The Kidney system supplies essence or Jing to all organs. It stores Jing, our congenital & acquired essence. It houses the Yang will & Yin will. Generosity, creativity, desire, and libido are all generated by the Kidneys. The Kidney rules the bones, spine, and bone marrow. It rules the ear and hearing. The Kidney provides digestive fire for the Spleen and warmth to the Heart. It generates the brain and nervous system. The Kidney controls hair and graying of hair. It rules the knees. Low Kidney qi can lead to low creativity, libido, and incontinence. The Kidney generates fear, and an awareness when there is danger.
Kidneys, Congenital Root of Life
The Kidney is the Yin organ paired with the Yang Bladder in the Water Element. Chinese Medicine views the Kidneys as the source of the body’s yin and yang, the “congenital root” or the origin of life. The kidneys store the primordial yin and primordial yang, also called kidney yin and kidney yang. Kidney yin, also called primordial yin, or true yin or true water, is the foundation of the fluids of the whole body. It moistens and nourishes the organs and tissues. Kidney yang, also called primordial yang, true yang or true fire, is the foundation of the yang qi of the whole body. It warms and promotes the functions of the organs and tissues. Kidney yin and yang are mutually dependent, promoting and restraining each other, leading to an internal harmony of yin and yang, and healthy functioning of all the organs. In traditional Chinese medicine, the kidneys are closely associated with the ‘Ming Men Gate’, the ‘Gate of Vitality’ behind the kidneys.
Kidneys Cleanse Body Fluids, Blood and Lymphatic system.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage, on each side of the spine. Every day, the two kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid.
The kidneys are the last stop for filtration and detoxification of body fluids. They’re responsible for filtering all the fluids, including the blood, lymph, synovial, cerebral-spinal fluid, and interstitial fluids that carry debris released by the cells in detox and metabolism.
Many people today have lost the ability of the kidneys to properly filter their lymphatic system. When body fluids and lymph become stagnant, cellular waste and acidity can build up in the body. This can lead to ‘lymphoma’, a cancer in blood and lymph tissues.
The Kidneys and the Autonomic Nervous System in Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine described the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) over 4,000 years ago. Nowadays we learn that the Sympathetic nervous system is balanced by the Parasympathetic nervous system. These two systems regulate the fight-fight or fear response. Ancient Chinese doctors just called it by different name: Kidney Yang (Sympathetic) and Kidney Yin (Parasympathetic).
Kidney Yang is the reactive, sympathetic nervous system and certain endocrine glands including the adrenal medulla (the inner part of the adrenals controlling physical and emotional stress, secreting yang hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine ). In contrast, Kidney Yin or the parasympathetic nervous system relates to the secretion of corticosteroids from the adrenal cortex as well as other yin hormones from the anterior pituitary and other endocrine glands.
Adrenal Fatigue is a Common Pattern of Kidney System Imbalance
The HPA Axis is a delicate relationship within the endocrine system. (HPA = Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenals) Any imbalance between the Hypothalamus, Pituitary, and the Adrenals spells trouble. The pattern is usually linked to Kidney Yang (sympathetic nervous system) imbalance, as well as fear and/or stress in the endocrine glands.
Psycho-Spiritual Aspects of the Kidney
Kidney Qi nourishes the brain and all cells of the body. It produces bone marrow, the root of our stem cells and repair and regeneration while we sleep. When Qi and Blood in the nervous system are active and abundant, thinking and clarity are strengthened. When the Qi is highly vital, a circle of light forms in the body’s Taiji Pole (Chong Mai channel), and a person’s innate intelligence (Yuan Shen) is reflected by clarity and an emanation of light.
The importance of Jing – Ancestral Qi
The Kidney system produces bone marrow and new blood cells. It is closely associated with Ancestral Qi of Jing, the DNA and inherited disease patterns.
Wei Qi -Protective Qi
Abundant Jing, or Kidney Essence is vital in maintaining a healthy Wei Qi. Wei Qi provides an “immune system-like” barrier that protects the body from harmful pathogenic factors that can cause illness and disease. When we are exposed to bad air, germs, and viruses, our first line of defense, according to Chinese medicine is our Wei Qi barrier. Over time, Wei Qi can become weakened and unbalanced due to improper diet, emotional stress, grief, sadness, inherited patterns, smoking, and pollution. When our Wei Qi is weak, we can become prone to allergies, asthma, colds and even skin problems.
Kidney Consciousness Issues:
Willpower, Fear, Anxiety, Wisdom, Caution, Energy, Vitality, Clarity, Memory, Self Worth, Belonging, Trust, Paranoia, Sensuality, Sexuality, Courage, Drive.
The Kidney System Rules Much More than the Kidney.
It also regulates the Bladder, Adrenals, Ears, Teeth, Brain & Nervous System, Hair & Graying hair, Bones, Spine, Bone Marrow, Knees, Urethra, Anus, Sexuality, Procreative organs, Jing or ancestral Qi, and Wei Qi.
