Archive for the ‘Wellness’ Category

Regarding the Hyperthyroid

Thyroid and massageJanuary is Thyroid Awareness Month and everywhere I look I see lots and lots of information about hypothyroidism and very little on hyperthyroidism. So I thought I would share a little bit about my recent experience with a whacked out, overactive, hyperthyroid.

While you need a blood test to diagnose hyperthyroidism here are a few things to look out for that might lead you to your doctor for a test

  • Significant, unexplained weight loss paired with increased appetite
  • Anxiety and/or nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations, pounding and/or racing heart
  • Higher rates of hair and nail growth
  • Muscle weakness
  • Increased frequency of bowel output
  • Menstrual changes

Unfortunately, I experienced all of the above listed symptoms and it was absolutely no fun whatsoever. The onset of symptoms came on gradually over a period of a few weeks until I was a vibrating mess of emotional turmoil that led to a weepy doctor’s office visit where blood was drawn. Apparently these are classic symptoms and the doctors knew pretty quickly what we were dealing with.

Ironically, I had been on meds for hypothyroid for several years. So those were stopped in the hopes the symptoms would resolve on their own. They did not. The medical course of treatment to date has been a wait and see with a monthly blood draw to test the levels of thyroid hormones in my bloodstream.

Being the more proactive type, I did some research. The medical options for treating hyperthyroidism are pretty bleak. They include meds that might reduce the thyroid hormone, taking radioactive iodine to destroy all or part of the thyroid thus ensuring a lifelong hypothyroid condition, or complete removal of the thyroid gland (also effecting a lifelong hypothyroid condition).

All of these medical interventions sounded a little scary to me so I looked in a more holistic direction and added an herbal tincture of bugleweed, lemon balm, and motherwort. Each of these herbs combat different symptoms I was experiencing. I also cleaned up my diet, focusing on reducing inflammation in my body and giving my gut flora the nutritional building blocks it needed to repopulate. I realized that over the 6 weeks preceding the hyperthyroid symptom onset I had allowed some less than healthy eating habits to drift into my diet. I also drank a lot of nervine tea, diffused essential oils, and received massage to combat the constant and overwhelming anxiety I experienced.

What Causes Hyperthyroidism?

There are several known causes of thyroid disease, but from the research I have done it seems that it’s not well understood overall. More information on the known causes of hyperthyroidism can be found here.

I believe my hyperthyroidism was caused by inflammation from poor dietary choices. And while I haven’t had a blood test in a while to see, I think I’m leveling off. Though I certainly don’t think my thyroid journey is over.

As always, if you suspect your thyroid is not functioning properly, please see a doctor. This article is informational only and not to be used as medical advice.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is a Certified Holistic Manual Lymph Drainage Therapist!

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SleepCurveWith Spring Forward recently behind us and the ensuing Monday morning pain of getting up an hour earlier while pretending I’m really not, I got to thinking about being robbed of one more hour of sleep.

According to the CDC insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. I Googled “American sleep deficit” and got 30,300,000 hits. That’s millions of articles about Americans and their sleepiness and that doesn’t even cover all of them. So a bunch of studies tell us that as Americans, we are chronically sleep deprived. Do I really need to convince you that we’re not getting enough sleep to begin with? You’re probably tired right now and I’ll bet you didn’t get 8 solid hours last night. I know I sure didn’t.

Lack of sleep is implicated in weight gain, stress, depression, and time change in particular is implicated in a rise of heart attacks. Scary stuff…

So with all this bad news, what can we do to log more pillow time?

