In modern medicine, the kidneys are described as, “two bean-shaped organs that extract waste from blood, balance body fluids, form urine and aid in other important functions.”
Although these actions are imperative to the proper functioning of the body, it is a somewhat limited perspective of the full power of these vital organs and why it’s essential to nourish them.
We don’t often think much about our kidney’s health until they don’t function so well anymore. Or, until they stop functioning altogether as is the case with kidney failure which can be fatal.
Supporting the kidneys is crucial to the quality of your life. The kidneys store our “life-force” or our jing essence. And, once that is depleted, deficiency sets in limiting the quality and duration of your life.
According to ancient wisdom, the Kidney and Bladder (KD/BL) systems work together, and are responsible for the water element in the body. On the physical level, water is essential for circulation of blood, lubricating cells, carrying heat, lymphatic flow, sexual fluids, perspiration, tears, and waste elimination. The kidneys also govern the bones and it’s marrow.
The flavor associated with the kidneys is “salty.” Salt can both nourish and/or injure this vital system. People often discover this when they either eat too much salt and the cells contract leaving the body dehydrated, or they go on a salt-free diet and the cells lose their integrity and ability to retain water. Using the salty flavor to nourish the kidneys requires a delicate balance: not too much and not too little.
The ears are the sense organ associated with the kidneys and are responsible for the ability to listen and hear. If the ears are chronically wet, itchy, ringing, buzzing, or if someone is suffering from hearing loss, it indicates an imbalance in this system. An example is that we often experience hearing loss with elderly people as their vitality and essence slowly wanes.
The emotions associated with poorly functioning kidneys are excessive fear, trepidation and loss of will. While a strong will, ambition and drive to succeed in all aspects of life (without being overbearing) can indicate an exceptionally well functioning kidney system.
Spiritually, the kidneys are supported when we quietly listen, become receptive, and keep our mind still and clear like the Master Jedi, Yoda, from Star Wars. The kidney element becomes stronger when we move beyond our fears and not become consumed by them. Fear weakens the kidneys and the bladder. Ever heard the expression, “I was so scared I peed myself!”
On the other hand, 0ur life force is deeply nourished when we take action on the things that scare us most – think of Luke confronting his father, Darth Vader. It was scary but he had to do it. That classic movie confrontation was the perfect simulation for how to strengthen your kidney element on a much deeper level.
Since we don’t live in the movies, but are here in the real world, below are some indicators that your kidneys need your support:
- Brittle bones, osteoporosis, tooth loss
- Bladder infections or Prostate infections, difficulty urinating (pain and/or discomfort)
- Kidney stones
- High/low blood pressure
- Black or blue color around the eyes
- Excessive thirst
- Ringing, buzzing, humming in the ears, hearing loss
- Amenorrhea (lack of menstrual cycle)
- Infertility, lack of sex drive
- Frequent urination
- Lower back pain
- Extreme dislike of cold
- Frightened by loud noises
- Intense anxiety, phobias, irrational fears, paranoia
- Anti-social, emotional withdrawl
- Insecurity, poor self-confidence
- Lack of trust and loss of faith
If you’ve got a few of the above symptoms, your KD/BL system is talking to you. It’s letting you know that it needs to be nourished on some level (physical, emotional, spiritual).
Here are some diet and lifestyle suggestions to help you start rebalancing your Kidney/Bladder system and enhance your life-force:
- Reduce overly salted foods; cured meats, sausages, bacon, pretzels, potato chips
- Avoid coffee, chocolate, sugar, drugs and other stimulants
- Eat cranberries and blueberries as your go-to fruits
- If the kidney element is deficient, increase animal fat and protein and reduce fruits and salads
- If the kidney element is excessive, decrease animal fat and protein (specifically pork, beef, duck), and increase fruits, fish and salads
- Use mineral rich herbs like Nettles
- Hydrate with 6-8 glasses of water daily
- Eat ocean foods; sea salt, sea vegetables, fish, shellfish
- Sleep! Get adequate rest
- Learn to be receptive
- Use meditation to, calm and clear the mind
- Be fearless. Do the thing that scares you most… and then keep doing it!
There’s a lot to understanding and supporting the health of your kidneys, bladder and water element.
Start now. Don’t wait until a disease comes and forces you to take care of this essential body system.
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As Master Yoda would probably say… “may the life-force be with you.”