The Thyroid Gland

Do you feel tired, uninspired, dull? It could be a breakdown in the well-being of your thyroid gland.  4 Element thinking helps us to notice that while the adrenal glands are the endocrine glands for the lumbar spine, the thyroid gland is the endocrine gland for your cervical spine.  

And in the same way that the legs can be seen as the extension of your lumbar spine, your arms can be seen as the extension of your neck. While leg action helps the adrenals, arm action helps the thyroid.

Before we go into detail on this, let’s review the thyroid. It’s a two-lobed endocrine organ that wraps around the bottom cartilage in the front of your throat. It’s about 2 inches tall, and about a ½ inch wide on each side, less than an inch thick. It’s part of the throat region that moves when you swallow.

Instead of dealing with the stresses that come as you encounter a dangerous situation (as your adrenals do), the thyroid deals more with you positively engaging the world beyond you.  When you come to think of it, the arms and hands are that part of you used to interact most positively with the world.  

Autoimmune problems like Hashimoto’s, and being hypothyroid often come when there is a breakdown in the capacity of your body to engage the world in this positive way. When the thyroid is not acting well we may become tired, lethargic, dull in our thinking. 

Because the thyroid is in the upper part of our body, it deals more with the things we consciously do, and with mental issues we might have. In a certain way, it relates to our confidence, our courage, our desire and ability to project our personal power outward. Unfortunately, it can hold within itself the energies from the outside that might have stifled your self-confidence. 

If you have thyroid issues, it is well worth working on letting go of the residual effects of stuff from the past, which may be energetically weakening the action of this most positive endocrine organ. This is why I will often say that there is clearly a personal growth aspect to the 4 Element Lifestyle. Each organ, each endocrine gland, each health issue typically has an emotional issue that we need to work through.

With all that said, there are a variety of resilience-giving ways to strengthen your thyroid.  One common under-looked one is that you may be regularly hindering the proper energizing of the thyroid’s physical place. 

Remember, the arms are an extension of your neck; the movement of your arms plays into the wellness of your neck, including the thyroid. It is fair to say that humankinds were meant to use their arms and hands on a regular basis. While our forebears used theirs in a variety of ways, we use ours in a more infrequent and limited way. We grip our car’s steering wheel, we move our pen, we type into our keyboard. Of course we do more, but often not so much more.

A problem of today, then, is that we don’t use our arms in too many ways, in too many skill-producing ways. Even mundane things like washing dishes are done by machine. We often buy convenience food, which means we don’t need to actually do much with our arms and hands. 

Again, the point is this: from a 4 Element way of thinking, Life wants you to be physical.  Life wants you to put movement into your body and wants you to be stimulated by the world beyond yourself.  The thyroid fits into all this by being the endocrine organ that promotes increased metabolism by important tissues – our heart, our brain, our muscles to help these things to happen. The thyroid makes you more creative, more energetically positive, more outgoing in the world.

Furthermore, the thyroid is affected by your posture. Epidemic today is forward head posture – from a lot of typing and engagement with one screen or another. This forward head that comes especially when we look down (even when walking) does terrible things to our neck – and all that is connected to it. The nerve energy that goes out from your neck to your arms can get blocked, causing everything from rotator cuff and carpal tunnel problems to plain old neck and shoulder muscle stiffness and spasm. 

This lack of proper neck motion puts a crimp in the nutritive vitality of the thyroid. As I tell my patients, “life is movement, movement is life”; the thyroid’s tissues are nourished as your neck moves in ways that are healthy. This movement pumps blood and other nutrients deep into the thyroid’s tissues – as well as supplies a positive feedback to the neck tissues that keep the whole of this neck-throat center strong.

It is worth mentioning a few other things. The thyroid’s production of thyroxine (T4), and its activation into the potent thyroid hormone, T3, is affected by the liver, kidneys and spleen. This shows how the whole body is holistically inter-connected. Strengthening these organs can also help your thyroid to be more energetically strong for you. If you want to strengthen your thyroid, it is useful to employ some nutritional supports as well as some 4 Element Yoga maneuvers!