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Alternative therapies can be valuable tools in treating chronic health conditions like Hashimoto's thyroiditis. We often find that combining medicine and alternative treatments can yield remarkable results for people with autoimmune disorders. A therapy that is gaining popularity is NAET (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique). Although it has been around for a few decades now, there are still many questions as to what it involves and if it is effective for thyroid disorders.
The Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET) is a drug-free, non-invasive, natural solution some practitioners use to alleviate allergies and other conditions of immune hyperactivity. Founded by Dr. Devi Nambudripad in 1983, this practice uses a combination of therapies to create a holistic treatment plan for patients.
NAET practitioners may use acupuncture and acupressure, medication, chiropractic medicine, kinesthesiology, and nutritional support to help people combat allergens. A big part of this practice is to help restore energy balance within the body.
For people seeking treatment for allergies, practitioners often start a session by doing a Neuromuscular Sensitivity Test, where the practitioner applies pressure at an acupuncture site. At the same time, the patient holds a vial with a specific allergen. Practitioners say they can feel energy blockages that can tell them how reactive the person is to a particular allergen.
NAET providers do not have to hold a medical license to provide this therapy. Typically, people who become certified in NAET have a background in acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, massage therapy, nutrition, and eastern medicine. To formally practice NAET, you need to take a training course and become certified.
The NAET program specifies that people who care for severely allergic patients, such as those who require an EpiPen, need to be exceptionally skilled and highly trained to take on these patients.
So, what does NAET have to do with the thyroid? After all, it appears that is a technique used for helping people reduce their food and environmental allergies.
The NAET program also claims to help people who may have an energy imbalance due to toxins in their environment. There are numerous known endocrine disruptors in some of our everyday products and even air and water. Some theories point to the fact that toxins in our environment lead to autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto's.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that affect our endocrine glands and change the way our body perceives our hormones. For example, endocrine disruptors can:
- Mimic a hormone that is naturally produced in our body and binds to a receptor site, making a signal smaller or weaker or causing a signal to release at the wrong time.
- Bind to a receptor site, preventing the actual hormone from binding and doing its job.
- Interfere with how our endocrine glands make and release hormones, leaving the body deprived of sufficient levels of our natural hormones.
Some NAET practitioners claim to help desensitize people to endocrine disruptors, much like they may help people with allergies become less reactive to allergens. By becoming less sensitive to endocrine disruptors, your endocrine glands may start to work better, and hormone levels may stabilize.
Most of the evidence out there to support using NAET for thyroid treatment is anecdotal. Indeed, no evidence-based research can confirm that NAET is a successful treatment option for thyroid diseases. What is more, many sources say the NAET methods are not recommended for people with allergies and may have severe consequences if people mistakenly assume the treatment has resolved their allergies.
With that said, it does appear to be a very low-risk practice when it comes to possibly helping the immune system become less reactive to endocrine disruptors.
Perhaps the most significant risk in using this therapy is not seeking other, foundational treatment options to help correct thyroid hormone problems. There is plenty of evidence-based research that supports the use of thyroid hormone replacement medications to help restore thyroid hormone levels in people with Hashimoto's hypothyroidism. However, by not treating an underactive thyroid with medication, you place yourself at greater risk for health problems like heart disease.
Paloma Health believes in managing your thyroid health with a whole-body approach, including medication, diet, exercise, sleep, and alternative therapies, if appropriate. There can be value in trying a variety of approaches to managing your thyroid.
If you're interested in trying an alternative therapy to manage your thyroid condition, we recommend that you start by consulting your thyroid doctor. Your thyroid doctor can partner with you to determine which other treatment options may be helpful to your specific condition.
Schedule a consultation with a Paloma Health thyroid doctor to create a plan to optimize your thyroid health.