  • Avoid caffeine and other chemical stimulants after 3pm to give your body time to process and eliminate it
  • Avoid large meals too close to your bedtime. Digestion is different for everyone so I can’t tell you when to stop eating, but uncomfortably large meals will affect your ability to settle into sleep and stay asleep. We’ve all had it happen.
  • Set a bedtime – Sounds like a no-brainer, but do you have a bedtime? If it sounds like this, “Well, I usually go to bed after…,” then the answer is no. If it sounds like, “I go to bed at 10:30 unless my kid is sick,” then the answer is yes.
  • Cultivate a routine – Start a bedtime routine and stick to it. Set your alarm clock to remind you when it’s time to start your bedtime routine. I do this and I hate it, but I find it necessary or I continue to watch tv, work a puzzle, play on Facebook, etc.
  • Log off – Make the first part of your bedtime routine to shut down all the screens in your area. Studies are continually released proving that the light from all our screen time is messing with our melatonin levels and ability to go to sleep. I still struggle with this as I tend to surf Facebook and Pinterest as a relaxation aid.
  • Relax – After logging off, put on your jammies, wash your face, take your medicine and get all your other prep activities finished. Now do something to relax. Drink a cup of herbal tea, read a book, meditate, pray, snuggle up, whatever it is that relaxes your body and mind.
  • Turn out the lights – Where you sleep needs to be dark. Really dark, like ‘can’t see your hand in front of your face’ dark. No street lights shining in the window, no night lights, no TV’s, no blinking battery chargers, no digital clocks or DVRs beaming the time at you all night long. Dark, dark, dark so your melatonin can do its job.
  • Give yourself permission to rest – I know it sounds all hippy dippy, but we have really let this culture of busy-ness take over. It’s okay to take a break from the break-neck speed that is our world.

I think of the whole life rhythm as a bell curve or sine wave. Before you start your bedtime routine you’re sitting somewhere near the top of the bell. The bedtime routine is designed to get you to the bottom of the curve which is sleep. A ramping down of the excitement of the day into the relaxation and bliss that is sleep.

And while most of my tips above deal with the actual bedtime routine and getting to sleep, reducing stress and promoting relaxation during any part of the day can be helpful in getting to sleep. Here’s a good news article on how recent research is proving how massage helps sleep. #SleepWeek

I hope you find something interesting and helpful in this article/rant about sleep. And if you are as outraged and upset about the continuing insanity of changing the time, disrupting our health, and raising our risk of accidents and heart attacks twice a year you can join me in using #LeaveTheClockAlone and #AbolishTimeChange. Or you can sign one of the dozens of petitions that get started this time of year to try to get rid of time change.

Be well and give yourself permission to sleep and to rest.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Only Ashi-Thai Therapist!

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Ticked Off!

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a couple of very scary tick experiences. I don’t like ticks and they don’t like me. Well, that’s not true. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be that they like me too much.

My body’s reaction to a tick bite is no fun, I have massive, skin-based allergic reactions to the little buggers. The doctors like to call it contact dermatitis which I think is somewhat of an understatement. I prefer to call it the nasty, oozing, itching, ring of hell, but then I’m no medical doctor.

Anyway, I am fine and have mostly gotten over the trauma of having a tick get way too friendly. But it got me to thinking about tick safety and thought someone might could use a roundup of useful tick tips.

So here goes…

1. How to remove a tick and other stuff that’s good to know.

I see that we did several things wrong when removing my most recent tick. Of course, it was all I could do to be still after I discovered the thing hanging off my leg. Running away from an embedded tick does not work. Experience talking.

2. How to reduce ticks around your yard.

People tell me all the time that you can use Sevin Dust around your yard to kill ticks. I don’t know if it works or not. We don’t use it because it kills all the beneficial insects (like lady bugs) that eat the bad insects chewing on the garden. Maybe I need some more chickens to eat the ticks?

3. Ticks and your dog

Bleee… itching, itching, itching now… I just didn’t need to know all that.

4. What the CDC has to say about tick-borne illness

Please excuse me while I go all hypochondriac for a moment.

Okay, I’m going to stop here because frankly I’m a little skeeved right now and can’t handle anymore. I really don’t like ticks at all. And after reading a bunch of (really scary) stuff on the internet, I’m hanging my hat on the first article I have linked up there where it says most ticks don’t carry disease. I never would have known that if I hadn’t gotten bitten (again). Anyway, hope this is helpful.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Exclusive Provider of Ashi-Thai Massage!

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