• The Acupuncture Clinic of Tom Ingegno L.Ac 907 Lakewood Ave Baltimore, MD 21224
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    • 21 JAN 11
    • 0

    Kidneys and Urinary Bladder: Yin and Yang

    Yin and Yang are the two most fundamental concepts in Oriental Medicine. In the Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine) which dates back to the 3rd century BC it is written that “A good physician who has mastered the technique of diagnosis will examine the patient’s color and take his pulse, and he will classify all symptoms into yin and yang as the first step in making a diagnosis.” Yin and yang are always interdependent. It follows therefore that if the kidneys are classified as a yin organ, there must be a corresponding yang mate. In fact this is true for all five key organs of the body as seen in the Five Element Theory. Kidneys, liver, heart, spleen and lungs are known as the viscera, or solid organs: they are filled to capacity and do not empty. Urinary bladder, gallbladder, small intestine, stomach and large intestine are known as the bowels, or hollow organs: they must empty when they are full.

    Yin organ






    Yang organ

    Urinary bladder


    Small intestine


    Large intestine

    As we already know, kidneys relate to the water element, the emotion of fear, and the winter season. Have you ever noticed how going into the cold weather or a cold room makes you want to urinate more often? Or how your pet may leave a puddle on the carpet if it has been scared? The condition of the energy of the kidneys has a direct relationship to the need for the bladder to urinate.. When kidney qi is imbalanced difficult urination occurs. If the kidneys have a yin or yang deficiency, there is dribbling of urine or incontinence.

    Chronic bladder infections are seen as a kidney yin or yang deficiency in Oriental medicine, and acute infections indicate a condition of too much dampness (yin) and heat (yang) in the bladder. Bladder infections occur more frequently in women than in men, mainly because of a shorter urethra which is more susceptible to the entry of bacteria. In Oriental medicine an inability to fight off an infection is seen as an imbalance of qi which, in this case, can be caused by the consumption of too many acid forming foods: refined sugar and sweeteners, meat, greasy foods, starch. Recommended foods are those that are cooling in energy and bitter in taste, eg azuki beans, asparagus and other cooling vegetables, herbal teas of uva ursi or dandelion, plantain or dandelion leaf. In SE Asia coconut water (not milk) has been used for centuries for getting rid of kidney and ureter stones. Street vendors in Costa Rica and other tropical countries will make a hole in a fresh young coconut so you can drink the water through a straw. A cup of strong cinnamon tea may help nip an acute infection in the bud if it can be drunk within the first 48 hours. Here in the West cranberry juice is a popular remedy: drink it at room temperature, without ice! Be careful to find a variety that does not contain added sugar or sweeteners, or instead choose cranberry tablets.

    As well as using herbal and food remedies, acupuncture to increase qi circulation in the lower abdomen can be very effective for acute cases of bladder infections. Using points such as kidney 3 and 6 on the ankle and bladder points along the spine will help boost kidney qi.

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