Heart and kidney relationship in tcm

The kidneys' relationship witht the heart

heart and kidney relationship in tcm

In traditional Chinese medicine, emotions are intimately linked with Stress Management · Happiness · Meditation · Brain Health · Relationships · Inspiration and Creativity · View All Works with the kidney to regulate water metabolism. Symptoms of Heart Imbalance: Insomnia, heart palpitations and. “Harmony between the heart and kidney” refers to the physiological relationship between these two zang organs in Chinese medicine, while “disharmony. cause Heart Blood to be Deficient (resulting in palpitations, The TCM information presented here has been referenced.

The power to reproduce, life's hunger for itself, is born here. Fire- Heart Fire shines, like the sun rising, piercing this darkness. Its light differentiates the ocean from all else and draws a boundary between observer and that which is observed, bringing a consciousness through which the ocean's potential can become known.

Fire is its own being-ness, separate from kidney water. It is responsible for the identity that we have of ourselves, the "me-ness. Fire will allow for the experience and expression potential of this great ocean, our genetic foundation, our congenital make-up.

Fire comes to illuminate water, to transform it into that which can be understood, recognized, perceived and defined just as our identity perceives potential mates and our hearts determine who we will "let in" romantically and sexually.

Sexuality, genetics, constitution and ancestors dictate what becomes love, perspective, awareness and personal identity.

Without the rich potential, the life soup in the oceans of our genetics, who we are, how we think, what we believe couldn't exist. It is sexuality and genetics that rules the heart. It is gender that, in part, defines self. It is water that controls fire. Research shows that the connection between water and fire, between erotic and loving feeling, is universal.

Passion is part of the human hardware. It is an emotional skin covering the sophisticated machinery of species reproduction. Without the hunger to be close to another, there would be no offspring.

Passion for a beloved can be found in all cultures, no matter how primitive or isolated from the rest of the world. All human beings feel attracted, passionate and desirous of those whose genetics foretell of healthy offspring. The emotions aroused by love are defined differently by those experiencing them.

This is where the cultural differences around love come in. In China, passionate love is equated with "sorrow love" or "unrequited love. In many tribes along the Amazon and in Italian culture it is the core of being alive. It shows up in the thoughts of a woman whose biological clock is ticking.

Can she find the partner who is pleasing to the heart qi, so that her sexual urges will pay off in healthy children? It is expressed in the mate selection process. Is a particular patient making healthy choices or do they have enough damage to the heart qi such that the strength of their genetics gets them in to trouble over and over as they pick sexy, heart destroying partners? Many confirmed bachelors and bachelorettes fit into this category: It plays out in the marriages of our patients, as couples stumble past the initial thrills of partnering into the long-term energetic challenges that they face once the chemistry of passion dies down, about years into a romance.

It is understood in our medicine that different aspects of self mature at different rates. Do you incorporate this understanding in your practice? The third Jing cycle is the one in which the body is mature and ready to procreate, but the mind is not.

heart and kidney relationship in tcm

The mind of a child inhabits the body of an adult. This is why education is so important in Asia for teenagers and young adults. When the mind is still childlike and the body has the urges of a mature person, one must keep the mind very busy to distract the body away from making poor choices. The heart is yet undeveloped while the kidneys are strong. Each Jing cycle represents our growth in new ways.

It can be said that shen operates beyond the realm of physical form; it always relies, however, on the continuous supply of the more dense and less refined qi and jing which constitute the material foundation of the body. The inter-relationship is as follows: Blood is a type of "jing"-the latter being a term that always refers to sticky refined body substances which comprise the fundamental yin essence of the body bone marrow, sperm, vaginal fluids, blood, saliva, etc.

Blood is regarded as a particularly important element of the material basis for shen activity. Further, the blood vessels are an important extension of the heart. As long as the heart is in motion, blood circulates through the vessels; and as long as this is the case, a person is alive. The blood vessels constitute one of the structural aspects of the heart network.

