Archive for the ‘Eastern view of the body’ Category

Changing With The Seasons – Autumn

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Autumn 300x199 Changing With The Seasons   Autumn

As summer draws to a close and we enter into autumn, it’s a good opportunity to pay closer attention to our own health. In Traditional Oriental Medicine, the transitions between seasons are seen as an important period of time in which a person’s body is trying to re-calibrate and stay in harmony and balance with their natural environment.

As the 2,000 year old acupuncture textbook Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine) explains, as autumn approaches and the weather turns cooler, a shift in Nature begins and there is a turning inwards of its energy. This shift can clearly be seen in plants which have finished harvesting and now begin to focus inwards on conserving energy into their root system, an example of how the active quality of Yang transforms into the more passive quality of Yin.

The Yellow Emperor goes on to describe how during the summertime, people are usually more physically active and their moods are more relaxed and easygoing. However, as autumn begins, he explains how this should be a time for a person to become more inwardly focused and how learning to maintain a calm and peaceful spirit is an important aspect of this inward focus.

One of the suggestions of the Yellow Emperor to assist with the transition into autumn is to practice breathing exercises. In acupuncture theory, autumn is the season most closely associated with the Lung system, which in Eastern Medicine includes not only the lungs but also other areas of the body including the nasal sinuses, skin, energy circulation, and the immune system. By helping to regulate and strengthen the Lung system, many other aspects of our health can also be improved.

As we get back into our busy regular work and school routines, it’s easy to begin to ignore our health. However, taking a few minutes every day to have some quiet time and just focus on deep relaxed breathing can be a simple way to let go of stress and bring more awareness and vitality to our lives.

Diagnosis – Part 2: Listening

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Listening 150x150 Diagnosis   Part 2: Listening

In Traditional Oriental Medicine, all of the practitioner’s senses are used during diagnosis in order to help determine patterns of imbalance which may be causing sickness and symptoms in a person’s health.

As previously seen in Part 1, visual diagnosis was the first of four diagnostic examination methods described in the earliest textbooks of acupuncture written 2,000 years ago.

The second method is that of listening diagnosis. Although it is probably the least commonly used of the four main methods, it can still provide valuable information especially in helping to determine a person’s constitution body type.

For example, one aspect of listening diagnosis is observing the predominant characteristics of someone’s normal speaking voice. According to the Five Phase theory of Traditional Oriental Medicine, certain vocal tones or types of speech correspond to particular organ systems:

  • Liver – brusque, commanding
  • Heart – muttering
  • Spleen-Pancreas – variable pitch, sing-song
  • Lung – whiny, entreating
  • Kidney – raspy, groaning

Most people have a mixture of all of these vocal qualities, but usually one or two tend to dominate their normal speech patterns and can provide insight into which organ systems might have a predisposition toward becoming imbalanced.

In addition, the way a person enunciates certain vowel or consonant sounds while speaking can also provide meaningful information about their natural body type.

Although never solely relied upon, listening diagnosis, when combined with the other diagnostic tools of Traditional Oriental Medicine, can be useful for determining patterns of weaknesses and imbalances in a person’s body which can then be strengthened and regulated through acupuncture and other treatment methods to help improve their health.

Diagnosis – Part 1: Looking

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Looking 150x150 Diagnosis   Part 1: Looking

Traditional Oriental Medicine is unique in that it is not just disease or sickness which is looked at during diagnosis, but also the underlying imbalances within a person’s body which may have contributed to the symptoms in the first place.

Looking, or visual diagnosis, is the first of four main diagnostic methods described in the earliest textbooks. For example, the Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine), written over 2,000 years ago, mentions about observing both the patient’s colour as well as their Shin, or spirit.

This first aspect of visual diagnosis, that of looking at the colour of the patient, is a reference to observing various parts of the body but especially the face – in particular the area around the eyes, forehead, nose, and mouth.

According to the Five Phase theory of Traditional Oriental Medicine, certain colours correspond to particular organ systems:

  • Liver – blue/green
  • Heart – red
  • Spleen-Pancreas – yellow
  • Lung – white
  • Kidney – black

A predominance of one or more colours, often subtle to the untrained eye, can frequently be associated with a person’s constitutional tendency toward an imbalance in that corresponding organ or acupuncture meridian system. However, it can also be an indication of a more acute or advanced state of disease, for example in extreme cases the yellowish colour of jaundice or the dark, ashen complexion of a late-stage cancer patient.

