Aging is inevitable, but is it possible to slow down the process as much as possible? In Chinese Medicine, the best way to prevent premature aging is to take care of our kidneys.
The Kidney is the reservoir for the inherited foundation for our physical health, which the Chinese call “Prenatal Jing”. The West may refer to this as our constitution, genetics and immune system. As in the West, how we continue to take care of this inheritance (like a trust fund), will determine if we are supplementing this reserve so we can live off its interest or depleting it too quickly before old age when this energy naturally declines.
If the Jing depletes before our old age, then we would experience early onset of graying, balding, weakened bones, hearing loss, exhaustion, impotence, or dementia.
To prevent this as best as possible, we must supplement our inherited Jing with enriching lifestyle choices (aka Acquired Jing). Here are some things to consider in understanding how to maximize our Acquired Jing:
1. Fear is the emotion that mostly affects the kidneys. Living in constant fear will drain the kidney adrenal as it keeps your body in a constant state of fight or flight. It is therefore important to clear the fearful energy that alters and damages neuro pathways in the brain (which is also governed by the kidney). This energetic rebalancing, along with therapy, can be especially successful in helping individuals to recover from traumas that are etched deeply into one’s mental health.
2. Eat foods that are beneficial for the kidneys such as beans, bone broth, wild yams, seaweed and cordyceps mushroom (well-known for use in treatment of kidney diseases).
3. Winter is an important time for the kidney, where we should conserve and replenish the kidneys. This ensures that we have enough energy in our tank to emerge during spring time of awakening and rebirth. Winter months are a time to retreat inwardly, reflect, rest, sleep, and eat more warm nourishing foods like soups and stews to build the energetic powerhouse in our body.
4. We must also exercise in moderation and refrain from extreme activities, i.e. high intense cardio and sports, sexual activity, overworking.
5. Complement strenuous activity with restorative activities like Qi Gong, yoga, and meditation can greatly offset the stress load to the kidneys.