Your Voice and Your Health: Thyroid Stimulation Through Vocal Vibration

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Case History #1 

Lynn P. is a 52 year old married woman living in the suburbs of Sacramento. She has been feeling sluggish and depressed and has just been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. She does some part time work on the Internet, and has little contact with others since her husband divorced her 2 years ago. Her two children are grown and living in another part of the country. Lynn likes to sing and belongs to a choir but hasn’t been singing since her divorce. Most of her communication with others is through email. Instead of taking thyroid medication she 

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decided to actively sing again each day, upon the advice of this author. Within a month her energy level rose and she no longer showed signs of low thyroid. 

Case History #2 

Mark, a quiet man, retired to Hawaii after a career as a cameraman. He built a house along a small coastal road. However, drivers along this road usually drove much faster than the speed limit and actually hit Mark’s dog. This turned Mark into an anti-speed vigilante, as he yelled at speeding cars to 

“SLOW DOWN!” Several months later Mark showed signs of hyperthyroidism, which the doctor treated by ablating Mark’s thyroid with radioactive iodine and putting him on lifetime thyroid medication. 

Lynn had used her voice all her life as a singer, but depression and life changes stopped her from singing. This coincided with a reduction in thyroid function. Returning to singing restored her thyroid activity. 

Mark was a quiet person and used his voice minimally with his work as a cameraman. However, his thyroid became overactive following his yelling at cars speeding by. 

Is there a link between how people use their voice and the health of their thyroid? 

Thyroid Regulation 

The thyroid gland is responsible for making the hormone thyroxine, which controls the rate of metabolism. Every cell of the body is influenced by this hormone. Too little of it, and you experience low metabolism, causing weight gain, fatigue, constipation, sensitivity to cold, and other signs of a sluggish system. This characterizes hypothyroidism. 

Too much of the hormone, and you feel the opposite. You get hot easily, feel anxious and hyperactive, lose weight, have trouble sleeping, have heart palpitations. These are signs of hyperthyroidism. 

The proper balance of the thyroid hormone is essential for life and is apparently controlled by the brain. 

Thyroxine is stored in the thyroid gland in a gel-like substance. The thyroid gland releases thyroxine by a classic feedback loop between the thyroid gland, the hypothalmus in the brain, and the pituitary gland. 

According to this pathway, the hypothalmus region of the brain detects the thyroxine concentration in the blood. It thyroxine is too low, the hypothalmus produces Thyroid Releasing Hormone, or TRH, which then stimulates the nearby pituitary gland to produce Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, or TSH. TSH then travels through the bloodstream to the thyroid gland and stimulates it to release more thyroxine. This newly released thyroxine is ultimately sensed by the hypothalmus, lowering its production of TRH. 

This feedback loop is taught to every medical student as the only way the thyroid is regulated. It is assumed that any thyroxine excess or deficit is a result of either a problem with the thyroid gland, or a problem with the hypothalmus or pituitary. Or it could be a result of too little or too much iodine, an essential component of the thyroxine hormone. 

However, there is another regulator of the thyroid that medicine never considers. It has to do with the location of the thyroid in the body. 

Body Design 

The thyroid is located directly beneath and partly around the thyroid cartilage, or the Adam’s apple, in the throat. Tilt your head back and feel for the most prominent cartilage sticking out. That’s the Adam’s apple. Underneath it and curving around the Adam’s apple like a butterfly is your thyroid gland. 

While the thyroid is on the outside of the Adam’s apple, on the inside is the larynx, or voice box. You can tell this by placing your hand on your Adam’s apple and humming. 

Try this. Hum by saying, “MMMMMMMMM”. Then say it louder and louder, until you are yelling. You will feel your throat vibrating. The louder you hum, the more it vibrates. 

What happens to the thyroid when your throat vibrates? Naturally, the thyroid vibrates, as well. Since the thyroid is filled with a gel-like material that stores thyroid hormone, the vibration of this gel causes it to release the hormone. 

It is already known by massage therapists that when the thyroid is massaged it releases thyroxine. This is why massage therapists avoid throat massages for hyperthyroid patients. Mechanical stimulation of the thyroid causes the gland to release thyroxine. 

This would explain why Nature has designed the thyroid to be surrounding the voice box. In its wisdom, Nature developed a way that our activity level can influence our thyroid function. 

That makes sense when you consider the function of thyroid hormone. This hormone is responsible for overall metabolic rate. When life is full of excitement and stimulation, we tend to talk, sing, or yell a great deal. The thyroid gets stimulated to release more hormone, stoking your fires and keeping the energy up. After times of being restful and quiet, your voice gets a rest as does the thyroid, and your fire gets turned down. 

The throat is essentially functioning as an activity indicator, since activity is usually associated with using one’s voice. We are social animals, and our activities usually involve other people with whom we communicate by using our voice. This is true for other social animals, as well. These animals keep in regular vocal contact with one another, whether it is geese honking, chickens clucking, dogs barking, or humans chatting. In all mammals and many vertebrates, the thyroid gland is associated with vocal structures. 