From an evolutionary point of view, the physical heart is actually a local elaboration of the blood vessels. In a human embryo, it is a network of primitive blood vessels that appears first. Only later are parts of this network modified to form the physical heart. From a Chinese perspective, blood is primarily produced in the process of extracting food essence in the middle burner.

The definitive section in the Neijing states: The middle burner is located underneath the upper burner and is closely associated with the stomach. It is in charge of extracting qi from food, of discarding the dregs, of assimilating the vital fluids, of transforming them into the body's own jing, and then transporting this final product up to the lung and eventually transforming it into blood which nourishes the entire body; there is no substance within the body that is more precious than this.

In other words, fluids and nutritive qi derived from food enter the blood vessels where they are further transformed and refined. This process is usually referred to as "turning [the fluids into] red [blood]. The liver regulates blood flow and blood storage amount retained in the body and is considered to be the other major blood organ. The heart circulates the blood. Blood moves through the body in an open-ended circle, providing the material basis for all aspects of mental activity and all organ networks and their associated body layers skin, muscles, tendons, and bones.

In the original terms of the Neijing: If the quality of heart blood is unblemished, the myriad of fine vessels in the face will be well supplied, and the person will present with a rosy and lustrous complexion. Chinese medicine, therefore, has traditionally regarded the face as a mirror of the condition of the heart. Again, the Neijing points out: If the vessels cease to function, the blood will not move.

If the blood does not move, the skin and body hair will lack nourishment. Thus the face will turn grey like lacquer and the blood will perish. Since the conditions of both blood and shen reflect here, the face can tell much about the general state of a person's physical and emotional state.

The Neijing's "superior doctor"-also called shen different character -thus knows about the condition of a patient by looking at the face alone. In general, it can be said that the occurrence of sweat is controlled by the opening of pores that are managed by the body's protective qi wei qi.

Sweat production, however, relies on the process of distilling pale fluid from the blood by "steaming" transformation. As is observed in the Neijing: Oriental physicians usually shake their heads when told about Western health rituals that entail the frequent and deliberate secretion of sweat, such as weekly saunas or intense daily exercise schedules.

On the other hand, it could be argued that people living in industrial societies tend to have a much richer diet than those living in traditional rural societies; for them, failing to sweat enough could lead to accumulation.

The organs, classified as zang and fu, are paired. While the zang organ serves as a residence the shen resides in the heart and a major transporter the heart moves the blood the fu organ serves only as a transfer station, temporarily storing material that is to be discharged. The heart is paired with the small intestine, interconnected by the luo vessels.

What Happens When Heart and Kidney Aren't 'Communicating'? — Space: 21st Century Acupuncture

The small intestine receives partially digested food residue from the stomach and proceeds with the process of digestion by separating it into "pure" and "impure" substances, thus providing its transfer functions. Pure essence is being recirculated to the spleen, which is in charge of transporting it to the five organ networks where it can be stored. Fluids reabsorbed from the dregs are being passed on to the bladder, which stores and expels surplus liquid from the body.

Solid waste matter is transmitted to and expelled via the large intestine. Some cases of burning urination particularly if accompanied by symptoms of dark or red urine are treated by clearing heat in the heart: An internal branch of the heart channel connects with the tongue.

What Happens When Heart and Kidney Aren't 'Communicating'?

If the heart is in a state of harmony, the tongue can distinguish the five essential flavors. A deep red or scarlet tongue, for instance, usually indicates the presence of toxic heat in the blood.

At a severe stage, toxic heat may adversely affect shen and eventually cause loss of consciousness as in the case of encephalitis or other febrile diseases. A pale tongue usually indicates blood deficiency. Just as important in the context of heart-tongue relation is the second meaning of the Chinese term "xin" heartnamely, center. In Chinese medical terminology, "xin" often refers to or at least implicates the stomach, since the epigastric region constitutes the structural center of the torso.

heart and kidney relationship in tcm

We know that diseases of the structural heart often manifest as symptoms of stomach pain. Vice versa, stomach problems, such as ulcers, can both cause and be exacerbated by mental symptoms that in Chinese terms would be classified as a heart disorder. In clinical diagnosis, the physical tongue body serves as an indicator of the condition of the organs especially the circulation through the organswhile the tongue coating serves as an indicator of the situation of the digestive system.