Kidneys, Hair, and the Nervous System
Our hair is a kind of energy receiving system, linked to the nervous system and the fight-flight response. That’s because around the base of each hair follicle in your skin there is a loop of blood capillaries enclosed in connective tissue, called the hair papilla. Atop each papilla there are clusters of epithelial (skin) cells that form the hair shaft. Small bundles of enervated muscles lie around the shaft, which under sudden stress such as cold or fright, cause the hair to stand on end. The arrestor pili muscles at the base of the hair follicle, are responsible at least in part, for helping to hold the hair in place, regulated by the sympathetic nervous system and the kidney meridian. Thus hair loss is closely related to Kidney qi and the emotion of fear. Hair coloring and graying of hair are said to be regulated by hormones. Poor nutrition will effect both hair graying and hair growth.
Common Patterns of Kidney Imbalance
Lower back pain, joint and knee pain, fatigue, low libido, impotence or frigidity, poor hearing, fear in pit of stomach, laziness, antisocial behavior, frequent or night-time urination, incontinence, overwork, low appetite, poor diet, dizziness, shortness of breath, shallow or rapid breathing, exhaustion from long disease, cold limbs, edema, weak bones, poor memory, loss of hair, sexual dysfunction, nocturnal emissions, sore back, long-standing fear, worry and anxiety, nervous tension, bone marrow problems, stem cell disturbance, poor bone growth.
Kidney’s Best Friends:
Relaxing, Moderation in all things, Respecting & accepting normal fluctuations in energy levels, Gentleness.
Soviet scientists have found that certain adaptogenic herbs can really assist adrenal fatigue. Their magic potion includes Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus sinensis), Manchurian Thorn Tree, Schizandra, Rhaponticum carthinoides, Hawthorn extract, Adjuga turkistanica, Tribulus terrestris, and Echinopanax Elatium, all of which act together synergistically for maximum healing and recovery. Look for these herbs, often available as “Adrenal support”.
Other Herbs for kidney cleansing include parsley, ginseng, dandelion, corn silk, saw palmetto berries, and juniper berries. Schizandra berries, or Wu Wei Zi is a protective herb against leaking energy and essence as an adaptogenic tonic to the nervous system, helping to calm the spirit, treat insomnia and forgetfulness, improve intellectual activity, concentration, fine coordination, sensitivity and endurance, used by many athletes.
Foods to Strengthen Kidney Meridian
Diet changes can help heal what we often call “adrenal fatigue”. Especially changing mealtimes and meal quantity makes a big difference on your metabolism and energy level. Instead of 3 meals per day, try spacing small meals more frequently. Never eat before bed. And always finish you last meal of the day 3-4 hours before bedtime, for better sleep. Check out my article on “Time Restricted Eating”.
Foods that nurture the kidney meridian include pork, sprouts, eggs, beans, barley, sardines, cheese, and blueberries. For kidney yin deficiency try kidney beans, black sesame seeds, walnuts, asparagus, sweet potato, string beans, celery, parsley, grapes and plums. Always avoid sugar, sweets, sodas, alcohol, and very salty foods. Stop smoking. Oh, and reduce stress.
Kidney’s Worst Enemies:
Adrenal fatigue is the mortal enemy. “Go, go, go!” mentality, “Work hard, play hard!”, “Pushing” through, caffeine, sugar, adrenaline events, longstanding fearful environment. Coffee and sugar don’t offer energy by themselves, instead they squeeze the stored Qi reserves in the Kidneys to fuel your body’s activities. Those energy reserves could be used today or tomorrow, or they could be saved for the future, sort of like a savings account in the bank. When we use caffeine and sugar for energy, we’re effectively squeezing from our future reserves in the Kidneys, depleting the stores that we may need for a long and balanced life.
The Kidney Meridian Source Point: is KD-3, Taixi, or Great Ravine. It is located on the inside of the ankle joint, just behind and above it. As a Source point it has powerful effects on al the organs. This point can address aspects of the brain that control perception, body movement, spirit, and integration, visual cortex and auditory cortex. Studies show that stimulating this point can provide beneficial changes to mood and energy levels.
To Balance the Kidney Meridian:
Set a clear intention to build health. Start at KI-1(Bubbling Springs) at the bottom of the foot. Trace up the inner foot to inside of ankle and up the leg to the groin, touching Hiuyin CV-1. Trace up the abdomen, suspender route to the clavicle at KD-27. (You may optionally trace the internal path up to the tongue, and down through the organs to Dantien in the lower abdomen.) Trace both sides together or one at a time.
To Clear the Kidney Meridian:
Set a clear intention to build health. Trace backwards once from the end point at the clavicle, down the suspenders to the groin, to Huiyin, down the insides of the legs to KI-1 at the bottom of the foot. Then trace forward 3 times as indicated above, both sides at the same time or one after the other.
” There are two kidneys (kidney yin and yang). The Ming Men or Gate of Vitality is in between them … it is the organ of water and fire, the abode of yin and yang, the sea of essence, and it determines life and death.” Zhang Jie Bin (1563-1640)