Special thanks to Matthus Girke and his foundational book Anthroposophic Medicine
Thyroid and Health
The action of the thyroid can be compared to the horse with a rider. Hypothyroid states have a rider with a tired horse. Symptoms of fatigue, depression, and poor memory are common. Hyperthyroid states show a rider on a wild or disturbed horse. Anxiety, emotional swings and insomnia develop. The thyroid thus stands between the forces of light and the forces of life. It finds its place in the neck- a vulnerable spot in the human body. Body language such as covering the neck with the hand signifies feeling in a vulnerable situation. The liver is the organ at the seat of our life forces and it has a relationship to the thyroid. It actually produces the precursors that are used in the gland itself. The forces of light (closely related to our consciousness I forces or piloting forces) work into the human organism through the frontal lobe of the brain.
Subclinical Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism- Too Coarse a Sieve?
One tenth of the population has subclinical a subclinical thyroid disorder. Mostly this disorder goes undiagnosed and is considered as not causing any detectable symptoms. But science may be using too coarse of a sieve- are we missing subtle symptoms from these “subclinical” disorders?
We diagnose subclinical hypothyroidism when the thyroid hormone amount is normal but the hormone stimulating the thyroid (TSH) is high- the body has to more heavily encourage the gland to work. Subclinical hyperthyroidism occurs when the hormone is normal but the TSH is lower than normal- the thyroid is working without oversight from the body. Interestingly, though one would not expect to see any negative effect from a materialistic point of view as a normal amount of hormone is working through the body in both states, there have been several studies finding just the effects we would expect from a humanized, spiritual outlook.
In subclinical hypothyroidism that is untreated there are studies showing double the incidence of depression1 than the general population. Infertility may be greater in subclinical hypothyroid patients2 with treatment showing a positive effect on fertility. Heart disease and cholesterol abnormalities have been linked to the subclinical hypothyroid state as well3. The dynamic working of the astral soul element in the bodily constitution is decreased resulting in relative inelasticity of arteries and inability to conceive. Without surprise, some of the risks of subclinical hypothyroidism are not alleviated simply by giving artificial thyroiid hormone. The body is already producing enough natural hormone- a salutogenic (human supporting) approach needs to be taken instead.
Subclinical hyperthyroidism has been associated with atrial fibrillation and death from heart failure4. Findings of increased risk of dementia5 in the elderly with this condition are concerning. Other psychiatric conditions are also being examined for a linkage but the evidence is less robust.
The materialistic view of disease sees disease occurring from a physical issue. Our anthroposophic (humanized) approach with the thyroid sees an evolution of disease possible from spiritual (non-material) imbalances that affect the relationship to the higher members of our being (I organization, astral body, life body). This process eventually takes hold of the physical and results in material changes in our body. These thyroid conditions untreated will evolve into full hypo or hyper thyroid disorders.
Indications to Therapy
In thyroid disorders we can start to see that the pilot (I organization) needs to be addressed. In low thyroid states the pilot needs to nurture the too tired horse (the astral organization). In overactive thyroid states the pilot needs to actively rein in the wild horse. Movement therapy- especially eurythmy exercises can have a key role in treatment. Biographical work is another key aspect. The numerous pharmaceutical remedies will also be discussed but these will address the four-fold human constitution of body, life, soul and spirit.