Clinicians primarily seek information about the heart's condition from the tip of the tongue where imbalances of the upper burner organs, lung and heart, may reflect. The pericardium or "heart protector" is said to be a shielding layer enveloping the heart. Just as an emperor is surrounded by a dense circle of intermediaries, the pericardium forms a network of finely meshed pathways around the heart through which both the heart's qi and blood have to pass on their way to and from the far reaches of the body landscape.

The pericardium is categorized as a separate organ, yet, as the heart's last line of defense against invading pathogens, it clearly is an integral part of the extended heart network.

Obstruction of the Heart Orifice: At an advanced stage of pathology, heat pathogens may obstruct the pericardium and thus cause the orifice to the heart-the crucial opening through which the flame of consciousness illuminates the outside world-to become blocked. Typical symptoms are unrelenting high fever, loss of consciousness, and delirious talk.

If the orifice of the heart becomes obscured by phlegm fire, epileptic seizures or outbreaks of madness may occur. It is important to note that the term "obstructed heart orifice" is not a label for common emotional disorders, but indicates an acute situation where all mental faculties are seriously impeded. Lack of Nourishment to the Heart Shen: If heart yin, that is the basic material substance of the heart heart bloodis deficient, a person's shen will become deprived of the nourishment it requires and will be unable to rest.

Symptoms of insomnia, confusion, memory loss, and other mental symptoms are possible results of this condition. If the heart yang, the flame of life, is deficient, water accumulates in the upper part of the torso and gives rise to a frequently occurring symptom complex that is referred to as "water qi intimidating the heart" shui qi ling xin.

Palpitations, edema, asthmatic breathing, pulmonary heart disease, and related conditions are typical manifestations of this situation. Exuberant heat in the internal "blood layer" can cause the blood to deviate from its proper course in the vessels, resulting in various kinds of hemorrhaging.

If the yang vessels are harmed, bleeding occurs in the upper part of the body nosebleed, vomiting of blood, expectoration of blood ; if the yin vessels are harmed, bleeding occurs in the lower part of the body blood in stool, urine, metrorrhagia. This type of pathology heat, hyperactivity, affecting the blood is also associated with the other blood network: If blood stasis occurs in the vessels for prolonged periods of time, pathological or "dead" blood will form and severely impact both mental and physical aspects of the heart network.

Prolonged or recurrent bleeding is also a major cause of blood stasis, which in turn may bring about further hemorrhaging. Blood stasis is also associated with the other blood network, namely the liver: Blood stasis in the pericardium is a common cause of angina pectoris. Ancient texts frequently describe a heart attack sudden chest pain, loss of voice, lips and face turn blue, hands and feet turn cold and blue as a syndrome of "polluted blood attacking the heart.

Imbalances of zang organs frequently manifest as symptoms in their associated fu network. Thus, heart heat may manifest as burning diarrhea with intestinal cramping or burning urination often with dark or red urine that represents transfer of heat from small intestine to bladder.

Conversely, small intestine heat can result in heart symptoms such as restlessness or mouth ulcers. Heart Disorder Affecting the Tongue: Deficiency of heart blood usually causes the tongue to take on a pale color. Mouth ulcers frequently arise from heart or small intestine heat.

If heat toxins have invaded the pericardium, or if phlegm obscures the orifice to the heart, patients may lose control over their tongue.

Stroke victims, for instance, often experience stiffness of the tongue resulting in the common post-stroke phenomenon of slurred speech. Deficiency of Heart Yin Blood: Besides the mental symptoms indicating a malnourished shen, there may be physical symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, a pale face, dry skin and body hair, and a fine, weak, and often rapid pulse. Since the liver network is in charge of storing the blood, blood deficiency most commonly involves the liver. Excessive Joy Injuring the Heart: Under normal circumstances, joy can relieve tension, stimulate the flow of qi and blood, and harmonize the nutritive ying and protective wei layers.

