Surprised? I know I was. The kidneys are one of those organ pairs that are so often left out of the conversation. These days, it is all about the gut and the liver. How the liver detoxifies the body, and how the gut clears those toxins out. While I am certainly not here to diminish the roles that these organs play in health (I am quite found of my liver and intestinal cleanses after all), I do think we need to talk about the kidneys. The kidneys control far more than you might expect. So much so, they are at the center of attention in the healing modalities of the east, as they are revered as the root of health.
Our kidneys determine how we look and feel, both emotionally and physically, from the way our hair and nails grow, to our ability to produce life. It’s all linked back to our kidneys, but we are just not paying any attention to them. In fact, I would dare say that most of us have absolutely no idea what the kidneys do at all! This is why their neglect could be the one piece of the puzzle missing, preventing transformation in health, especially when everything else seems to be in place. So if you are looking for answers, have dealt with kidneys issues, or are looking to improve long-standing issues with your hair, nails, fertility and energy… it’s your kidneys, and it’s time to do an easy kidney cleanse.
The kidneys’ main functions, from a western perspective, are to keep the body’s acid-alkaline and fluid-electrolyte balance, blood volume and pressure control, vitamin D utilization and waste excretion. I know, so sexy. While these are vital to the overall functioning of the body, it is their role from a Chinese medicine perspective that highlights their deeper importance and leads us to consider that the kidneys may be holding us back from the health we seek, rather then other aspects such as hormones, liver or gut function. That is why I have dedicated so much of my nutrition career to working on improving kidney health, even when overt kidney issues such as kidney stones or kidney disease are not even present.
In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are known as the root of life, the very foundation of the body. Without the strength of the kidneys, the body withers and suffers, leading to both physical and emotional symptoms. Through this perspective, it is believed that the kidneys are intimately tied to the adrenal glands, so much so that they are one in the same, conceptually. What affects the kidneys affects the adrenal glands. This connection further deepens their importance since we are all at risk of adrenal stress, fatigue and burnout.
As the root of life, the kidneys are home of the jing, which is the essence of our life force. It is this life force that is responsible for providing the tools required to fulfill our deepest human needs: survival and reproduction, life and death. This is what makes kidney cleansing so vital to overall health, because it helps to preserve the jing and the maintenance of its related functions. Unfortunately, the practices of our day-to-day lives constantly deplete kidney jing. Some of these practices and stressors are anxiety, fear, poor nutrition, lack of sleep and toxin buildup in the kidneys. When the jing is depleted, premature aging occurs, leading not only to early onset of gray hair, but also to reproductive and developmental disorders, a shortened lifespan, and the following other symptoms.
Signs of kidney jing deficiency:
- indecisiveness, fear in the pit of stomach
- cold feet and legs
- swelling and edema
- bladder issues
- fearfulness, anxiety, insecurity, antisocial tendencies
- chronic fatigue
- lack of will, impatience, discouragement, laziness
- low sex drive
- sciatica, lumbago
- bone loss, osteoporosis
- hearing issues
- dreams of drowning, swimming after a shipwreck; of being immersed in water; as if the back and waist are split apart, spine is detached from body
- terrible balance and clumsiness
- thinning hair, early onset of gray or white hair
- menstrual complications
- thin skin, weak nails
- foggy head
- low back pain
- conditions of the bone marrow
- dark brown or dark circles and/or puffiness under the eyes
As you can see, the kidneys control a lot more than just fluid balance and urine. That is why we must take them more seriously. The good news is that their restoration, and minimizing the depletion of kidney jing can be done with a kidney cleanse. And don’t be mislead, a kidney cleanse is not just utilized for the therapeutic treatment of kidney stones, kidney disease and other kidney-related conditions, it is also the main tool for achieving the appearance you want, and the health you want. That is why I fervently recommend kidney cleansing, and to focus on the health of the kidneys as much as the health of your other organs. If not, we often are unable to get to the real root of an issue.
Specifically, once again, why are the kidneys so important? And why should all of us be paying attention to them regardless if actual kidneys disorders are present?
We care about the kidneys because they control many aspects of our health that we care so much about. Here are some of my favorites:
Strength + Growth of Hair and Nails
The true secret to long, thick hair, and strong, fast-growing nails is kidney health. If the kidneys are functioning at an optimal level and are supported with the right herbs and frequent cleansing programs, your hair and nails will be the first tell-tale sign.
Fertility + Reproductive Health
The kidneys are the storehouse of the jing, the life force that determines our ability to reproduce. It is the electrical force from which our sexual life is derived and what makes conception possible. Without proper jing, reproduction becomes more difficult, therefore its preservation is a key component in maintaining fertility.
Energy + Vitality
Jing is the deepest source of energy, and being housed by the kidneys, remains the storehouse for the rest of the organ/gland systems. It determines our quality of life, our ability to survive, and therefore is the root from which we draw our energy. Without its preservation, fatigue occurs, and can lead to premature aging.
Bone Strength + Health
Kidney jing is also in charge of the production of bone marrow, which then determines the health of the bones and teeth. The kidney is also a key player in the utilization of vitamin D, which is imperative for proper calcium absorption. As a result, the functioning of the kidneys helps to ensure strong bones.
Willpower, Decisiveness + Feelings of Courage and Groundedness
The kidneys are intimately tied to emotional processes in addition to physical ones. In particular, the kidneys determine our will power – the ability of our minds to be focused on goals, as well as our ability to pursue them. Without proper kidney health, feelings of inadequacy, fearfulness and indifference dominate, leaving us apathetic to life and its pursuits.
These are 5 reasons that pursuing the health of the kidneys is so important, but as I mentioned before, there are many other benefits. If you are ready to start restoring kidney jing, and your body’s life force, then it’s time to cleanse. I have put together a super comprehensive kidney cleanse book that not only contains the tools needed to cleanse the kidneys, but also a diet, essential lifestyle modifications and therapies that will help to drastically improve your kidney health long-term. If you do suffer from more advanced kidney conditions, the book does contain valuable modifications that you can discuss with your doctor, as well as strategies for prevention and healing.