The Key to Longevity: The Kidney Point
I know this article is long, but there’s just so much to share. Here’s just a slice of information on the Kidney point, which holds the key to longevity. It’s also a point that is very dear to my heart because it helped bring me closer to my Grandmother.
The reflexology point for the Kidney can help:
- Boost your energy levels
- Heal energetic imbalances in the kidneys
- Clear toxins from your body, it’s great for spring detoxing!
While this is an extraordinarily powerful point, what makes it special for me is that it helped to bridge the language and cultural divide between me and my Grandmother. We always had an awkward relationship because I could only speak Chinese at a 3-year old level and my grandmother couldn’t speak English at all. Our conversations went something like this:
Grandmother: “Would you like shrimp dumplings?”
Me: “Yes, I would like shrimp dumplings. Thank you.”
One day, my brother called to tell me that Grandmother was in critical condition at the hospital suffering from kidney failure. She had been diabetic for most of her life and her kidneys had finally succumbed to the stress of being overworked and had stopped functioning.
When I went to visit her, I brought my reflexology stick and asked my Aunt to be our translator. I explained how reflexology could balance the energy flow in her kidneys and I asked my Grandmother if she would like me to rub her feet. She agreed and I focused my attention to a handful of Chinese Reflexology points with extra emphasis on the Kidney points of her feet.
With acute kidney failure, my Grandmother’s reflexology points must have hurt like a bitch (excuse my language, but that’s the most appropriate description I can think of right now), yet she bore it with incredible grace. When it became too painful, she merely flicked her toe and I would know to ease up on the pressure.
At the time, I was still quite new to practicing Chinese Reflexology and I wasn’t sure if I had made a difference. However, I knew I was on the right path because I kept thinking, “I just handled 80-year old feet and instead of being grossed out, I feel happy.”
The next time I went to visit, my Grandmother requested that I rub her feet. I was elated, I must have helped somehow. And so, began a routine where each time I would visit, I would practice Chinese Reflexology on her.
About a week later, my Aunt confided to me that because of the kidney failure, my Grandmother had been unable to urinate. However, each time after the reflexology sessions, she was able to urinate easily on her own. It brought me great joy to hear this.
Unfortunately, because I couldn’t see her every day and I was not yet owning my brilliance as a teacher, the family decided that dialysis was the best option for my Grandmother. In my heart, I believe that if she had been able to get Chinese Reflexology sessions every day, she would have recovered. She spent her last years in a chronic care facility and it was sad to watch this once active women confined to a room for most of her day.
In the meantime, I had moved away from my family to take a high tech job in California. One night, I had this overpowering feeling that I needed to sleep. Normally, I’d stay up past midnight, but that evening, I went to bed at 10pm. While I slept, I had a dream where my Grandmother appeared and she thanked me.
In the morning, I was woken up by the phone ringing. It was my family calling to say that Grandmother had passed away in the night. Her time of death coincided with when I had the dream. My Aunt who believes in Chinese spirits remarked that Grandmother’s spirit had chosen to visit me and that’s why the Kidney reflexology point is special to me.
The Kidney Reflexology Point and Longevity
So, let’s talk about what the Kidney reflexology point has to do with living longer…
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidneys are considered the “Root of Life” and when Chinese Medicine refers to an organ, it’s not just the physical organs themselves, but the entire Kidney meridian or energy channel.
Tapping into my fondness for metaphors and analogies, think of your Kidney channel as the mega-bank for your life savings. In this case, your life savings are your life force or qi.
When you’re born, your parents make a deposit into your energy savings account based on how much energy they have to give. If your parents are healthy and full of life, you’ll get a bigger deposit than someone whose parents are sickly or lacking in spirit.
You also receive energy from what you eat and drink. Think of this as your petty cash. In order to live a long and healthy life, the most important thing you can do is to preserve the energy that you were born with as the petty cash ain’t going to pay the rent.
As you live your life, you either make deposits or withdrawals from your energy bank account. When you’re stressed, pushing yourself and living an unhealthy lifestyle, you are withdrawing from your main energy savings account because there simply isn’t enough stored in the petty cash to maintain your current lifestyle.
If you look after yourself, eat well, and sleep well, you minimize the size of the withdrawals you make. In Chinese Medicine, there are two camps on whether you can refill your core energy bank account. Some say you can and some say you can’t. I say that whatever you believe is your truth.
