It is often said that water is the origin of life. Water also sustains life. Over 70 percent of Earth is covered by water. Interestingly, the human body is also made up of 70 percent pure H-2-O. The microcosm of the human body reflects striking similarities to the macrocosm of our natural world. This observation is made in many long-standing medical traditions, and is especially noted in traditional Chinese medicine.
In traditional Chinese medicine, water is the natural element associated with the human organ of kidney. The Chinese medicine kidneys are responsible for vitality, growth, aging, and reproductive health. In naturopathic medicine, kidney health is closely associated with the adrenal glands, the organs responsible for handling stress well, maintaining healthy blood pressure, and giving us energy.
So how do we take good care of our kidneys and tap into this source of vitality?
Stay Well Hydrated Throughout the Day
Our kidneys are designed to handle a great amount of fluids a day, filter the blood about 60 times daily, and remove wastes from urination. Hydration is extremely important in detoxification, which keeps us healthy.
Reduce Stress and Face Your Fears
Since the mind and the body are not two separate entities in Chinese medicine, kidneys are associated with the emotion of fear. Too much stress will deplete kidney essence, leading to fear and anxiety. Reducing the amount of stress in our daily lives can greatly preserve the function of the adrenal glands, which helps us to either fight or flight out of a stressful situation.
Eat Dark Coloured Fruits and Berries
The adrenal glands are fuelled by nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants. Interestingly, these nutrients are found in dark and colourful fruits and berries such as blueberries and blackberries, which are also well documented in Chinese medicine to enhance kidney health.
Eat More Mushrooms
Mushrooms are also recommended to treat or prevent any kidney imbalances in Chinese medicine. Fertility issues for men and women are often a manifestation of a kidney imbalance. Mushrooms in particular can be very helpful, especially in male-factor fertility issues such as low sperm counts and less than optimal morphology or motility.
There are certain acupuncture points on the body aimed at re-balancing kidney health. This very useful treatment option has been well-documented to provide significant benefits of stress reduction and also benefit specific kidney related conditions such as infertility, frequent urinary tract infections, incontinence, hypertension, and water retention.
The holistic view of the human body as the microcosm of the natural world gives us a tremendous amount of power to unleash the vitality within all of us. Having strong and robust kidney health, not only provides vital life, but also sustains life in its best quality. By understating how we can take good care of our kidneys, we can add years to our life and life to our years.
Dr. Danny Jui is the co-director of Ray Clinic, a naturopathic clinic specializing in integrative and natural fertility care. He is the first Canadian naturopathic doctor to complete the residency in Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine at Yale University. For more information please visit rayclinic.ca.