The Water Element

The element Water is represented by the Kidney and Bladder Zang fu, the Kidney is considered to be like the body’s trust fund and is very hard to nourish and keep balanced.  Of the three sources of Qi production in the body (Lungs, Spleen and Kidney), our Kidney energy is strongly influenced by the constitution of our parents and is meant to support us throughout our lifetime.  The Kidneys depend on the healthy production of Lung and Spleen Qi to prevent premature depletion, therefore attention to the breath and proper nutrition are essential.  Our lifestyle also has an enormous impact on our Kidney Qi, and Winter is definitely the time to be conservative. With shorter days and longer nights, it is more conducive to spend nights at home, nourishing the body and soul with warm food and meditative practices. This builds the physical reserves in preparation for spring.  - Listen to your body

The time for the bladder is 3 to 5pm, and kidney is 5 to 7.  Many people who have an imbalance in these organs will either have increased energy at this time or feel extremely tired.  The lowest time of the bladder is 3 to 5 am and those that are weak in the water element, will often wake to urinate at this time.

The Emotions of Water

The emotion associated with water is fear.  It is the most hidden and ranges from agitation to paralysis.  Continual agitation can result in sudden bursts of activity and energy depleting the adrenal glands and leading to exhaustion.  When people feel agitated they find it difficult to sit still and this affects their ability to concentrate.  At the other end of the spectrum people can become paralysed when afraid.  On the surface they may pretend that everything is alright and appear calm but internally the ability to respond is frozen and they have difficulty in knowing how to respond in certain situations.  This can create an inability to make changes.  People may consider fear to be a weakness but it is essential to our existence and drives us forward towards a higher standard of health and lifestyle.  Without fear there is no excitement or sense of adventure.

The Sense Organs of Water

The sense organs of the water are the ears.  Notice how the ear is shaped like a kidney.  Strong water element means strong bones and teeth and less likelihood of osteoporosis.  Head hair problems can indicate a kidney problem and can be benefitted with kidney nourishing foods or with Chinese herbs.  Feel free to discuss with Mychelle.  Salty is the taste so if you’re craving salt, your kidneys are out of balance.  Add seaweed into the diet to temper the salt cravings.  Salt (not table salt) has a yin cooling effect, moves energy downwards, moistens dryness and softens lumps.  It can detoxify the body and purge the bowels.  It is good for a sore throat so is useful to gargle.  Use more so in winter than summer.

Because of the time of year it is easy for cold to come into the body and contract our muscles and reduce blood circulation, possibly leading to more aching joints and arthritis. This is the time of year one benefits most from keeping up a good stretching routine, yoga at the end of the day, even 10 cycles of solute to the sun morning and night can warm up the body.

As the Kidneys rule the lower part of the body, from the waist down, it is extremely important to keep your feet warm to conserve energy.  Try a foot soak with Epsom salts and essential oil to warm the body; these are available from Utopia Health Care.

Food eaten in winter should be warming and nutritious, like slow cooked stews, casseroles and soups. Legumes and pulses, especially black beans, also know as turtle beans are warming in nature sweet, benefits the Kidneys and builds the Yin, fluid and blood., can help with lower back pain, knee pain and infertility)*, are considered excellent in building Yin for this time of year.  At this point, it is important to expand on what is meant by warming.  Many people consider chilli to be a warming food and while this may be true in the short term, it actually causes the pores to open, induces a sweat thereby allowing the heat to escape.   More appropriate spices would be cinnamon, ginger, anise, and cloves.