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Acupuncture Today
August, 2008, Vol. 09, Issue 08
 
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Acupoints for Thyroid Disorders

By Yin Lo, PhD

According to the American Medical Women's Association, there are about 13 million people in the U.S. who have thyroid disorders. However, more than half of those 13 million cases are undiagnosed. One in eight women will have a thyroid disorder in their lifetime.

Thyroid disorders are particularly prevalent for women. So, how can we detect thyroid disorders early? By relying on meridian theory in Chinese medicine. I believe infrared images may provide one way to detect thyroid early and non-invasively.

When we have the flu, a virus is attacking our body. Our body tries to heal itself by gearing up more biochemical reactions, which yield heat and result in our body temperature increasing. Similarly, for any organ in our body that has a disorder, it will try to heal itself by gearing up more biochemical reactions, which then yield heat. This also results in the organ's local temperature increasing.

Our thyroid is in the neck region. The infrared thermal radiation from the thyroid, in most cases, does not seem to be able to penetrate the surrounding tissues to reach the surface of the neck and be detected by infrared camera. We do not commonly see the front surface of the neck in a higher temperature from the thyroid disorder.

From experience, we have evidence to suggest the higher temperature of the thyroid presents infrared radiation in the Stomach meridian from the part beneath the neck along the collar bone (from St11 to St12).

Discovered by scientists at Fudan University in China, meridians are like optical fibers transparent to infrared. Hence, we observe higher temperature in these regions. We shall give four examples as shown below.

Example 1: Subject A

A woman in her 40s came to my office and complained about a thyroid problem. Upon taking infrared pictures, we observed two obvious hot spots at St11 points on the left side as well as the right side. (See Figure 1) The color code is as follows: hottest in white, then red, yellow, green and blue, with black being the coldest.

Subject A

Infrared images showing body surface temperature distribution. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Figure 1a & Figure 1b

Figure 1: Infrared images show the body surface temperature distribution before (Figure 1a) and after (Figure 1b) healing with external qi.

After being treated with external qi, most of the area shown in red (35.34 C°) decreased in temperature into a much cooler green color (34.98 C°), which is a reduction of 0.36 C°. (The statistical fluctuation is about 0.1 C°.)

Example 2: Subject B

A woman in her 50s came to see me about a parasite problem. During the complete body scan with infrared imaging, we found she had two hot spots along the stomach meridian and in the collar bone region. (See Figure 2)

Subject B

Infrared images showing body surface temperature distribution. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Figure 2a & Figure 2b

Figure 2: Infrared images that show the body surface temperature distribution before (Figure 2a) and after (Figure 2b) healing with external qi.

After being treated with external qi, most of the hot area shown in white (35.07 C°) reduced to a cooler red color at 34.34 C°, which is a reduction of 0.73 C°. (The statistical fluctuation is about 0.1 C°.)

Example 3: Subject C

A 46-year-old male with a thyroid disorder for 14 years tried many methods, none of which worked. His body surface temperature of the face and neck region are shown in Figure 3.

Subject C

Infrared images showing body surface temperature distribution. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Figure 3a & Figure 3b

Figure 3: Infrared images show the body surface temperature distribution before (Figure 3a) and after (Figure 3b) healing with external qi.

In the collar-bone region where the Stomach meridian passes, there are two hot spots. After being treated with external qi, the hot spots in that region (35.4 C°) reduced to a much smaller size with a maximum temperature of 35.1 C°, which is a reduction of 0.3 C°. (The statistical fluctuation is about 0.1 C°.)

Example 4: Subject D

A dentist who broke his wrist bone came to see me. He did not want to have a cast on his wrist because that would prevent him from working. So he sought the help of alternative medicine and decided to be treated with external qi.

During the healing, we found two hot spots on his collar bone area along the Stomach meridian. (See Figure 4) As in other cases, I suspected a problem with his thyroid. He said it would be possible; he had been working very hard and was exhausted. His thyroid probably was overworked and starting to have problems. The maximum temperatures of the hot spots around the Stomach meridian in the collar bone area reduced by 0.89 C°, quite a large number as compared to the three previous examples. This more than likely indicated the problem was not serious.

Subject D

Infrared images showing body surface temperature distribution. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Figure 4a & Figure 4b
 

Figure 4: Infrared images show the body surface temperature distribution before (Figure 4a) and after (Figure 4b) healing with external qi.

After being treated with external qi, the hot spots at the collar bone region with a maximum temperature of 34.34 C° reduced to a red color with a maximum temperature of 33.45 C°, which is a reduction of 0.89 C°. (The statistical fluctuation is about 0.1 C°.)

Finally, I have one question for acupuncturists. Each subject with the thyroid disorder felt pain when pressing the hot spots between St11 and St12. Would the insertion of needles in these two hot spots help the thyroid disorder recover faster? Please let me know your results.


Click here for previous articles by Yin Lo, PhD.

 

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