Overcoming Hashimoto’s Disease

Imagine living a life where you feel almost superhuman. Running multiple businesses, juggling a household of five, having energy to burn while participating in demanding physical activities such as sailing, skiing, and tramping. This was Martine’s life up to five years ago, when out of the blue her life came to a crashing halt. Little did she know that her extreme sports would be replaced with activities for overcoming Hashimoto’s disease.

Martine recalls one particular day while skiing the black runs at Coronet Peak. Her body let her down and she collapsed for no apparent reason. With a mindset to push through anything, Martine got up and kept going, brushing it off and keeping up with the athletic effort. After all, her body had always bounced back previously.

Over time Martine noticed more and more deterioration of her general condition and her fitness that didn’t make sense to her. Unexplained weight gain, thinning hair, and even a struggle going for short walks were becoming common occurences that were quite inexplicable. The confidence she had previously had in her physical ability and her resilience were now things of the past.

It was then that Martine was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease.

Hashimoto’s disease is a debilitating condition in which one’s immune system literally attacks one’s thyroid gland. The thyroid gland produces important hormones that control many of the body’s functions. The disease negatively impacts the muscles and joints creating aches, weakness, stiffness and pain.  Hashimoto’s disease also creates brain fog, fatigue and impairs concentration. For a highly active, high achieving individual this diagnosis was crushing for Martine.

In her effort to conquer Hashimoto’s Martine has made huge changes to her nutrition, and favours natural therapies which she finds help her to a certain extent.  Getting back into a fitness regime was proving to be challenging, particularly with the conventional exercise modalities available to her at the gym. Martine was trapped in a Catch 22. She knew that exercise would energise her body and mind, yet physical exertion was exacerbating her muscle fatigue, stiffness and joint pain.

Martine’s resilience, together with the support of her husband, led Martine to persist with gym sessions to try to get back to some semblance of her “normal”. One day a few years ago she bumped into a friend who had just joined the same gym. Martine’s friend was exercising on a Power Plate pro5 machine that the gym had positioned in the stretching area. Curiosity got the better of Martine and she asked her friend to show her how to use the Power Plate. This was a watershed moment for Martine.

After just one workout on the Power Plate Martine felt energised for the first time in a very long time. Loving the fact that working out on the Power Plate required minimal grunt, Martine found her whole body vibration sessions were having an amazingly positive impact on her body.

The proof point for Martine that whole body vibration was exercise, was a comical interaction her husband had when he was first introduced to the Power Plate. Martine’s husband is a typical staunch Kiwi male with a “go hard or go home” attitude to working out. On this particular day he had not been able to get onto the calf raise machine at the gym and decided to call it quits on the session and head home. He wandered over to meet Martine at the Power Plate area where she was working out with her friend. After much cajoling he agreed to try doing his loaded calf raises on the vibrating platform. Naturally, he scoffed that it was far too easy and couldn’t possibly be giving him a proper calf workout. Fast forward to the next day when he had to eat his words. So intense had been his workout that he found himself hobbling around for the next three days!  He scoffs no more… (The ladies had clearly kept to themselves the secret of post-workout massage on the Power Plate for boosted recovery!)

Power Plate uses a patented three dimensional vibration with decades of scientific validation explaining the physiological benefits. The unique vibration of the Power Plate machine destabilises the body and causes a rapid reflex contraction, stimulating the muscles to do more actions more often. Explained in simple terms – the increased frequency of contraction leads the muscles to do more work and enhances the effects of any exericise that could be typically done on the ground. Power Plate’s whole body vibration can be used by just about anybody cleared for exercise, no matter their age or physical condition.

Martine found that the benefits were countering the symptoms of her Hashimoto’s disease. After regular use she has developed more muscle strength, improved flexibility, a reduction in pain and is effectively managing her weight. All this is achieved without exhausting herself in the process. The icing on the cake for Martine has been the improvement to her clarity of mind. Having the brain fog lifted has improved her moods, happiness and overall wellbeing.

Realsiing that Power Plate was going to be part of her life always, Martine now has her own Power Plate at home and has the freedom to work out whenever it suits her schedule. Her resulting muscle gain has not bulked her up at all – she has retained her sleek feminine shape. Her flexibility has improved with an increased toe reach of over 10cm, helping to reduce her back pain. Compared to other sufferers of Hashimoto’s disease, Martine’s antibody levels are changing significantly, signaling that there may be light at the end of the tunnel

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Martine has also stumbled upon another realisation. Knowing that the vibrations trigger unconscious muscle activation, Martine has tapped into this and made sure she smiles throughout each workout. With her facial muscles also being stimulated, every “workout” results in work done towards maintaining tone and youthfulness – face yoga on a plate!

 

Being diganosed with Hashimoto’s disease meant Martine had to learning to live her life in a whole new way. She maintains the hope that one day she will once again feel her “superhuman” power return.

With each day that passes and with every workout completed, Martine’s mind–body connection is rebuilding, along with the energy levels she requires to meet the demands of running four businesses and her household of five. An incredible ask for most healthy individuals, but for Martine each step she makes towards overcoming Hashimoto’s disease is like winning gold at the Olympics.

 

  • by Belinda Kropach

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