In children, these underlying colours of skin tone are often more easily noted than in adults and in fact is one of the main diagnostic methods used in a specialized form of pediatric acupuncture known as Shonishin, especially when treating infants and younger children who might otherwise be unable to communicate their symptoms.

A second aspect of visual diagnosis is that of observing the patient’s Shin (sometimes translated as spirit, heart, or mind). This is most commonly done by paying attention to the person’s eyes and face – a certain amount of vitality, aliveness, sparkle, brightness, and strength of life force can be seen in a healthy person.

As a part of visual diagnosis, making note of the general physique, skeletal structure, muscle tone, and skin luster can also provide important information about a person’s overall vitality and health.

All of these visual observations are used, along with the other diagnostic methods of Traditional Oriental Medicine, to help determine patterns of weaknesses and imbalances in a person’s body.

Treatment, whether it is through acupuncture and moxibustion, shiatsu massage, herbal medicine, or other techniques, is then aimed to strengthen and regulate the various organ systems, to correct underlying imbalances, and to help enhance the body’s own healing abilities.

Smelling Disease

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Many of the diagnostic methods used in Traditional Japanese acupuncture are based on the practitioner using their physical sensory organs to detect changes and imbalances in their patients.

For example, diagnosis by smelling body odours is a fundamental technique and was recorded in medical textbooks over 2,000 years ago.

Certain odours were linked to particular organs according to Five Phase theory:

  • Liver – rancid, like raw meat
  • Heart – scorched, like burnt cooking
  • Spleen-Pancreas – fragrant, like sweet incense
  • Lung – fleshy, like fish
  • Kidney – rotten, like fermenting food

Nowadays, even with the widespread use of perfume, deodorant, toothpaste, and other hygiene products which can mask the body’s natural odours, observing scents can still provide useful information for diagnosis and acupuncture treatment.

It is interesting to note then that modern medical science is attempting to also make use of smells in diagnosing disease. For example, there is new research into odour-based early detection of ovarian cancer using high-tech sensors to capture the signature “smells” of certain cancer-related cells taken from blood samples of patients. It is hoped that someday these types of screenings might provide earlier warning and detection than is possible with current conventional testing.

Perhaps on closer examination and study, many of the time-tested concepts of Traditional Oriental Medicine aren’t so strange after all.

Children and Anxiety

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

As summer draws to a close and September begins, it’s a busy time as the children head back to their regular school schedules and our work life returns to normal too.

For kids, this can often be an exciting time as new school teachers and classrooms are introduced, old friends are seen again, and regular routines and activities are re-established. However, for some it can also be a time of worry and anxiety in trying to cope with all of these new stressors.

In Traditional Oriental Medicine, a close connection can be seen between the physical body and the emotional state of a person.

For example, the 2,000 year old Chinese medical textbook Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine) describes how “over-worrying about many things or obsessing about one thing” can lead to an imbalance in the digestive system (known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the Spleen-Pancreas system)

It is interesting to note then that Western medicine is also coming to similar conclusions. For example, in one recent study published by the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, it was found that children who suffered from functional abdominal pain experienced a significantly higher incidence of developing anxiety and depression as adults.

A specialized form of pediatric acupuncture, known as Shonishin, can be very useful for helping to treat both anxiety and digestive problems in children. The focus is to strengthen and improve the child’s overall health and vitality, especially when their body type tends towards having a constitutional weakness in the digestive system. Parents can often be shown how to do some simple treatments at home and sometimes dietary recommendations might also be suggested to help out as well.

As the Spleen-Pancreas digestion system is brought back into a healthier state of balance, children usually show an improvement in symptoms such as better appetite and fewer stomachaches as well as report feeling calmer and less anxious – which sounds like a much more enjoyable way to face another new school year.

Causes of Disease – Part 2: Emotions and the Body

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

As was previously seen in Part 1, Eastern medicine has long observed that our emotional states can have a significant impact on our health.

However, which comes first? Is it an imbalance in the body that produces negative emotions, or is it the emotions having an effect on the body?

