Posted on: 16 January 2017
If you're currently suffering from underactive thyroid (known medically as hypothyroidism), you're not alone. Thyroid disorders affect roughly 486,000 people in Australia. While hormone replacement medications do exist to treat underactive thyroid, they can often take a long time to begin working, and some people feel that they don't see a noticeable reduction in their symptoms. If medication isn't working out for you or you've chosen to avoid using it, there is another way to relieve the negative effects of hypothyroidism: massage therapy.
Massage therapy is an alternative healing method dating back to ancient times. As the name suggests, this therapy involves massaging your muscles and other body tissues to improve your health. While massage therapy is an alternative medicine, that doesn't mean it has no basis in science. Here are 3 research-backed ways that massage therapy could reduce your hypothyroidism symptoms:
Reducing Your Blood Pressure
As you likely already know, thyroid issues don't happen in a self-contained bubble. Underactive thyroid can cause problems throughout your body, including in your cardiovascular system. That's why hypothyroidism can lead to secondary hypertension, known colloquially as high blood pressure.
Massage therapy is a great treatment for high blood pressure. A study conducted in 2000 found that 10 half-hour sessions of massage over 5 weeks reduced diastolic blood pressure (the pressure recorded between your heartbeats). A later study in 2005 produced similar results, showing that 10 minutes of back massage 3 times a week for 10 sessions reduced blood pressure for patients with hypertension.
Reducing Your Muscular Pain
Do you suffer from muscular aches and stiffness? This is a common symptom for those with hypothyroidism, often because of muscle swelling and pressure on nerves.
As massage targets your body's soft tissues, it's not surprising that's it's great for relieving muscle pain. Research has found that massage discourages your body from producing cytokines, a compound which increases inflammation. It also stimulates your body to repair any cell damage in your muscles. As a bonus, this can help your body adapt to increased exercise, which is great for those looking to use fitness to reduce their underactive thyroid symptoms.
Reducing Your Tiredness
For many hypothyroidism sufferers, fatigue is one of the most debilitating symptoms. Many people struggle to go about their daily lives because they feel so tired. Given that underactive thyroid causes pain, depression, and other problems that affect sleep, it can often feel impossible to get yourself well rested.
Massage therapy addresses tiredness in multiple ways. One way is by reducing the aches and pains in your muscles that can keep you awake at night. Regular massage has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol, known as the 'stress hormone'. Decreasing cortisol can alleviate anxiety and depression, making it easier to sleep. It also increases delta wave activity, which contributes to relaxation deep sleep. Aside from reducing bodily tiredness, the same study found that massage therapy also helped to reduce mental tiredness by increasing alertness and problem solving.Share