I believe that joyful living, love, meditation and opening your connection to the universe can not only replenish your energy bank account, but fill it to overflowing, like winning the lottery :).
When you balance the flow of energy in your Kidney channel, you open yourself up to receive the unlimited energy of the universe. If that’s too much for you to believe, at the very least, you eliminate all those pesky service charges that banks tend to hit you with.
A Western Perspective
I know when I first started studying Chinese Medicine, it seemed really strange to me that my kidneys were critical to my life force. Didn’t they just filter blood and excrete waste through the urine? What did that have to do with life force?
When I started learning Anatomy and Physiology, it suddenly all made perfect sense. Kidneys produce the hormone, Erythropoietin (EPO) which stimulates the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.
When I pondered this, I realized that in essence, even from a Western perspective the kidneys are the root of life. Here was my thought process:
- What is the one thing that your body can not live without? Oxygen
- And what transports oxygen throughout your body? Red blood cells
- And what does your body need oxygen for at the cellular level? Respiration
- And respiration is the release of energy
- And energy is the root of life. Pretty cool, huh?
The Kidney Reflexology Point
Chinese Reflexology is amazingly powerful, but it can’t work miracles in getting someone to eat well or make healthy choices in life. It can however, direct energy to the kidneys as well as ensure a smooth flow of energy in the Kidney meridian.
The Kidney point is a rectangular shaped area located on the soles of both of your feet. The left sole is for your left kidney and the right sole is for the right kidney.
To locate the Kidney point in Chinese Reflexology, you’ll need to imagine a line dividing your foot in half horizontally. Measure from the tip of your big toe to the base of your heel and note the halfway point on the soul of your left foot.
Next, you’ll imagine a second line dividing your foot in half vertically. The crossing of these two line creates four quadrants. On your left foot, the top left quadrant is what you’ll use to locate your Kidney point.
Imagine another horizontal line drawn on the bottom of the ball of your foot. The Kidney point is located below this line and above the halfway horizontal line.
The point is approximately the width of your thumb. Place your thumb on the vertical line, with two thirds of the thumb in the top left quadrant and one third in the top right quadrant of your left sole. Congratulations, you’ve found your Kidney reflexology point.
IMPORTANT: This point is located quite close to the acupuncture point, Kidney 1 Yongquan (English translation: Gushing Spring). Kidney 1 is one of the acupuncture points used to induce labour in a pregnant woman who is past her due date. Thus, do not massage this point if you are pregnant.
Massaging the Kidney Point
As with all the reflexology points in this system of Chinese Reflexology, you can use your fingers, thumbs or knuckles to massage the reflex areas on your feet. For the Kidney point, you can press in with your thumb and massage in small circles. Alternately, you can use your knuckles to rub in an up and down motion. If you’re just starting out with reflexology, I would recommend massaging this point for 30 seconds once a day.
Because of our modern lifestyles (too much sitting, too much stress, too much junky food, etc.), most people have sensitive Kidney points. The only person I ever encountered that didn’t feel a thing no matter how hard I pressed with the reflexology stick was a 20-year old vegan student. Not only was he young and living a stress-free life, he also ran barefoot regularly. Barefoot running on rocky trails is like a reflexology session on the soles of your feet.
For the rest of us, this point is going to hurt like a bitch, so don’t feel bad if this point is sore. And if you don’t feel anything, it’s likely that you’re not pressing with enough concentrated force in the right spot. Fingers, thumbs and knuckles are broad surfaces and it’s hard to get enough leverage to press deeply to find the extra-sensitive spots.
In order to experience the full benefits of balancing the energy flow in your kidneys, you really need to massage this point with a reflexology stick. The stick allows you to press much harder with much less effort so that you can feel for small granules of uric acid that have formed in the feet.
This is a little too advanced for me to cover in an online article, but I am currently creating a distance learning course so that I can show students exactly how to massage the point and offer tweaks and corrections if neccessary.
Even if you are just using your fingers, thumbs or knuckles to massage this point, it’s a great way to begin balancing the flow of energy in the Kidneys. Plus, if you do take my distance learning class, (when I finally find the time to create the videos for it), you’ll have cleared some of the energy congestion and your feet won’t hurt as much when you try a reflexology stick!
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