Traditional Oriental Medicine doesn’t draw artificial boundaries between the body, mind, and spirit, but instead sees a close connection between them. Specific emotional states correspond to particular physical organs in the body; an imbalance in one area can affect all other aspects of our health and often cannot be described in a simple cause-and-effect manner.

5PhasesEmotionalStates 257x300 Causes of Disease   Part 2: Emotions and the Body

For example, the Liver system, which in Eastern medicine regulates the blood and energy circulation throughout the body, is linked to anger, frustration, irritability, and other similar feelings.

In certain situations such as the mood swings and irritability often associated with PMS, the physiological changes occurring within the body are disrupting the Liver system and its ability to properly regulate the emotions.

For other situations, emotional stressors appear to be a primary cause or trigger for the physical symptoms as is frequently seen in gastrointestinal disorders including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and colitis.

Diagnosis and treatment can vary depending on each individual case. For example, some patients have a more nervous temperament with a tendency towards over-thinking, worry, and anxiety, which according to Eastern medicine often indicates a weakness in the Spleen-Pancreas system that needs to be strengthened and supported.

For other people, stress, frustration, unresolved anger, or other similar emotions are the more dominant ones and can exert a negative influence on the digestive system according to the Restraining Cycle of the Five Phases and so it’s the Liver system that needs to be calmed and more properly regulated.

These types of emotional imbalances are also commonly seen when dealing with children’s health issues with a specialized form of pediatric acupuncture known as Shonishin. For example, there are some cases of infant colic that don’t receive much noticeable improvement with the typical dietary recommendations usually indicated, but the symptoms are resolved when the emotional components are addressed using appropriate treatment.

In yet other complicated cases such as anxiety and depression, Eastern medicine recognizes both a physical and a mental component to the conditions, with imbalances in the body affecting the emotions and the out-of-balance emotions likewise having a direct effect on the body, sometimes leading to a mutually-reinforcing downward spiral.

Because of Traditional Oriental Medicine’s wholistic approach to health, treatment modalities including acupuncture and moxibustion can be an integral part of therapy due to their balancing and regulating influence on the entire person, not just on the physical body.

Asthma, Allergies, and Your Food

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

As part of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), a recent study found a significant increase in asthma and allergy symptoms among children who ate fast food meals several times per week.

Although a link between respiratory problems and food may be surprising to some, this is a relationship that has already been recognized in Eastern Medicine for thousands of years.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the digestive system (which relates to the Earth phase) helps to support the functioning of the respiratory system (Metal phase), as previously seen in the Generating Cycle of the Five Phase theory.

This is especially true when the respiratory symptoms involve excess production of phlegm and mucous, such as wheezing and rattling of the lungs in the case of asthma, or a stuffy or runny nose associated with rhinitis.

In TCM, excess mucous is regarded as a by-product of the digestive system, so asthma and allergy treatment often focuses on strengthening the Lung and Spleen-Pancreas systems.

In addition to acupuncture and herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine can also make recommendations to assist a person in reducing their intake of phlegm and mucous-producing foods. Some of the most common trigger foods to avoid include:

  • highly refined or processed foods
  • dairy products
  • greasy or fried foods
  • sugar
  • cold-temperature products, including ice-cold beverages or frozen drinks

As we enter into the spring season, often a time of increased asthma, allergies, and other related issues, paying some extra attention to our diet can be an important step in helping our respiratory system stay healthy.

Causes of Disease – Part 1: Emotions and Environment

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

“So what caused the health problem?” This is a common question asked by patients in my acupuncture clinic.

For Western minds, we’re used to explaining and understanding things in a direct linear cause-and-effect manner. However, Eastern medicine has observed that natural phenomena in the real world, including our own health, is not always simple or black and white; many factors can contribute and interact with each other to create imbalance and disease pathology in our lives.

Because of this, Traditional Chinese Medicine groups the etiology, or causes of disease, into several main categories.

1) Internal causes – Eastern medicine recognizes that emotions, especially when they are prolonged, have a significant impact on our health, with each emotional state corresponding to a particular internal organ:

  • anger
  • excessive joy
  • pensiveness
  • grief
  • sorrow
  • fear
  • fright

It is interesting to note that even Western medicine is discovering and acknowledging the role of emotions on our health through certain modern fields of medical research such as psychoneuroimmunology.

