Meridian Stretches for Water Element: Kidney and Urinary Bladder Meridians

Winter has arrived a month earlier than usual. It is now time to strengthen our ‘water element’ for the winter months. The water element in Five element Chinese Medicine Theory consists of the Kidneys, the Urinary Bladder, and their associated meridian channels.

The Kidney meridian consists of 27 major acupressure points starting at the soles of our feet and finishing just below the clavicle bone on our chests. The Urinary Bladder meridian channel starts between the eyes and finishes on the side of the little toes. With 67 acupressure points in total, the Urinary Bladder meridian is the longest.

A well balanced water element requires a good flow of Qi (energy), and blood circulation in the meridians just mentioned, and has an impact on ones emotional and physical wellbeing. When the water element is out of balance, a person may feel depressed, fearful, insecure, and lacking in confidence. In contrast, a person with a balanced water element is likely to display courage and determination. Physical effects of imbalance include insomnia, trembling, lower back pain, frequent urination, thinning of the head hair, hearing loss, ankle and wrist pain, and feeling cold all the time.

Foods that are good for the water element are sea vegetables, sea weed, fish, oysters, mussels, tuna, pork, boiled eggs,  black sesame, eggplant, sweet potato, celery, cucumber, lettuce, adzuki beans, red kidney beans,  lentils, apple, banana, grapes, raspberries, chestnut, pistachio, and walnuts.

Exercises that can help to strengthen the water element are swimming, walking, Tai Chi, Qi Kong, meridian stretches and meditation.

Shiatsu massage and oriental therapies such as moxa and sliding style cupping can also help strengthen the water element, restoring balance and activating the body’s self healing power.

The first two photos demonstrate Urinary Bladder Meridian Stretches, and the last two photos show Kidney Meridian Stretches.

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Sit flat on the floor, with your toes pointing up, take a deep breathe and breath-out as you stretch your arms towards your toes with your thumbs pointing down. Reach as far forward as you can, hold in that position and breathe naturally to feel the stretches under your legs. Remember not to push beyond your own limitation.

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Stretch your right arm forward and retract the left leg by moving your left heel inward. Repeat the same on the other side. Breathe naturally to feel the stretches in your inner thighs. Remember not to push beyond your own limitation.