March is National Kidney Month, and it made me want to write about the importance of Kidney Health! I know, it may not sound like a very exciting subject, but it really is important!
These tiny filtering units are located in the small of the back about 4-5 inches below the bottom rib. There is one on each side, with one behind the liver on the right and the other behind the spleen on the left. The kidneys are a blood filtration system which removes cellular wastes and excretes the impurities out to the bladder. They also monitor the blood concentration of sugars, salts, oxygen, hydrogen, minerals, proteins and certain hormones.
Other functions of the kidneys include pH balance, blood volume control and regulation of blood pressure. Most people don’t realize how closely related their blood pressure is to the health of their kidneys. Normally about one-fifth of total blood flow at any time is passing through the kidneys. Over time, they can become damaged with little or no physical symptoms to warn you that they are in trouble. In fact, 1 in 9 American adults has kidney disease – and most don’t know it.
Well-functioning kidneys are important to your health and the overall balance of your body. It requires a balance of diet, fluids, supplements and movement to keep them working properly. Probably the single greatest cause of kidney problems is a lack of adequate water intake, but there are other causes as well, such as eating contaminated and/or junk food, toxins in the air and water, other environmental toxins and the use of medical drugs and vaccines. All of these things can cause damage the kidneys.
Common Kidney Problems
The most common kidney problems include weakness due to various emotional and physical reasons, followed by kidney infections. Others that are more chronic include toxicity, kidney stone formation, cysts and other malformations, and finally kidney cancers and renal failure. The latter are very serious conditions, although a rebalancing program can often help both of them.
A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in the kidney from mineral or protein breakdown produced in the urine. Occasionally, larger stones can become trapped in the ureter, bladder, or urethra, which can block urine flow causing intense pain.
The kidneys are such vital organs that if they become infected, the entire body is often weakened. Symptoms may include pain upon urination, a need to urinate often, difficulty urinating, and low back pain that may radiate around to the front of the body. Some infections are silent, however, and present no symptoms at all, or very few. However, a hair mineral analysis provides some general indications that the kidneys may be under stress.
Kidney infections are especially common in women. Because of the shorter urethra, the infection can easily travel up to the bladder then to the kidneys. While an infection can occur in men, they are not as common. Infection of the kidney is always potentially serious and should never be ignored.
Kidneys and the Body’s Energy or “Chi”
The kidneys in Chinese medicine are the ‘seat of the chi’. This means that the energy is stored in the kidneys and flows to the rest of the body from there. They are also associated with the qualities of courage, fearlessness, mental sharpness and mental acuity.
Healthy kidneys make the mind work faster and help you to have more energy, stamina, and determination. When we entertain negative thoughts and emotions, such as fear of the future, disappointment, criticism, failure, shame, revenge or feelings of being “stuck”, this organ is affected and may not function properly.
The following conditions may indicate a need to support the kidneys:
- Pain in mid back region, sometimes confused with muscle tension
- Dark circles under eyes and/or puffy eyes
- History of kidney stones
- Cloudy, bloody or darkened urine
- Urine has a strong odor
- Recurrent bladder or kidney infections
- Skin eruptions, psoriasis or eczema
- Blood pressure irregularities
- Tendency to stoop over
- Edema (swelling), especially in the feet and ankles
Supporting the Kidneys
Kidney disease develops when kidneys lose their ability to remove waste and maintain fluid and chemical balances in the body. Because there are little to no signs of the conditions, most people are not even aware that they have kidney disease until it reaches the later stages, including kidney failure. Early detection of kidney stress and starting a rebalancing program can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease.
While disorders of the kidneys overlap to some degree, it is most helpful to consider them separately and then realize that one person may have three or four of them the same time. Many serious problems with the kidneys can be avoided or at least improved by doing the following:
- Drink about three quarts or three liters of spring water or carbon-filtered tap water each day. This is the single most important procedure to avoid some kidney stones and reduce stress on the kidneys. Avoid dehydration by staying away from alkaline water, coffee, caffeinated teas or other caffeinated beverages such as diet soda. Also, stay away from all sugars, and all alcohol. Water is the most common nutritional deficiency in the American population.
- Eat a proper diet. It means do not eat food chemicals such as additives, preservatives, flavorings, sweeteners, pesticide residues and others that abound in processed and prepared foods. Also, avoid vegetarian diets, and all wheat, and white flour products. Limit fruit intake due to its high sugar content.
- Rest adequately. For most people, this means at least 8-10 hours of actual sleep every single day.
- Avoid toxic exposure. Some chemicals and metals are extremely hard on the kidneys and bladder. A few of these include most hair dyes, fluoride, chlorine in water and elsewhere, iron found in all white breads, and hundreds of other toxic chemicals.
- Breathe pure, clean and highly oxygenated air, if possible, all day and all night long. Oxygen is helpful to get rid of some poisons that affect the kidneys. An Ozonator/ionizer air purifier can assist with this.
- Avoid constipation. Constipation can allow toxins to build up in the body quickly. Avoiding it is often easy if you drink 3 quarts of water daily, eat correctly, take digestive enzymes and relax enough.
- Obey the call of nature quickly and reliably. This means don’t hold it forever! Life is busy and we are always trying to get things done, but this is one thing that shouldn’t wait.
- Obtain regular chiropractic care, or perform spinal stretching and twists daily. Using a chi machine may also be helpful.
- Rub the feet daily (foot reflexology), and the kidney/bladder, urethra areas.
- Use essential oils. Geranium is a good one (and my favorite) to support healthy kidney function, but there are several others that you may find work better for you, such as Juniper, Valor, Release, or Forgiveness. Apply 1-2 drops topically to your kidney area on back, 1-2 times daily.
All major organs can be supported year-round, but each has a specific season when it is most effective to do so. For the kidneys, this happens in winter. There is also a best time of day to do foot reflexology and/or apply essential oils, which is between 5:00-7:00 pm when the kidneys are at their highest energy state. However, you can work on this organ at any time of the day and any time of the year.
Let’s keep learning and do all that we can to keep these tiny filtering units and the rest of our body as balanced and healthy as possible.