Bladder and Kidney problems

The organs in Chinese medicine are more than just a physical representation. The organs include not only their physiological function, but also mental, emotional, spiritual and elemental qualities that align with nature and the seasons. The Kidney and Bladder are paired organs in Chinese medicine.

The Kidney element in Chinese medicine governs water and is associated with the season of winter, where the energies are turning from the hotter yang months to the more yin of winter. Each organ has an element associated with it, for the Kidney and Bladder it is water. There is also an emotion, a colour and flavour associated with the organ system. For the Kidneys and Bladder the emotion is fear, the colour is dark or black and the flavour is salty. They open to the ear, and their direction is north.

The Kidneys are the body’s root and contain both yin and yang energies. Yin is associated with what is dark, still, cold, feminine and is inward. Yang is more outward, hot, bright, moving and masculine. The Kidneys control reproduction, growth and development and are associated with bones and marrow. The Kidneys are said to store Jing, which is likened to essence, what you’re born with and what’s inherited from your parents.

When these organs are in balance there are no issues but as often is the case they can be out of balance and an example of issues that arise are –

  • Kidney stones
  • Pyelonephritis
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) …
  • Cystitis
  • Incontinence – stress and urge
  • Urinary tract infection

Women can be particularly vulnerable to bladder infections as their urethra is shorter than males which leaves them more susceptible to infection. It’s important that any underlying medical condition has been diagnosed or ruled out.

How acupuncture can help 

As with all clients that come for treatment we take a detailed consultation and aim to determine the root cause of the problem. Chinese medicine views ill health as a result of an imbalance in the body, for example either there is too much cold or heat or excessive dampness. By placing tiny needles at strategic locations on the body your acupuncturist is addressing these imbalances and aiming to return the body back to homeostasis.

How to care for your kidney’s:

Keep warm: The kidneys are affected by exposure to cold. Try a nice scarf to protect your neck from the elements, and keep your feet and low back warm. Moxibustion, which is heated mugwort, is a wonderful supplement to acupuncture that warms particular acupuncture points on the body.

Eat warm: Foods that are beneficial to the kidneys (in moderation) tend to be dark in colour such as black beans, sesame seeds, seaweed, kelp, lamb and beef. Other beneficial warming foods include ginger, cinnamon, miso soup, soybeans, walnuts, chives and Goji berries. It’s best to see your acupuncturist or other health care professional to get an idea of foods that are good for your particular constitution, as some of these foods can be harmful if taken in large amounts (kelp and seaweed, in particular). It’s also best to not eat too many cold, raw vegetables or cold smoothies. Also try to ingest food and drink at room temperature.

Light exercise: Light exercise such as tai qi, qi gong or walking has wonderful health and anti-aging benefits and won’t cause exhaustion.

Avoid overwork, overexertion, high stress: Overdoing it depletes your kidney energy, and you might experience ill effects of burnout that are usually associated with adrenal fatigue.

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