I am wondering how heat affects training thyroid sufferers and how it is associated.
Heat is thermal stress, which is one of the six primary classes of stressors. The others are physical stress, chemical stress, electromagnetic stress, psychic stress and nutritional stress. The hypothyroid patient is reacting to overall stress levels in the individual, or the combined physiological stressors on that person’s body. Hypothyroidism is an attempt to down regulate metabolism to allow a person’s biology time to catch up to its perceived chronology. Stress accelerates the chronology, as shown by the elevated heart and respiratory rate in the stressed individual, not to mention all of the other stress markers such as elevated blood triglycerides and other biomarkers of aging.
Additionally, when the body cannot detoxify itself at a rate comparable to that at which it is being toxified by food, drink and other environmental factors, the thyroid gland down regulates metabolism. This increases body fat accumulation as a necessary means of storing toxins and diverting the toxins away from nervous, organ and glandular structures to protect them.
If heat is used with a hypothyroid patient, it is necessary to be very careful not to increase the overall level of stress on that person's body beyond therapeutic measure, or hypothyroidism will be increased. Examples of how heat can be used to aid the hypothyroid patient are:
- Clinical administration of infrared heat (e.g., infrared sauna)
- Increasing core temperature through the use of low intensity steady state exercise. This must be done very carefully as there is a very fine line between a therapeutic and traumatic application of exercise in such cases. Monitoring sympathetic versus parasympathetic function and other related stress indicators will be necessary as a feedback mechanism to protect the patient from the incorrect application of the therapeutic protocol.