The Meridians and Channels – Kidney/Bladder

June’s “In Health” blog is focused on the Kidney and Bladder channels. The Kidney channel can get a little “woo-woo” if that kind of talk throws you off. However, I’ll explain the way I use these channels in the clinic to treat real life conditions. I don’t want to explain it, currently, but I will explain the Heart and Kidney relationship in this blog, along with the Kidney and Lung relationship to breathing, as promised. After the next blog, I’ll be able to start producing blogs related to other topics and acupuncture/Chinese Medicine topics that are being brought up regularly. Let’s get started!

I’ll start with the Kidney, which is the Yin channel of the Kidney and Bladder pair. The Kidney, in TCM, houses our “Essence”. Now, “Essence” is basically what our parents pass on to us, or our congenital make-up, if you will. You can’t really change what you’re given. It’s the limited amount of Yin/Yang required for life to begin. It’s, as the saying goes, “where the magic happens”… I couldn’t resist. Sorry. Anyway, the Kidney is responsible for our growth and development, so it controls things like our bones, nourishment of our organs and tissues, and warming the body so normal physiology can continue to occur. The Kidney is only nourished through our Spleen/Stomach, meaning you have to have a good diet and lifestyle to keep it healthy. From a TCM perspective, tapping into the Kidney’s energy is due to another channel(s) dysfunction(s). It’s kind of like a generator. If the power is low or goes out, you need a generator to run the house, or the Kidney to run the body. The Lung, as mentioned earlier, controls respiration. However, it can be further broken down in TCM. The Kidney controls inhalation, while the Lung controls exhalation. So, for example, if someone has asthma, treatment is usually, but not always, focused on the Kidney and Lung channels to relax the airways and promote proper breathing. The Kidney is said to “open into the ears” and is associated with “low back and knee pain.” So, as we age, we can get hard of hearing and more aches and pains. Therefore, the Kidney points can be used to treat some of those conditions. Fear is the emotion associated with the Kidney. Fear is said to descend Qi. A good example of this is when a Tiger is chasing you and you s@#$ your pants because the “fear” of a Tiger chasing you has caused you to “descend” a bowel movement…

Oh yeah…Heart and Kidney…The Heart is considered Fire, and the Kidney is considered Water. So, Yin and Yang is Water and Fire. The Heart is said to descend Fire downward to control our Kidneys’ Water from overflowing. The Kidney is said to ascend Water to cool the Heart’s Fire from over-blazing. So, a disharmony between the Heart and Kidney can result in things like edema of the limbs, congestive heart failure, palpitations, high blood pressure, a cold lower body and hot upper body, insomnia, anxiety, and the list goes on.

Another example of Kidney Yin and Yang at work is how we age. Women are more Yin than Yang, and men are more Yang than Yin. As women age, they start to go through menopause because their Yin is declining. This results in more Yang/heat, causing a common symptom of hot flashes/night sweats because of the hormone changes occurring. This is normal and a good thing, FYI. Men, as they age, lose more Yang, resulting in more Yin/cold. This is why older men tend to get cold and are always bundled up and have the heat on 85 degrees.

The Bladder is the Yang channel of the Kidney and Bladder pairing. It stores the fluids so that they can be excreted by its action of Qi transformation. It stores/excretes urine, but it also has role in transformation of fluids necessary for the production of urine. The Bladder channel itself runs from the pinky toe, up the back of the leg and thigh, and along the spine, neck, and head. So, it is commonly used to treat any kind of back pain.

That’s all folks! I hope to see you soon!

In Health,

Adam Gloyeske, L.Ac.