Part 1 of 3: Defining the Kidney Organ System
Recently, I wrote a post about my desire to help my clients choose the herbal teas that would best help them restore their health. To begin, I have chosen to focus on the kidney system because it is the most dynamic of the five Chinese organ systems. This first installment will focus on the symptoms that manifest when the kidney system is weak. I hope you enjoy and learn much from this post.
In Taoist medicine, the kidney system is the most important organ system of all. If this goes wrong, you are likely to have problems show up in a lot of different places. The kidneys are the root of the body’s energy system. This is why the kidneys are always a good place to start when you are first setting out to use tonic herbs.
The kidney organ system includes not just the kidneys themselves but also the bladder, adrenal glands, the brain and central nervous system, the bones and connective tissues, and the reproductive system including the hormones. This means the kidney system controls mental functioning, reproduction, the bones, and certain brain functions. They store jing, which is the reserve energy that is called on in times of stress.
Because so many parts of the body are connected to the kidneys, it may seem as though you have ten or twenty unrelated issues, when in reality, there is only one problem; it is only the kidney system that needs healing. Hopefully, this makes resolving these seemingly unrelated problems much more manageable.
To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. -Budda
I often reflect upon this quote when diagnosing deficiencies in the kidney organ system. There are both physical symptoms and certain emotions that relate to the kidneys, but the question to ask yourself is simple – do I feel stress and/or anxiety? If the answer is yes, then you have a problem with your kidneys. If you feel generally worn down or overwhelmed and tend to rely on stimulants like coffee, cigarettes or sugar to get through the day then this relates to weak kidneys. Sometimes people will even create stressful situations for themselves. This all relates specifically to the adrenal glands.
Typical physical symptoms of weak kidneys include joint problems and anything relating to inflammation especially pain in the lower back and problems with the knees and ankles. The nails will reveal the health of the kidneys; big half moons mean they are healthy and small half moons or half moons on only some of the fingers indicate demineralisation which is ultimately a kidney issue. Ridges on the nails also indicate kidney imbalance. Teeth are also kidneys so if your teeth are rotted out, sugar will likely have been an issue, but some people who eat quite a lot of sugar still have healthy teeth, so what makes the difference? The answer is the weakness in the kidneys that compromises the body’s ability to buffer acidity is what allows the sugar to decay the teeth.
Any brain issues will relate to the kidneys. This can be chronic headaches (note that acute headaches like migraines are usually related to the liver), poor memory, lack of focus, or lack of clarity.
Issues connected with the sex organs can show up if you have an imbalance in the kidneys. In men this can be an enlarged prostate, lack of virility and testosterone. In women it is more complex but can include lack of fertility at a basic level, or endometriosis or menstrual irregularity (though this relates to blood too). Too little or too much sex drive and hormonal imbalance is also a kidney-related set of issues, though some hormone issues involve the liver.
Any bladder problem is kidney related, such as if you pee too frequently or if you have difficulty peeing. You may have pale skin and have dark circles under your eyes because the liver is connected to the adrenals.
People with kidney problems will tend to lack endurance and stamina. This is down to the fact that it’s the job of the kidneys to regulate the pH of the body, so if you’re too acidic that indicates kidney problems. If the kidneys don’t buffer acidity effectively then after a certain amount of exertion there will be a collapse of energy.
Ear problems ie ear infections or waxy build-up in the ears or even general hearing problems are related to the kidneys. This is why elderly people almost inevitably go deaf eventually. Kidneys carry your youthful vitality and as this dimishes in old age, so does your hearing and other kidney organ system functions.
An imbalance in the kidneys will often mean you crave salty foods.
If you have any major chronic illness then the kidneys will be part of that because in Chinese medicine, the kidney organ system is the root of the body’s energy.
From a yang jing perspective, kidney problems will show up as anxiety and lack of confidence. Such people may feel they are not capable and be unwilling to take any risk or ‘put themselves out there’. This can come from a deep intuitive understanding that their reserves are depleted and that if they do push themselves, they may find they’re not up to the challenge.
If you have several of these seemingly unrelated symptoms, you may find that you simply need to begin taking some Taoist herbal teas to replenish your jing and heal your body.
Please check back for my next post in this series, Why Healing the Kidney System is Imperative to Good Health
Elwin is also the Founder of Complete Detox Academy, Taoist Health Academy, the Health Coaching Institute and High Energy Academy, as well as the author of 'the Easy Exhaustion Cure' and 'the 4 Step Safe and Effective Detox Action Plan'.
Elwin is highly Enthusiastic about empowering people to feel Energized, Joyful and Alive, Naturally and Sustainably, and has worked over 5 years with over 1000 clients towards this goal. Elwin is particularly passionate about working with clients who are highly committed to reaching high levels of Health, Energy and Wellbeing, by natural and sustainable means.
Elwin has always been interested in Health since childhood. With a mother who had cancer 4 times, and a father with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Elwin is determined to get to the Root Causes of what really creates Disease, and what it really takes to have Outstanding Health and Wellbeing. After suffering from Health Challenges all his life, Elwin became determined, in 2007, to 'Get his Energy back or Die Trying', and, with this level of Resolve, made rapid progress, after a few false starts, which led him naturally, organically, after many requests, to dedicate himself full time to helping others get the kind of Results that he had achieved.