Water Element Balances Fire, Inside and Out

In Chinese medicine we always seek balance, in nature as well as within the human body. As the Fire element was recently predominant in our environment, its complementary element, Water, was needed. If the Fire element in our body, represented by the Heart, is too strong (manifesting in insomnia, anxiety or heart disease), the Water element, represented by the Kidney, needs to be strengthened. Kidney, with a capital K, refers to the Kidney system rather than to the specific organ. In Chinese medicine, Kidney, Heart, Liver, Lungs and Spleen do not refer to the actual organs. Because Chinese medicine is holistic, the function of the organs has a broader definition that includes the relationship with the other organs.

The primary function of the Kidney is to store and control our “essence,” or jing, the foundation of chi, or energy. Kidney Yin is responsible for restoration and revitalization. In the drama of an over-stimulated life, we may fail to refresh our core vitality, which causes Kidney Yin Deficiency. Symptoms include soreness of the lumbar region and knees, dizziness, hearing problems and dry mouth.

Fortunately, a key piece of building Kidney Yin is nutrition. First, drink plenty of water. Eat beans, as they are seeds and have new life potential. The colors blue and black correspond to the Kidney element, so blueberries and blackberries are recommended. Also eat fish, pumpkin, black sesame seeds, walnuts, eggs, millet and green leafy vegetables. Since salty is the flavor that correlates with the Water element, foods such as sea salt, miso and tamari are beneficial.

Try planning a Kidney Yin-building day by avoiding distractions and getting in touch with your inner self. Take time to be aware, to breathe, to walk and to meditate. You can harmonize your inner emotional fires by creating inner “rain” or stillness.

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