According to the National Institutes of Health, chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects more than 1 in 7 U.S. adults (an estimated 37 million). And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 4.5 million adults have been diagnosed with liver disease. Those are some sobering statistics, but did you know that acupuncture has a proven track record of effectively dealing with kidney and liver disease?
The Role of the Liver in Overall Health
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver and its corresponding channel play a key role in the smooth flow of Qi (specific gasotransmitters like Carbon dioxide, Hydrogen sulfide, Oxygen, Nitrogen oxide: CO2, H2S, O2, NO), blood and emotions. Here’s how it can all go wrong. The liver can be easily impacted by stress and uncontrolled emotions. It also has a close connection with the gallbladder. For example, if a person is under additional stress, it is not uncommon for them to develop gallstones. This is a result of the channel becoming blocked and the emotions that come with the stress do not have an outlet.
Balancing Qi (altering the flow of certain gasotransmitters) is the best way to return proper energy flow. Regular acupuncture treatments can help to balance the body holistically without the side effects that come with pharmaceutical interventions.
Proper Kidney Function is Key
Chronic kidney disease can lead to other health issues as well, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Proper kidney function is vital to our health as the kidneys are responsible for removing excess fluid and waste from the body. Another important kidney function is the production of hormones that stimulate the creation of red blood cells and help regulate blood pressure. The kidneys also produce vitamin D, control the metabolism of calcium and eliminate drugs from your body.
The symptoms of kidney disease depend on the severity or stage of the disease. For those with early onset chronic kidney disease, there can be no symptoms at all. As the disease progresses, people might experience itchy skin, insomnia, an increased need to urinate, swelling of the feet, ankles, hands, poor appetite, nausea, fatigue, muscle cramps, or headaches.
Just like with the liver, if blood flow is hindered or Qi blocked, kidney problems can begin to happen. Acupuncture can increase blood flow to the kidneys and liver, as well as to all other organs, thus providing essential nutrients to the body that needs to function properly.
As mentioned previously with liver issues, stress can cause a great deal of havoc in the body. When stress and emotion issues are not properly dealt with, patients can suffer from depression and other emotional issues. Acupuncture can also help alleviate stress, again by balancing Qi (gasotransmitters), and helping the body to release endorphins which improve sleep, reduce fatigue, relieve pain, control blood pressure, and improve liver and kidney health.
Your acupuncturist will take a detailed health history and work with you to develop specific protocols to improve your kidney and liver function. Both of these issues can progress and symptoms can worsen so don’t put off your consultation. Make an appointment today to begin care.