2) External causes – Traditional Chinese Medicine also recognizes that our environment, including changes in temperature, air pressure, and humidity (classically described as Wind, Cold, Heat, Dampness, and Dryness), can have an impact on our health.

For example, many people who live here in the cold and damp temperate rain forest climate of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada notice that their rheumatic joint pain improves when they travel down south to a warm and dry climate and returns when they come back home. For others, a fluctuation of symptoms that they experience may also be related to certain times of the year or changes in the seasons.

3) Other causes – the third and final category is wide ranging and includes many other factors such as:

  • diet
  • overwork
  • fatigue
  • trauma
  • pathogen infections

All of these causes can create specific patterns of signs and symptoms in a person’s health. By recognizing and addressing the causes and patterns of imbalance, the healing ability of the body can be nurtured to help regain a healthier state of balance.

The 24 Hour Clock

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Love it or hate it, Daylight Savings Time (DST) is here upon us. However, as critics point out, there seems to be some evidence that this sudden change in time can create various health problems associated with a disruption and stress to our natural circadian rhythm, including fatigue, sleeping difficulties, mood changes, and even an increase in traffic accidents.

Long before the western scientific discovery of circadian rhythm, did you know that Traditional Chinese Medicine also described a 24-hour cycle in the human body?

The following table lists the windows of time in which the various organs and their corresponding meridian pathways are the most active according to time acupuncture theory:

  • 3 am – 5 am Lung
  • 5 am – 7 am Large Intestine
  • 7 am – 9 am Stomach
  • 9 am – 11 am Spleen-Pancreas
  • 11 am – 1 pm Heart
  • 1 pm – 3 pm Small Intestine
  • 3 pm – 5 pm Bladder
  • 5 pm – 7 pm Kidney
  • 7 pm – 9 pm Pericardium
  • 9 pm – 11 pm Triple Burner
  • 11 pm – 1 am Gallbladder
  • 1 am – 3 am Liver

This information can be clinically valuable. For example, if someone is suffering from insomnia and tends to wake up at 3am every morning, often acupuncture points related to the Lung and Liver meridians can be useful for treatment.

For others, sometimes they experience an aggravation of symptoms at a specific time of day, such as always getting a headache late in the afternoon. Again, acupuncture points on the corresponding meridian pathways associated with that particular time of day can be used during acupuncture treatment to help the body regain balance and experience an improvement in symptoms.

Western medicine is becoming more aware of the influence that time of day has on various biological processes, something that Traditional Chinese Medicine has recognized for thousands of years.

Losing Touch

Monday, January 24th, 2011

With an ever increasing reliance on diagnostic technology for medical imaging and testing, some Western medical doctors are realizing that an important part of their medicine is missing: human touch.

Fortunately, these practitioners are promoting a return to a more hands on approach for diagnosis and treatment, skills that have long been valued in the Eastern systems of healthcare.

Palpation, or examining by touch, is still 1 of the 4 main methods of diagnosis used in Traditional Japanese acupuncture (particularly the styles collectively known as Keiraku Chiryo, or Meridian Therapy).

As part of palpation diagnosis, areas of the body, especially the abdomen, back, and extremities, are examined during acupuncture and shiatsu treatment for various changes including:

  • tenderness and pain
  • tension and areas of hardness
  • slackness and areas of weakness
  • temperature differences
  • skin moisture or dryness
  • other palpatory findings

These changes often correspond to specific acupuncture points or meridian pathways, and provide guidance to the acupuncturist during treatments.

It is interesting to note that even for health conditions that are primarily emotional, such as anxiety or depression, the body will still manifest specific patterns that can be physically observed through the sense of touch.

As our society becomes more and more technologically based, Traditional Oriental Medicine wisely reminds us of the importance and value of human touch in our lives.

Improving Your Blood Circulation: Part 2 – An Eastern Perspective

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

In a previous article, we looked at an Eastern Medicine health condition known as Blood Deficiency. Somewhat similar to the Western diagnosis of anemia, Blood Deficiency is a weakness and inability of the Blood to properly perform its job of bringing nourishment to the rest of the body.

