A person’s overall physical health is dependent on a number of different factors—and one of the most important is the condition and function of the kidneys. Located beneath the lower ribs on both sides of the spine, each kidney is only about the size of your fist, but together, they are essential to your health and well-being. Many other organs depend on the kidneys, which means the effects of kidney problems are not limited to the kidneys but rather extend to all areas of the body.
The kidneys have three main responsibilities:
- To regulate water: One of the most important jobs of the kidneys is to control the body’s fluid balance by removing excess water and retaining water when the body needs more.
- To remove waste: The kidneys are responsible for regulating substances in the blood and body fluid. When the kidneys are functioning correctly, excess minerals (such as sodium and potassium) are expelled from the body in the urine and the levels of other minerals (such as calcium and phosphate, which are important for bone formation) are kept at the right balance.
- To produce hormones: Healthy kidneys help produce hormones that circulate in the bloodstream and control things like blood pressure, the making of red blood cells, and the uptake of calcium from the intestine.
Acupuncture has traditionally been used to help augment organ function by dredging channels and smoothing the Qi, or energy, in the body. When used to stimulate the kidney channels and bladder channels, acupuncture can boost general kidney function by helping the kidneys eliminate more waste products and work more efficiently.
Acupuncture can also combat certain symptoms of kidney problems. Kidney bacterial infections, kidney stones, or kidney cysts can cause back pain, a weakened immune system, fever, and high blood pressure, among other complications. Acupuncture can help by reducing muscle stiffness and inflammation, relieving pain, and stimulating blood circulation and blood volume flow into the kidneys.
With cases of serious kidney disease and renal disease, acupuncture treatment cannot reverse or cure the condition. However, it may be able to ease symptoms like pain, nausea, swelling, and urination problems, thus helping with a patient’s quality of life. Acupuncture can also be combined with western medication treatment and may even help alleviate medication side effects.
With any kidney-related health problem, it is important to learn as much as you can about your specific situation and schedule a clinical assessment to understand all aspects of your symptoms. If you’re interested in acupuncture for kidney problems, schedule an appointment with Acupuncture Associates to learn more about potential strategies that can support Western medical treatments.