Expert Advice

Body + Fitness
Body + Fitness
How Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Can Support Thyroid Health

Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC, is partnering with Ericca Burke, a board-certified licensed acupuncturist, to bring greater awareness to the importance of thyroid care and education. This post was sponsored by Acella Pharmaceuticals and should not be construed as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor about your individual medical situation.

An Ancient Medicine

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been practiced for thousands of years in Asian countries. Records of ancient Chinese acupuncture dated more than 3,000 years ago have been found on bone etchings in China. Otzi, the 5,000-year-old mummified man discovered in Central Europe in 1991, was found to have tattoos at acupuncture point locations.

While the term Chinese medicine covers a variety of modalities, acupuncture is perhaps the most well-known form of Chinese medicine practiced in the United States. Many practitioners refer to their work as acupuncture and Chinese medicine to indicate that while their focus is on acupuncture, the foundation is rooted in Chinese medicine in terms of their training and approach. This term also suggests that they employ additional Chinese medicine practices such as cupping or moxibustion.

Focus on Wellness

What often draws people to Chinese medicine is its focus on the overall wellness of the individual rather than fighting a disease or painful condition. When energy in the body becomes disrupted, the disharmony creates pain or illness. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help restore the optimal flow of energy so the body can heal itself.

Energetic Pathways

According to Chinese medicine, energy, or qi, flows through channels, also referred to as meridians, throughout the body. This energetic system can be thought of as a network of interconnected rivers or highways, much like the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems in the body. Each of the major organs is associated with a channel, and the channels are connected to muscles, bones and joints as well as organs. There are 12 primary channels: lung, large intestine, stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidney, Xin Bao (pericardium), San Jiao (triple warmer), gall bladder and liver. There are also six extraordinary (curious) vessels.

Acupuncture points occur along the channels at specific points where the qi is concentrated and accessible. There are more than 365 acupuncture points and a multitude of extraordinary points throughout the body.

Connection to the Thyroid

Just as each person is unique, a Chinese medicine diagnosis and treatment is tailored to the individual. Hypothyroidism can result from a number of different kinds of disruptions to the body’s energetic pathways and energy flow. For example, there may not be enough energy present in the kidneys’ or spleen’s energetic pathway, or even in the body’s qi or energy system overall. This lack of energy or movement relates to the body’s lower performing thyroid. Another possibility is what is referred to as a blood deficiency, which can occur after a woman gives birth. This reduced amount of blood and energy can contribute to a sluggish thyroid. A Chinese medicine practitioner will make a detailed assessment of the patient’s health history and presentation to determine exactly where the energy needs to be harmonized.

Complementary to Western Medicine

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are complementary to Western medicine and are increasingly being used in integrative medicine centers and hospitals worldwide. Doctors seeking a holistic solution for their patients will often refer their patients to an acupuncturist to restore balance to the body’s energetic systems and help the patient’s body heal.

Important Risk Information

Drugs with thyroid hormone activity, alone or together with other therapeutic agents, have been used for the treatment of obesity. In euthyroid patients, doses within the range of daily hormonal requirements are ineffective for weight reduction. Larger doses may produce serious or even life-threatening manifestations of toxicity, particularly when given in association with sympathomimetic amines such as those used for their anorectic effects.
  • NP Thyroid® is contraindicated in patients with uncorrected adrenal insufficiency, untreated thyrotoxicosis, and hypersensitivity to any component of the product.
  • In the elderly and in patients with cardiovascular disease, NP Thyroid® should be used with greater caution than younger patients or those without cardiovascular disease.
  • Use of NP Thyroid® in patients with diabetes mellitus or adrenal cortical insufficiency may worsen the intensity of their symptoms.
  • The therapy of myxedema coma requires simultaneous administration of glucocorticoids.
  • Concomitant use of NP Thyroid® with oral anticoagulants alters the sensitivity of oral anticoagulants. Prothrombin time should be closely monitored in thyroid-treated patients on oral anticoagulants.
  • In infants, excessive doses of NP Thyroid® may produce craniosynostosis.
  • Partial loss of hair may be experienced by children in the first few months of therapy but is usually transient.
  • Adverse reactions associated with NP Thyroid® therapy are primarily those of hyperthyroidism due to therapeutic overdosage.
  • Many drugs and some laboratory tests may alter the therapeutic response to NP Thyroid®. In addition, thyroid hormones and thyroid status have varied effects on the pharmacokinetics and actions of other drugs. Administer at least 4 hours before or after drugs that are known to interfere with absorption. Evaluate the need for dose adjustments when regularly administering within one hour of certain foods that may affect absorption.
  • NP Thyroid® should not be discontinued during pregnancy, and hypothyroidism diagnosed during pregnancy should be promptly treated.


NP Thyroid® (thyroid tablets, USP) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat a condition called hypothyroidism from any cause, except for cases of temporary hypothyroidism, which is usually associated with an inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis). It is meant to replace or supplement a hormone that is usually made by your thyroid gland.

NP Thyroid® is also used in the treatment and prevention of normal functioning thyroid goiters, such as thyroid nodules, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multinodular goiter, and in the management of thyroid cancer.