Its opposite condition is known as “Blood Stagnation” (or “Blood Stasis”) and is a concept unique to Traditional Oriental Medicine with no direct equivalent in Western Medicine. Blood Stagnation can be thought of as Blood that is no longer able to function as Blood. It is not circulating properly within the body and instead will actually create problems and disease.

One simple example of this would be the case of trauma suffered from a sports injury. The purple discoloration from the bruising that occurs is blood that has leaked out from the blood vessels, and is no longer available for use by the body.

Blood Stagnation is commonly associated with an extremely wide range of symptoms, including:

  • heart problems such as arteriosclerosis & hypertension
  • pressure sensation in the chest
  • shoulder & upper/mid back stiffness
  • dry mouth
  • rough & dry skin
  • liver disease such as hepatitis
  • chronic constipation
  • sciatica & lower back pain
  • varicose veins
  • cold sensation in the body, especially the lower back, legs, & feet, sometimes accompanied by heat sensation in the upper part of the body & face

Many gynecological health problems are also often seen in cases of Blood Stasis, including:

  • irregular menstrual periods
  • painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
  • ovarian cysts
  • uterine fibroids
  • infertility or miscarriage
  • other hormone imbalances

(more…)

Improving Your Blood Circulation: Part 1 – An Eastern Perspective

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

A strong blood circulatory system, in both Western and Eastern Medicine, is vital to maintaining our good health.

Blood Deficiency” is a concept unique to Traditional Chinese Medicine and can be thought of as a decreased ability of the Blood to provide the proper nourishment to the rest of the body.

Although somewhat similar in idea to anemia, Blood Deficiency encompasses a much broader range of symptoms, and Eastern Medicine relies on its own methods of diagnosis rather than blood tests to evaluate and treat this condition.

Some of the more common symptoms associated with Blood Deficiency include:

  • fatigue & chronic tiredness
  • pale complexion
  • dry hair & skin
  • brittle nails
  • blurred vision & “floaters” in the eyes
  • poor memory
  • depression
  • insomnia, especially difficulty in falling asleep

(more…)

Sports Injuries – An Eastern Perspective

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

A downside with playing sports or engaging in other physical activities can be the occasional injury, whether it’s spraining your ankle while out hiking, separating your shoulder making that diving catch, or finally getting out and playing that round of golf only to feel pain in your sprained lower back the next day.

Fortunately, the Eastern medical approach can be very useful in the treatment of these kinds of injuries and pain, allowing us to recover faster and get back to our activities.

In order to better follow this approach, it’s useful to understand how Traditional Chinese Medicine views health and injury in terms of the acupuncture meridian system.

Because much of ancient China was an agricultural society, many of the concepts pertaining to this meridian system were traditionally described as being like a network of irrigation channels providing water and nutrients to the surrounding farmland.

In a similar way, the acupuncture meridians of the body can be thought of as an interconnected system of pathways bringing energy, blood, and nourishment to every area of the body, both internally to the organs and externally to the bones, tendons, muscles, connective tissue, and skin.

With injuries such as sprains, strains, fractures, or other similar trauma, these meridians can also get damaged, with their flow becoming impeded.

In Eastern medicine, physical traumatic injuries can usually be classified under the 2 general categories know as “Energy Stagnation” and “Blood Stasis“, although in real life, most injuries tend to have aspects of both. (more…)

The Heart System – An Eastern Perspective

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Heart disease, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and stroke, is one of the leading causes of illness and death in North America and is a major focus in Western Medicine.

Eastern Medicine also places great emphasis on the Heart system and in fact describes it as being like the Emperor of the body – all of the other organ systems are there to work for and support the health of the Heart, as without healthy blood and energy circulation disease soon follows.

The Heart is vitally important in Traditional Oriental Medicine, not only for proper circulation but also for mental and emotional well-being. The Spirit, or Shen as it’s known in Chinese, is regarded as literally residing inside the physical heart.

Many everyday expressions in the English language also demonstrate this close connection between the Heart and Spirit:

  • to express heart-felt appreciation for something
  • to have a heart-to-heart talk with a friend
  • to have your heart set on something
  • to love someone with all of your heart
  • to die of a broken heart

All of these expressions convey a deep sense of meaning that reaches into the inner core of a person. (more…)

The Lung System – An Eastern Perspective

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Traditional Oriental Medicine views the Lung system as being part of the respiratory process, bringing in fresh air and energy from our surroundings and distributing this throughout the entire body. Besides the actual lung organ, Eastern medicine also includes the throat and vocal cords, nasal passages, and sinuses.

