Winter and your Kidneys
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, health is achieved by living in balance with nature and the seasons. Winter, the season of the Water Element, is the season for slowing down, reflecting, and conserving our resources. We all feel this tendency, but we don’t always listen to our bodies. In Western culture, being active is rewarded and expected. We feel compelled to keep up the hectic pace that is typical in our daily lives.
This season is associated with the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands and the time of year when these organs are most active, accessible, and even vulnerable. They are more receptive to being restored, nurtured, and energized. At the same time, it is also when they can become easily depleted.
According to Chinese medicine, our kidneys receive a specific amount of energy at the time of our conception that will carry each of us through our lives, called Jing Qi. Imagine for a minute that our kidneys are like batteries. Batteries that have come from the shop with a limited amount of charge. These unfortunately are not the rechargeable types of batteries. Jing Qi is the energy stored in our kidney batteries. Our body and mind pull from this reserve in times of change, healing, and stress. Every action we take draws on this power supply.
Some people can easily deplete their Jing Qi due to poor lifestyle choices and extreme stress. Others preserve it by nurturing it with the right foods and behaviors. Jing Qi is finite. The more we use it, the less we will have for necessary body functioning. Every day our kidneys filter blood and other body fluids, remove toxins from the liver, and our bladder collects, processes and excretes these liquids through the urine.
There are ways we can preserve our Jing Qi. In addition to Jing Qi, we operate on renewable sources of energy. The spleen makes Qi (vital life force) for us out of the food we eat, and the lungs bring us Qi from the air. We will have less need to draw on our Jing Qi and be healthier and more energetic as we eat, rest and breathe better and do Qi Gong to replenish our renewable sources of energy.
Keep in mind, stimulants such as caffeine deplete the kidneys, and rob us of our ability to know how we really feel. If our body is in need of rest and sleep, caffeine consumption will make us unaware of this fact, thus causing us to ignore our body’s needs. This can then contribute to the unnecessary depletion of our Jing Qi.
In order to maintain and cultivate health, it is important to nurture and nourish our kidney energy. Now is the perfect time to recharge your internal kidney batteries. Acupuncture, yoga, Tai Chi, quiet reflection, meditation, simple walks, and herbs are wonderful ways to recharge and energize!
Tune into Health
Remember the days of rabbit ear antennas on your television sets? If you were lucky enough to find the exact seating position in your living room to optimize your body’s own magnetic field and the tilt of the earth’s axis, these beauties could tune in your favorite show with the crystal clarity of a thick San Francisco fog. If - heaven forbid - you wanted to tune to another channel, this required a coordinated, two-handed effort of spinning and rotating the antennas, the likes of which would rival even the most skilled of Olympic fencers.
The point here is that no matter what show you wanted to watch, you could pick it up on your set, but only if the antenna was functioning properly and only if it was aligned in the right position. The signal was always in the air, but whether or not your show came in clearly depended upon the antenna’s ability to transfer the signal to your TV set.
For those of you struggling with your health, keep in mind that you always have the potential for improvement. Your body was created by an intelligence that is unerring, infallible, and always on the job, and this intelligence is expressed through the body’s energetic meridian system.
Research shows that acupuncture can help with many more health problems other than just for pain and aches. The problem is usually not with the meridian system itself, but rather with the transmission of energy through the body. Just like the old VHF signals being broadcast over the air, the energy is always present; the signal is always there. Remaining healthy is a matter of transferring that signal as efficiently as possible to all parts of your body, and in this case your meridian system functions as the antenna. The farther out of balance your system becomes, the weaker the signal gets. Bringing the meridians back into its proper balance allows for the signal to broadcast at full strength.
Imbalances choke off vital energy traveling throughout the body, but instead of a fuzzy picture, you get sciatic pain, headaches, asthma, fatigue, numbness, digestive disorders, allergies, chronic sickness, etc.
Acupuncture works by supporting and balancing the “signals” being broadcast by your body and laying the ground for optimum expression of health. Clearing the meridian system of imbalances allows the free flow of energy to every cell, organ, nerve, and tissue, resulting in crystal clear, HD reception and picture-perfect health. If you have been feeling under the weather, exhausted, tired or just plain worn down, it may be time for you to come in for a tune-up.
3 Indicators You Need a Tune-Up
Here is a list of three signs indicating that you should immediately come in for an acupuncture tune-up. Both your body and mind will thank you for getting tuned up as soon as possible.
Yes, its true! Medicare parts B and C now include Acupuncture coverage. Hooray!
Unfortunately, the benefit is a wee bit complicated. I wanted to write a little post about the basics today because I've had several patients whom I've had to turn away because they've been referred incorrectly. Since this is a new benefit we're all learning - LAc's and doctors alike - and hopefully this small missive will help avoid some confusion for all!
First off - Medicare Acupuncture benefit only covers Chronic Low Back Pain as defined by Medicare. Basically, this is low back pain that:
Second - Medicare Part B ONLY covers Acupuncture when performed by an MD or other western medical provider in said MD or medical providers office. This means the doctor can perform the Acupuncture or an LAc in the doctor's office can perform the Acupuncture while being supervised by the doctor.
Now, if you have a Medicare Part C plan, commonly called Medicare Advantage or Medicare Complete, you CAN see a Licensed Acupuncturist (like me!) independently. Said Acupuncturist has to be contracted with the insurer who administers your Medicare Part C benefits, however, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser, Health Net etc.
Third - the benefit covers 12 visits in 90 days. You cannot get more time or any kind of extension on those initial 12 visits. After that, if you want more, the provider can request additional visits - usually 8-12 - by engaging in an irritating bureaucratic paperwork process that takes an indeterminate period of time.
So, like I said, Medicare covers Acupuncture, yay!!! But... its a little confusing. If you keep this post handy, however, you shouldn't be led astray. If you have questions please don't hesitate to reach out anytime, I'd love to be of service!
Yours in health and gratitude,
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.