by Katie Borchert, Naturopath, LAc
The Taoist philosophy of yin-yang balance is the root for health, and the imbalance in these opposing forces is illness.
Last month, we covered how organ structures and bodily fluids are yin in nature. Yang then refers to the movement and function of the organs and systems. Yang is the beating of the heart, warming and oxygenating the blood, digestive peristalsis, the restriction of the urethra, which provides control over bladder function. It is the movement of the ova through the fallopian tube and the spermatozoon through the vas deferns.
The kidney organ system, including the urinary bladder, adrenal glands, reproductive organs and the lumbar spine, is the fundamental root of all yin and yang. Deficiency of yang is seen in chronic illness, after surgery, exposure to cold conditions, excessive lifting or standing, and constitutionally.
Of course there are herbal and lifestyle remedies that can be used in these severe conditions to bring function and strength back to the organ systems.
General yang deficiency looks and feels cold and frail. People are pale, with poor appetite, loose stool with undigested food, and a variety of urogenital issues that fit the signs and symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), chronic glomerulitis, interstitial nephritis, hypothyroidism, or chronic prostatitis. These include frequent day and nighttime urination, difficulty expelling, and often large volume in yang deficiency.
There are other kidney-related imbalances like impotence, infertility and spermatorrhea. This is often due to systemic and sexual exhaustion.
It is important to use warming medicinals for this deficiency. One of my favorite treatments for yang deficiency is the use of mugwort (Artemisia argyi) with a different application: moxibustion. This is one of the most tonifying tools and also easily warms the kidneys, reproductive organs, spleen and stomach.
There are a variety of moxa tools burned and placed over the tonifying acupoints. Moxa greatly increases the qi energy of the body to stimulate the glands, organs, nerves and circulation of blood. Often, I am impressed by the improvements in vitality one moxa session can provide.