In addition, the skin and mucous membranes are also regarded as an extension of the Lung system. This connection is commonly seen in children who suffer from asthma or allergies and may later on develop skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Treatment is aimed at strengthening the health and functioning of the lungs, resulting in improvement of both the asthma and the skin.

In Eastern medicine, the Lung system is responsible for circulating “Defensive Energy” which travels along the surface of the skin, regulating the body temperature while also protecting the person from outside diseases. It is similar in concept to the immune system, and it is interesting to note that Western medicine views the skin barrier and mucous membranes as an important defense against infectious diseases, something recognized in China well over 2,000 years ago. (more…)

The Spleen-Pancreas System – An Eastern Perspective

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Spleen-Pancreas system (also commonly just referred to as the Spleen) encompasses all the other organs of digestion, including the stomach and small & large intestine.

Eastern medical theory describes the Spleen as being like the Earth – just as the earth provides food for our nourishment, so the digestive system produces the energy and nourishment needed by the rest of our bodies. Because of this, it plays a central role in our overall health – if we have a strong and healthy Spleen system, we usually have a greater ability to recover from sickness. This effect can easily be seen in serious cases such as the late stages of cancer – once the person’s appetite and digestion deteriorates, the rest of their health often rapidly follows.

According to Eastern medicine, the Spleen is also important in controlling how fluids are distributed throughout the body. Symptoms such as abdominal bloating, fluid retention, edema, and heaviness of the body are all signs of an imbalance in the Spleen system and its inability to properly regulate the fluids. (more…)

The Liver System – An Eastern Perspective

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Traditional Oriental Medicine always views the physical organs, along with their corresponding energy meridian pathways, as an integrated whole. Because of this, when Eastern medicine talks about an organ, it is referring to the entire system which often includes other associated parts of the body, not just the local area of the physical organ.

Emotions in general are said to be controlled by the Liver system, but in particular, anger and frustration are closely related to the Liver.

In the case of an angry, irritable person, the Liver energy is too active and is described as a Fire that rises up towards the top of the body. The normal direction of Liver energy flow, upwards and outwards, has been taken to an extreme, and this can clearly be seen as their voice becomes loud, their body movements become agitated, their blood pressure rises as blood rushes upwards to their head, their face turns red and the eyes become bloodshot, and veins in the forehead become distended.

At the other extreme of the emotional spectrum would be someone who suffers from depression. Instead of the Liver energy travelling upwards and outwards, it begins to stagnate and turn inwards on itself, causing symptoms such as pent-up emotions, frustration, depression, and an inability to express feelings.  (more…)

The Kidney System – An Eastern Perspective

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

In Traditional Oriental Medicine, the understanding of the organs is different than that of Western medicine. The physical organs, along with their corresponding energetic meridian pathways are never regarded as independent systems but instead, are always viewed in relation to the rest of the body.

Probably the easiest way to get some insight into Eastern medicine is to look at the extremes of both a young infant and an elderly person, and how similar their characteristics are. In the case of the child, the Kidney system is still in development while for the older person, a weakening Kidney function is just a progression of the natural aging process:

  • bald / balding
  • no teeth / loosing teeth
  • bed-wetting / incontinent
  • weak back & legs / hunched back
  • soft bones & open fontanel / brittle bones
  • undeveloped memory / poor memory
  • undeveloped reproductive organs / declining sexual function

As can be seen from just this brief list, the Eastern view of the Kidney system involves many other parts of the body as well:

  • urinary system
  • reproductive system
  • hormones
  • growth & development
  • bones & marrow, especially the spine
  • brain function & memory

According to Traditional Oriental Medicine, the Kidney is also in charge of controlling the Fluid metabolism throughout the body and could be thought of as the coolant system that prevents things from overheating. For example, a condition commonly treated with acupuncture is the typical menopausal woman where the Kidney system is not doing its job of cooling the body. As a result, this extra heat rises up and collects towards the top of the body, producing symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, shoulder pain, and insomnia. (more…)