In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidneys are one of the most important organs in the body.
Metaphysically, it is thought that they contain our vital life force energy or “jing qi”. So when you feel tired or overwhelmed, like there’s no gas left in your tank, your kidneys likely have stagnated or deficient qi. This feels like your body’s battery is about to expire.
The kidneys are also where you summon your willpower and express your unique talents and gifts. So, when your kidney energy is weak, your whole body feels weak and you can’t access your full power and potential.
Happy, relaxed kidneys are key to more health and vitality throughout your life. So let’s learn more about how to tell if your kidneys need some loving attention, and some ways to bring them into harmony so you can feel vital and ready to conquer whatever life brings!
Kidney associations in Traditional Chinese Medicine
The kidneys are associated with the season of winter, so to nourish them requires we slow down, rest, and conserve our energy. Having really cold hands and feet, feeling chills, or on the opposite end, if you’re having night sweats and hot flashes, it can mean there’s a disruption with the vital balance between the yin and yang of your kidneys.
The kidneys regulate the water element in the body, which includes all the internal fluids and blood. They determine our response to stress by regulating our blood pressure, balancing the levels of water in our body, and maintaining the pH of the blood. When you have edema or swelling, water retention, or a lack of fluid, it could mean your kidney qi is out of balance. You may also crave salt when your kidneys are trying to get your attention!
Kidney energy nourishes the bones, marrow, and blood, maintaining the balance of essential minerals required for bone growth and development. Bone issues like osteoporosis and arthritis, dental issues, or developmental issues in children can all be related to kidney qi.
The ears are the sensory organs related to the kidneys, and ear infections, tinnitus, deafness, or any other ear-related problems can actually be a signal that your kidneys need more attention and nourishment.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, emotions are not products of the mind, but rather created and stored in our vital organs. The kidneys are where fear and fright are stored. If you feel fearful, worried to the point of inhibition, are easily startled, have panic attacks or anxiety disorders, it could be your kidneys telling you they are out of balance and need some attention right away.
How to Build & Balance your Kidney Qi
There are many simple physical practices you can do to help you clear out stagnant qi and maintain balance in the kidneys.
● Foot massage
The kidney meridian starts at the exact center of the bottom of your feet. If you can massage this area gently, applying pressure with your thumbs, stimulating it for a few minutes on each foot, it will help wake up the kidney qi and get it flowing throughout your whole body.
If you feel some slight tenderness or soreness here, it’s a sign that you’re in the right place and need to move the stagnant energy through.
● Kidney patting
The kidneys are located on either side of your lower back. We often put our hands here naturally to rest and find relief when we’re overexerted. You can use your hands with intention here to disperse and restore kidney energy.
Try patting your hands on the small of your back, right over your kidneys, about 10 times, or knock against them with a loose fist for 20 seconds or so.
Then, use your hands to smooth down your back, from the top of the kidneys to the bottom. Repeat this sequence of patting and smoothing several times, for as long as it feels good. Then rest for a moment and notice how your body feels.
● Rubbing ears
You can also rub and massage along your ear lobes and all around the entire outside of your ear for a few minutes or so, as long as it feels good. This stimulates and clears the top of the kidney meridian and can help strengthen its function.
The kidneys are associated with the colors blue and black in Traditional Chinese Medicine, so any crystals that imbue these colors can be great ones to work with to clear out the emotional stagnancy in your kidneys and get the qi moving again.
Orange crystals associated with the sacral chakra can also be great revitalizers of your life force energy, after you clear out the ick, you can restore your vitality and inner well of strength with these.
Here are some crystals that work well with the kidneys:
● Obsidian– to release negative emotions
● Black tourmaline– to absorb negative energy
● Carnelian– to restore vitality and strength
● Orange calcite– to revitalize creative energy and willpower
● Lapis Lazuli– to restore balance and inner wisdom
● Sodalite– for relaxation and calming
Herbs & Food:
Food is medicine and there are many herbs and healthy foods that can help cleanse the kidneys, keep them functioning properly, and restore your vital qi.
A tonic herb that restores vitality, astragalus is often used in Chinese medicine to treat chronic kidney disease. It’s anti-inflammatory and has proven protective effects for the kidneys.
● Stinging nettle
A blood cleanser and detoxifier, stinging nettle is a diuretic that will help clear your internal fluids out. Also high in vitamin C and iron to restore internal balance.
A diuretic packed with essential vitamins and minerals, celery clears the kidneys of waste, toxins, and contaminants, while also improving blood pressure and circulation.
A wonderful kidney detoxifier, parsley increases urine production and clears the kidneys of harmful bacteria and pathogens.
● Burdock root
Stimulating drainage and detoxification, burdock root helps soothe the kidneys and purify the blood.
We hope this gives you a glimpse into how your kidney’s health is affecting your energy and vitality in everyday life and some easy ways you can start working to bring it back into balance.