This blog was originally published on Live Your Life PT for their segment on kidney health for Kidney Awareness Month.

Your complex kidneys

In western medicine we tend to think of the kidney system as pretty straight forward and simple: the kidneys are what control and maintain our mineral status and blood pressure. But in Chinese medicine, the kidney system is understood to be much more complex.

One thing that can often be forgotten is our kidney system has reflex nerves reaching into our low backs. It’s not uncommon for a person’s low back pain to be from a kidney issue. That’s why it can be wise for people with a kidney issue to receive some sort of physical therapy and chiropractic care. Similarly, if the patient has low back pain and the chiropractic or physical therapy is not bringing the patient around, then this is a good time to look at what might be going on with the kidney system.

Fear affects the health of your kidneys

If a patient has a chronic kidney problem, we want to look at all aspects and factors that might be affecting that individual’s health. In Chinese medicine, the kidney system is linked to the emotion of fear. So to best help a patient with a chronic kidney problem, we often need to bring the psychology discipline alongside the medical and natural health care disciplines to get a full picture of what’s going on.

If this patient has had a kidney problem for quite some time, they are going to tend to be a more fearful person in general. In this instance, a psychologist can be very helpful as we work on helping support the patient’s kidney system. Similarly, if a person tends to be fearful a lot in life, over time that’s going to weaken and take a toll on their kidney system.

The kidney system’s role in a child’s development

In Chinese medicine, we know the kidney system plays an extremely important role in a child’s development. Every time a mom has a child, it takes a little bit of what Chinese medicine calls kidney jing. After the mother gives birth, that kidney jing is not easy to replace in the mother’s body. Most of the time if a child has developmental issues there is a kidney jing issue involved . After each child, a mother’s kidney system needs extra support to regain it’s kidney jing. Usually multiple disciplines must be used to restore this kidney jing including nutritional support, traditional Chinese medicine and classical homeopathy.

When a child comes into the clinic who isn’t developing at a normal rate—whether physically or mentally—the first thing we look at is their kidney system to see if the child has a kidney jing deficiency that needs to be strengthened.

Why kidney cleanses don’t work for everyone

Your kidneys do not like being cold. In Chinese medicine we look at all the winter months as kidney season. People tend to get more kidney stones, urinary tract infections, or might have more low back pain during the winter months than in the summer.

Because of the kidney’s aversion to the cold, there are some medical and natural health care modalities that simply won’t work for people who live in the north versus people who live in the south. For instance kidney, liver, and colon flushes and cleanses can work extremely well for patients living in a warm climate. But for those of us who live in a cold climate, these types of cleanses can sometimes cause a lot of problems. In Chinese medicine we refer to it as a kidney deficiency. If a person living in a northern, cold climate does a kidney cleanse, this person could soon begin experiencing a lot of low back pain or other issues related to a kidney deficiency. This person will many times have difficulty converting vitamin D appropriately and maintaining their calcium status.

Learn more about your kidneys

Your kidney system plays an important and complex role in the overall health of your body. If you are curious and would like to learn more about how to best support your body,  look through past posts about kidneys on Dr. Brad’s blog or to come to our next free Hope Class.

Photo credit.