, overprocessed or canned foods and stimulants such as coffee, green tea and Coke. Spices and hot foods are not recommended either. Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism are classed as “hot” in Traditional Chinese Medicine, so anything that makes you feel more restless and energetic should be avoided.
- Physical exercises, fitness and meditation programs. This is the second important part of the healing process and should not be overlooked either. Most people suffering from Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism feel overwhelmed, “wired”, restless and anxious. Any activity that makes you feel that way should be avoided, especially if you have severe palpitations. Some of the recommended activities are “the slow movement” exercises such as tai chi, Qigong, yoga, walking and swimming. I cannot stress enough how important meditation is – practicing meditation regularly will bring peace to your mind, calmness and centeredness, all the things you need to start your healing process. Reducing activities that consume your time and energy, but are not so important to you; taking frequent breaks; resting a lot, or just doing nothing, will tremendously help your healing process.
- Vitamins, minerals and supplements. Nowadays, most of the foods we consume are poor in nutritional value and no longer have the necessary vitamins and minerals our body needs to function well and be healthy. Unless you consume only organic products, I can guarantee you that with all the GMO products available on the market your body isn’t getting what it needs. Some supplements and vitamins are proven to help hyperthyroidism, for example Vitamin B complex for the nervous system and selenium, L- carnitine and flaxseed oil for Thyroid Eye Disease. However, even though all of the above are over the counter supplements, I would advise you to get some laboratory tests before taking any of them.
- Mental work. This is probably the most important part of the healing process. Analyzing yourself and understanding exactly why you got sick with Graves’ disease, as well as digging for the causes and triggers of your own disease, is as important as your diet and physical exercises. I found that self-love, or the lack thereof, as well as my perfectionism, triggered the onset of my own Graves’ disease.
- Other alternative methods. Herbs that can help hyperthyroidism tremendously are Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Motherwort and Bugleweed. Aromatherapy and chromotherapy (color therapy), renowned for centuries for their healing properties, are also applicable. For example, I found that the color blue and the scent of lavender help me to feel relaxed. Acupressure and Reiki/energy healing as supplemental therapies were also very helpful.
All of above natural methods and cures for treating Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism are not a substitute for the conventional treatment methods. But they are available and merit your attention. The purpose of all of them is to wake up your awareness about what you eat, what you do and how you feel; to make you the center of your own attention as right now you are the most important person in the world. Your own health is what matters most, nothing else. All these methods will bring you back to your body, the home of your soul; they’ll make you listen to it and pay attention to what it wants and needs.
Your body is talking to you – listen, and you will be healed.