If this particular emotion is exaggerated, however, the qi will disperse and shen will scatter. Intense and prolonged emphasis on joy, in other words, can impair a person's focus and concentration. In cases where the shen becomes so severely dispersed that it cannot find its way back to its physical "home," madness may result.

Shock causes the heart shen to become dispersed and all subordinated shen to deteriorate into a state of disarray. Typical manifestations of this problem are loss of consciousness, epilepsy, or dementia that have been induced by a shock a frightful experience.

Vice versa, a deficiency of heart qi can cause a person to be easily startled. Nourish blood bu xue: Nourish the heart and pacify shen yang xin an shen yang: Tonify qi bu xin yi qi: Warm yang wen yang yi qi: Astringe and tonify yin lian yin: Purge fire xie huo: Clear heart heat qing xin: Sedate the heart and settle shen zhen xin an shen: Open the orifice of the heart kai qiao: Open the orifice by dispelling heat phlegm huo tan: Transform water rheum to calm the heart hua yin ning xin: Move the blood huo xue: Drive out blood stasis zhu yu: Soften and dissipate masses ruan jian: Stop bleeding zhi xue: Although many blood disorders are treated via the liver, it is the heart that is officially considered to be the master of the vessels and their content.

Blood disorders, therefore, are often associated with the heart. If blood heat causes eruptions or bleeding, the blood needs to be cooled. If blood cold causes stagnation and pain, the channels need to be warmed. In cases of bleeding, additional hemostatic measures can be applied, but it is imperative to first clearly differentiate the cause for the condition; blood heat, spleen qi deficiency, and blood stasis can all be potential causes.

Since the heart stores the shen, the label "heart disorder" often stands for situations where the shen cannot be properly stored. This primarily manifests in symptoms of mental agitation, such as insomnia, vivid dreaming, irritability, or hysteria.

If the shen is agitated due to the presence of excess pathogens, the removal of the pathogens heat, phlegm, stagnant blood is often sufficient to settle an agitated shen. Often, however, it is a deficiency of heart blood-the material yin pool that keeps the volatile yang shen grounded-which is at the root of this condition. In this case, the blood must be nourished to restore the material basis of shen and give it a residence that it feels enticed to return to.

To achieve a more immediate effect, it is advisable in both cases to include herbs that have a sedative action on the heart and thus directly settle the shen. Usually, substances with a settling affect are heavy in nature, such as cinnabar zhushamagnetite cishioyster shell mulior dragon bone longgu.

A subdued heart can also cause a dispersal of shen focus, and a slow beating pulse can cause the blood to stagnate in the vessels; in such cases, it is necessary to invigorate the heart and vitalize the blood circulation.

heart and kidney relationship in tcm

Just like a bright fire burns pure and is not obscured by smoke, the heart and its light of consciousness remain pure unless pathogenic influences, such as impure qi or phlegm, block the heart orifice.

If impure qi veils the flame of consciousness, herbs that expel impurity and open the orifice should be used. If blood stasis clogs the heart collaterals vesselsthen measures that drive out stasis and unblock the collaterals should be employed.

If the force of the heart-the heart yang and heart qi-are deficient, yang should be warmed and qi should be tonified. In case that a heart yang deficiency has already caused pathological water and phlegm to accumulate, measures that support heart yang need to be accompanied by herbs that drive out water rheum and phlegm. In case there are obvious signs of dispersed heart qi palpitations, shortness of breathdeficient heart yin sweatingor disturbed heart shen inability to concentratesour flavors can be used to astringe the various substances of the heart.

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  • The Heart /Kidney Connection

The famous turn of the century physician Zhang Xichun, for instance, often decocted large amounts of the sour fruit cornus shanzhuyu and gave it to patients in emergency situations to keep their shen qi from leaving the body. Most commonly, today, schizandra is used to astringe both heart yin and heart qi.