Although we had record warm temperatures last week in the UK, the cold weather still hasn’t finished and in this blog I want to talk about a particular problem I see during the cold Winter months: Low Kidney Energy
It is something I suffer from and I also see it a lot in clients this time of year.
What is Kidney Energy?
The traditional medicines of most cultures talk about vital energy flowing around the body. In Chinese medicine for example it is called Chi, in Ayurveda medicine it is called Prana. A healthy body has a good energy flow through all the major organs and systems with no major dips or low points. When I examine a client, I am able to feel this flow of energy and detect imbalances. And it is in the kidneys where during the colder months, I frequently feel a dip or low energy in both myself and in my clients.
So why do we get Low Kidney Energy?
Firstly, Kidney Energy does deplete as we get older but lifestyle factors play an important part. Stress, Overwork, Chronic illness can all be contributing factors. But Low Kidney Energy can be caused by something as simple as not drinking enough water.
Believe it or not the seasons also impact on our body’s flow and especially the cold weather on our kidney energy.
What are the Symptoms of Low Kidney Energy?
Personally, one of the signs that things are not working properly, is feeling cold right through me. People with Low Kidney Energy generally hate the Winter and really feel the cold nearly all the time, even inside with the heating on. In particular, feeling cold in the lower half of your body, lower back, knees, ankles. Low Kidney Energy can lead to low back pain and pains in the legs.
I know you will probably say, “But it’s Winter, of course you are cold” however, there is cold and there is cold all the time. If you suffer from this then you will know what I mean. It’s the cold right through to the bones cold. Cold through to the core of your body. You might have experienced this type of cold when you had flu or have been over exhausted and felt as though you had a chill.
If you feel like this then maybe you need to think about your Kidney Energy.
When my Kidney energy is good, I might be cold on my extremities, but I don’t feel cold in my core.
The next thing that I might feel is thirsty. Dehydration is a major cause of Low Kidney Energy and during Winter we tend not to drink as much as we would in the warmer months.
I do make a point of drinking water. I find if I don’t drink enough I become dehydrated. This results in my body becoming too acidic and then other problems arise. Normally, the kidneys filter out various salts and minerals and regulates your body’s PH. However, dehydration puts a lot of pressure on the Kidneys and the bladder.
When my Kidney Energy gets low I also get the ache. It is a very deep dull ache in the right side of my back just under the ribcage. Then I know that my poor old kidneys have had enough, are overworked and are low on Energy. That is just my experience, however I do have people complaining of back ache in these areas as well.
Other physical symptoms clients experience include:
Poor bladder control, or frequent urination (often a sign of overworked kidneys and dehydration).
Puffiness and Water Retention, especially around the ankles and feet.
Craving salty foods
Dry weak hair
Moaning, Complaining, Fear.
How to Improve Your Kidney Energy
There are a number of things you can do to increase kidney energy.
The first thing to do is look at your lifestyle:
- Are you burning the candle at both ends?
- Too many late nights, lack of or even too much exercise?
- Eating on the run / doing everything on the run?
All of these factors can weaken kidney energy if endured for too long. So rest and relaxation of body and mind is crucial to help strengthen the kidneys.
Keep your Kidney area warm
As part of this I would highly recommend a regular warm Salt bath during the Winter months. Not only is this fantastic for destressing and relaxing, Salt is also the flavour we crave when we have Low Kidney Energy. Dead Sea Salts or Himalayan Salts are highly beneficial. They contain numerous minerals including Potassium and Magnesium which are very often deficient in today’s diet. Magnesium is natures tranquilliser and Potassium helps regulate the fluid balance in the body. Not only will you feel restored and regenerated after one of these baths, you will also feel relaxed.
Two products I recommend are Primordial Sea Bath Salts
Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts These go out of stock a lot because they are so good if a bit expensive. If you can afford them they are definitely worth it.
Next, Keep Hydrated.
Preferably warm or room temperature water in the winter. The digestive system doesn’t sit well when we drink ice cold water. I like to drink Lemon juice in warm water. Citrate, a component of the citric acid in Lemon juice actually makes urine less acidic.
Nettle Tea is also a wonderful Winter drink for the Kidneys. It stimulates them and helps flush excess water and toxins from the body. This is what I drink.
Nourish yourself in the Winter
Try not to eat raw food in the Winter especially if you have weak digestion. During the cold months try not to put too much pressure on your digestive system. You can lightly steam or stir fry vegetables, this will make the food easier to digest. I try to eat seasonally and that means root vegetables in winter. Roasting root vegetables is delicious and there are numerous recipes for soups. Here is one I make regularly.
Parsnip and Split Mung Bean Soup
This soup is also very nice using different vegetables such as broccoli, peas or even courgette
1/3 of a cup or yellow split mung beans
3 cups of water
1 bay leaf
4 large parsnips peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of ghee (or any oil you wish)
1 peeled and onion chopped
½ teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of cumin powder
2 teaspoons of vata spice
1 litre of hot vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the split mung beans in a small saucepan with the water and bay leaf and simmer on a low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes until the mung is soft.
Meanwhile, steam the parsnips (or other veg) until soft and keep to one side.
Heat the ghee in a large saucepan and fry the onion on a low heat until golden brown.
When the onions are ready, add the turmeric, cumin and vata spice and fry for another minute.
When everything is ready, add the steamed vegetables and mung beans to the onion and spice mix in the large saucepan. Give it a mix and add half of the vegetable stock to it.
Liquidise/blend this mixture and add the rest of the stock to it or as much as you want to achieve the consistency you would like.
Season with salt and pepper.
These are some suggestions I give my clients based on what works for me and also for other clients when they come for a healing session.
Keep warm everyone, I don’t think the winter has finished yet.