Marc Ryan, L.Ac. – The Five Elements Model for Hashimoto’s

Five Elements Handout CoverAudio interview from the Hashimoto’s Summit, 9/18/14 Marc Ryan, L.Ac. interviewed by Andrea Nakayama.

Hey, people!

Here’s the audio and the handout from my interview at the recent Hashimoto’s Summit.

I was really honored to be included among some other amazing guests, many of whom are people I’ve studied with and looked up to for years.

Lots of people gave us very positive feedback on this interview, so I decided to post it here for you to listen to for the first time or again if you heard it before.

And the diagram to your right illustrates what I am talking about in the interview.

And that is the 5 Elements Model for understanding and treating Hashimoto’s.

The 5 Element model is a theory from Chinese medicine that looks at the way the different systems of the body interact. And these interactions include different organ systems, different emotions, and different influences throughout the body.

One thing that is interesting about this theory is that it looks at the way that emotion can adversely impact different organ systems.

I have taken this way of looking at disease and applied it to what we know about Hashimoto’s and the web of dysfunction that it causes in the body.

My interpretation is not pure Chinese medicine, it is really a hybrid of Chinese medicine and Functional Medicine.

Here’s a brief overview of each element:

Metal: The lung and large intestine. United by the lymphatic system. The negative emotion is grief and loss. Of course, with Hashimoto’s being an autoimmune disease this element definitely needs attention and balancing.

Earth: The Spleen/pancreas and stomach. The negative emotion is worry or obsessive thinking. Sugar balance has a huge impact on the thyroid and he brain. Obsessive thinking is also a symptom of dopamine deficiency. The stomach is also impacted by hypothyroidism, resulting in low levels of stomach acid.

Water: The kidneys and urinary bladder. Atop the kidneys sit the adrenal glands and they have a huge influence on the thyroid and thyroid health. The negative emotion of the water element is fear. Well, what is the “fight or flight” response? Fear!

Wood: The liver and gall bladder. So important for thyroid hormone conversion. And hypothyroidism affects cholesterol metabolism and slows bile flow causing gall stones in some people. The emotion of the wood element is anger and depression (or anger directed inward).

Fire: The heart and small intestine. Hashimoto’s has a big impact on cardiovascular function and lead to elevated homocysteine, high cholesterol, blood clotting issues and more. The small intestine is linked to the heart because it has the largest concentration of fine blood vessels in the entire body. Its where all our vitamins, minerals and nutrients are absorbed into our bloodstream and sent to the body. It is also ground zero for autoimmune disease. The negative emotion of the fire element is excessive joy or mania.

The 5 Element System is a very elegant way of making sense of all the complex interactions and vicious cycles created by Hashimoto’s. And when we focus on healing each of the elements, we can turn all these negative vicious cycles on their head and create positive healing momentum.