The kidney is the manifestation of the yin aspect of the water element in the body (the yang aspect of the water element in the body is the Bladder). The kidney is more solid while the Bladder is more hollow.
The emotion associated with the kidney is fear. If we are afraid we ‘go to water’.
The Kidney stores the vital fluid jing. The jing is something like our constitution – what we are born with (some people are born healthier than others). Any congenital problem, development or reproductive problem is a kidney disfunction. Our constitution makes a contribution to digesting our food also – some people have delicate digestions from birth. If you’ve had a bad chill on the kidneys you will know that it affects your appetite.
The kidney is in charge of the water in our bodies. Primarily this means urination. However disturbances in urination can lead to water retention (oedema) or dehydration. There are also the usual disturbances such as frequent urination or waking many times during the night to urinate.
The curious concept of ‘marrow’. The marrow is the stuff in our bones (roughly the same as in modern western medicine). However this is expanded in acunpuncture to include the contents of the spine and cranium. Thus deformities of bones and problems with spine or brain are to do with the kidney in acupuncture. The lower back (roughly where the kidneys are located), knees and feet are especially related to the kidney. When we are very afraid our knees knock (it doesn’t only happen in cartoons) and we feel week in the lower back.
Three orifices. Two down, one up. The kidney is in charge of the ear, the urethra (and genitalia) and the anus. As sexual vitality declines men (especially) will take a kidney tonic to assist them in this aspect of their lives. Diarrhoea in the early morning (commonly known as ‘cock’s crow diarrhoea) is especially indicative of a kidney problem. When we are afraid it can lead to one or both of our two lower orifices opening (to put it delicately).
The kidney has a role in our breathing, especially in inspiration. Think of how you can battle for breath when you are afraid.
Finally, the kidney (our constitutional strength) also provides the fire of digestion. Think of how your digestion shuts down when you are afraid.
Old age is easily seen to be the diminishment of jing and kidney energy (kidney qi). Problems with bones, hearing, urination, diminishing vitality – especially sexual – is all part of old age.
Checking out the kidney function is your life. If you have problems with one of the following see if it matches with other parts of the kidney’s function.
- Bones, especially feet, knees and lower back.
- Breathing, especially the in breath.
- Sexual vitality
- Hearing (including listening).
When one of these occurs for you, or someone else, check if any of the others may be present as well. Most likely at least one of them will be.