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Thyroid Power: 10 Steps to Total Health
by Richard Shames M.D. and Karilee Shames, Ph.D., R.N.

Review and Information from Mary Shomon

thypower.gif - 3275 BytesRichard and Karilee Shames are not only husband and wife, but doctor and nurse, AND thyroid practitioner and thyroid patient. For more than twenty-five years, the Shameses have been working with people who are "low thyroid" -- the term they use to describe hypothyroidism -- in their book, Thyroid Power: Ten Steps to Total Health. Karilee herself is hypothyroid, as are several of the couple's children, and these experiences have informed both authors, who have struggled to help not only their own family, but many patients they have treated for thyroid problems as well. In a simply written, straightforward manner, the Shameses have organized some basics of hypothyroidism's causes, test, diagnosis and treatment into a ten-step program of information that can help patients get properly diagnosed and treated.

The ten steps include:

  1. Consider Thyroid The Hidden Factor in Your Overall Health
  2. Learn How Low Thyroid Makes Any Illness Worse
  3. Use Signs, Symptoms, & Family History to Support A Diagnosis
  4. Realize You May Still Be Low Thyroid Despite Normal Tests
  5. Discover Your Best Dose, Brand, or Mix of Medicines
  6. Re-Balance Your Reproductive System
  7. Determine if Low Adrenal Should Also Be Treated
  8. Boost Your Medication with Natural Therapies
  9. Improve the Underlying Autoimmune Condition
  10. Reach Optimal Recovery with An Empowered Lifestyle
One of the most interesting and innovative parts of the book is Step 9 -- "Improve the Underlying Autoimmune Condition." This section shares some of the results from Karilee's weekly thyroid recovery group meetings held with other thyroid patients. This chapter talks about issues patients have experienced with emotional sensitivity, self-esteem, perfectionism, maintaining momentum, being empowered, and more, and many of the "common characteristics" of people with autoimmune hypothyroidism struck a chord personally with me.

For already diagnosed thyroid patients, Step Seven's overview of adrenal insufficiency is also a very useful adjunct, particularly for thyroid patients who do not feel well on what is considered sufficient treatment for hypothyroidism.

A unique section is titled "How to Tap the Source of Boundless Energy," which talks about energy healing, the energy chakras, and self-actualization. While not specifically focused on the thyroid, this section is an excellent introduction to the concepts of energy work for those who are not familiar with modalities such as Reiki, healing hands, or laying on of hands.

The main weakness in this book is the fact that many thyroid patients who read the book will not have access to practitioners who are even remotely as open-minded or holistic in their approach as Richard and Karilee Shames. While the Shameses are part of a growing body of alternative practitioners who are innovative their diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism, the vast majority of patients are still subject to very limited, highly conventional treatment protocols, and a very ingrained doctrine of thyroid treatment. Rigid adherence to TSH tests, "normal ranges" and levothyroxine as the sole treatment is the standard practice, and what standard practice is what is typically covered by HMOs and insurance companies. The Shames' use of TRH, total T3, free T3 and antibodies tests as standard, and their unbiased use of levothyroxine, synthetic T3, or natural thyroid products -- whatever product works best for each individual patient -- are encouraging, but still uncommon among most medical professionals.

For more information, read these interviews Mary Shomon has conducted with authors Richard and Karilee Shames:
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All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician or health practitioner before starting a new treatment program. Please see our full disclaimer.