The kidneys in Chinese medicine

Kidney energy is critical to the human life cycle of birth, sexual maturity, procreation, menopause and, finally, death.

by Christopher Vedeler — 

In the West, we know the kidneys are sophisticated filters that remove toxins from the blood. They also play a key role in balancing water and electrolytes in the body. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys represent the deepest level of our physical being and are also critical to water metabolism.

Water is the element related to the kidneys in the Chinese five-element model. As we all know, water is central to life. So central, in fact,  it is signs of water that astronomers look for when exploring the possibility of life on other worlds.

In Chinese medicine, kidney energy is so primal that it roots us to life. The kidneys also contain what the Chinese call our essence or jing, and provide us with zhi, or willpower. Because jing naturally depletes as we age (through menstrual blood in women and semen in men), the ancient Taoists practiced qi gong techniques to retain as much jing as possible to maximize their life span.

Kidney energy is critical to the human life cycle of birth, sexual maturity, procreation, menopause and, finally, death. For those with kidney deficiency, issues can arise with late puberty, infertility, sexual difficulties, early or difficult menopause, and emotional issues such as depression, lack of motivation or will power.

Weak kidney energy can also present as weak bones, bad teeth, ringing in the ears, lower back pain and knee pain. The emotion of the kidneys is fear, so prolonged deep fear can damage kidney energy, essentially depleting the precious jing and reducing the life force.

Because kidney issues can run so deep, they can be challenging to treat. However, Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and herbs, can help us maximize the vitality and expression of our kidney energy. Often with proper lifestyle changes, a good diet, exercise and a positive emotional outlook, kidney issues can be minimized and our maximum potential in life can be realized.

 

Christopher Vedeler is a licensed acupuncturist and clinical hypnotherapist in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is the owner of Oasis Acupuncture, an Oriental medicine clinic where he operates a general family practice. 480-991-3650 or www.oasisacupuncture.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 5, October/November 2006.

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