This raises a question regarding mute humans. If the thyroid is stimulated by vocalizing, and if a person is mute and unable to speak, then you would expect that that person would have an under- stimulated thyroid and display signs of hypothyroidism. Indeed, that is the case. One of the common problems mute children face as they grow 

up is their thyroid gland does not function properly, and by adolescence they are typically put on lifetime thyroid medication. 

But what if these mute children had their throats vibrated for them, perhaps by some voice simulator? Or what if they had their thyroids massaged? Surely, something could be done to replace the lost stimulation caused by mutism. 

Unfortunately, the link between vocalization and thyroid function is not currently recognized by modern medicine, so this therapeutic alternative to drugs is not considered by the drug focused medical industry. 

This link was, however, recognized by ancient Ayurvedic medicine, which recommends chanting as a way to strengthen the thyroid. 

Reversing Hypothyroidism with Vocal Stimulation 

Of course, mutism is the extreme case of under utilization of the voice. What about the millions of speaking people, mostly women, who are being told they have low thyroid and need lifetime medication and doctor visits? Could some of these people be under utilizing their voices, too? 

Since we have been telling people about this thyroid-voice link, we have had numerous reports which confirm the link. One was a nun who had been in seclusion without speaking for a couple of years. She started with a normal thyroid. After her seclusion, she reported she had low thyroid. 

We also heard from several women who had been singers and chanters for most of their lives, but some life event, such as divorce, resulted in their ending their vocalizations. Depression is often silent. And as a result, they became diagnosed with hypothyroidism. We asked them to once again sing or chant, and amazingly their spirits lifted as their thyroids were again stimulated. 

These people may benefit from singing, humming, massaging their throats, or even letting a purring cat caress their throats. They need throat stimulation to keep their fires burning. 

Reversing Hyperthyroidism with Silence 

On the other hand, there are those who overuse their voices, and overstimulate their thyroids. Hyperthyroidism is associated with stress, and many people who have stress in their lives yell. Yelling really vibrates the thyroid, and could cause vibrational injury. This could cause too much hormone to be released, resulting in temporary hyperthyroidism until the vibrational injury can heal. We have come across several case histories of people who started yelling for one reason or another, and developed hyperthyroidism soon thereafter. 

The fact is, most cases of high thyroid are transient and get better by themselves, assuming the doctor hasn’t already destroyed the thyroid with radioactive iodine or surgery. All you need to do is rest your voice and reduce thyroid stimulation. 

Revisiting Thyroid Regulation 

The role of the voice in stimulating the thyroid constitutes another axis for thyroid hormone control, along with the well recognized feedback mechanism from the brain’s hypothalmus and pituitary. 

People learn to use their voices to a certain extent in their lives, and this creates a certain level of thyroid stimulation through direct mechanical vibration. Vocalization patterns begin at birth as the baby cries, and this pattern is further developed throughout childhood with various experiences. By the time they are adults, people have a relatively stable vocalization pattern. Some people become talkers and singers, while others are quiet and introspective. Whatever their vocal pattern becomes, their hypothalmus-pituitary-thyroid feedback loop is set to this vocal pattern. 

When a person experiences a life event that alters his or her vocal pattern, thyroxine levels change. Quiet people who begin to overuse their voices develop hyperthyroidism. Those who typically use their voices and who become quiet develop hypothyroidism. Minimal changes in vocalization can be managed by the feedback loop. However, major changes require more time for the feedback loop to catch up. 

Thyroid Self Study 

Unfortunately, the current paradigm in medicine regarding the thyroid does not consider the role of vocal vibration in thyroid function. As a result, when a person goes to the doctor for a thyroid problem, he or she will often be placed on lifetime thyroid hormone replacement, often following the destruction of the thyroid by the doctor using radioactive iodine or surgery. Even if the thyroid is left intact, taking thyroid pills daily will lower the stimulation of the thyroid, as the brain senses higher levels of the hormone and reduces its production of TSH. 

In other words, going to the doctor for a thyroid problem (which may be temporary and which might be reversible by returning to one’s normal vocalization pattern) can result in a permanent thyroid problem, and lifetime medication. 

If you want to preserve or regain thyroid health, try this before you go to a doctor. 

First, examine your lifestyle and what is happening in your life to see if you are under or over utilizing your voice. If you feel you are under vocalizing, then talk, sing, chant, and hum each day. Maybe read a book aloud. Try using your voice for a couple of hours each day. 

On the other hand, if you have recently overused your voice, be quiet and whisper. Your thyroid needs a break and rest. 

In either event, give it some time, since the effects of thyroid hormone take several days to be apparent. In a month you should be feeling some difference in energy levels. 

So tell your friends with low thyroid that there is good news they can, and should, shout about. And tell your hyperthyroid friends to just shut up. 

References:

A.P. Wagner,a S. Chinnathambi,a I.R. Titze,b,c and E.A. Sandera, Vibratory stimulation enhances thyroid epithelial cell function Biochem Biophys Rep. 2016 Dec; 8: 376–381.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5614476/

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