This episode focuses on Kidney, the Yin meridian of the Water Element and the filtrator of our bodily fluids. We talk about restorative postures you can do in the late afternoon, what to eat to tonify your energy, how the 7 year cycle impacts the body, and how fear and trauma relate to the Kidney’s role. (The conversation was recorded last winter, so there are no mentions of the pandemic or civil uprisings.)
Music by Purple Fluorite (Bandcamp // or all the streaming platforms)
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Transcription by firstname.lastname@example.org
Billy & Raymond repeating:
Healing with Raymond & Billy.
Raymond: Welcome to Healing with Raymond & Billy! We’re having a check in about where we are in the life cycle and the five elements and the meridians and the podcast series, which is always good to check in and get the lay off the land. So welcome to episode 8, where we will be talking about the Kidney meridian. So last episode we talked about the Bladder and we started talking about the water element. The Bladder is the yang version of the water element, so we talked about how it starts at your eye and kinda goes over your head and basically covers your back. The Kidney is primarily – it starts down at the ball of your foot and then you kinda … so it’s right at the center point kind of, let’s say a little bit below the meaty point of your foot that we refer to as the ball of your foot. But Kidney one is a little bit – you kind of slide down into your arch a little bit, so it’s kind of at the bottom part of that meaty bit and sometimes it feels kind of a little sensitive. A lot of times in yoga classes they’ll talk about sort of grounding in and feeling that point like being in touch with the earth and the literal ground and getting your body kind of connected with it too. So that’s Kidney one. What’s that point called Billy Janes? It has that sort of good name. It’s like Hope Springs or something like that.
Raymond: Spring of Something
Billy: I just read it today.
Raymond: It’s wellness of something.
Raymond: We’ll come back around to that.
Billy: Wellness of something.
Raymond: One of us will look it up on the internet while the other one is talking and we’ll come back to that.
Raymond: And it comes up – so the meridian starts there and then it comes up the arch of your foot kind of behind your ankle and then it kind of comes up behind the back of your leg, but a little bit the center medial, the center part, the medial…
Billy: Gushing spring.
Raymond: So … Gushing Spring! Thank you.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: The gushing spring of your Kidney.
Raymond: So kind of coming up – so if the Bladder was coming down the back of your leg sort of more the center and the more outer part, the Kidney is kind of more the inner part. So going more towards the tender inner parts, the inside of your leg, which I think I might have talked about, we haven’t gotten to liver yet, but I feel like … Oh, I think I might have talked about it in the spleen episode. So if the spleen is the top of the inner part of the leg, then the Kidney’s the bottom inner part of your leg. So it comes up the inner part of your leg, into your groin and through the pelvis and then it kind of runs up the center of your body just a couple inches to the right and left of your sternum, so that sort of center zipper that comes up the middle of your body, you go a little bit to the side of it, your Kidney meridian goes all the way up and stops at the base of the collar bone. So I do a lot of Qigong with the Kidney. I haven’t actually talked about too many moves in the past couple episodes, but with Kidney I do a couple of things and I recommend my clients a lot. One is just whenever I’m needing any sort of invigorating energy, I like to do really loose, soft, floppy hands and do an alternating drumming beating. Oh I’m gonna do it on the microphone.
[Raymond Drums on Microphone]
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: So you don’t want to beat your low back. You want to have really soft like hands, so it’s almost like your flapping and flipping it around, doing sort of circular gestures and it’s sort of hitting that low back area that’s kind of right beneath your ribs and right above your hips and usually there’s probably a lot of tightness if your like most of us nowadays who have jobs where we end up sitting a lot or being in a car a long time, sometimes if you have low back stuff after being on car trips, things like that. So I like to do that – Speaking of car trips like if I am on a long road trip and you’re feeling like you need a little bit of energy, you can also do it in the middle of a work day, anything like that, it’s kind of just a good wake up. You can also do it first thing in the morning as a good way to wake up that whole area and get chi circulating in the body. Then the sort of other exercise I give a lot of my clients who maybe need more of a restorative pose for their Kidneys is a move where you are laying on the ground and you slide your butt all the way up against the wall and put your legs up on the wall. Now, if you can kind of keep your legs pretty straight up, that’s good, you don’t need to like lock your knees, but if you can do pretty straight up that’s fine. Usually the wall kind of helps, but for the most part you also want to be really comfortable, so if you need to kind of be shoulder width apart or widen them a little bit, that’s fine. Then, it’s just a really nice way where your legs are really supported but the gravity is just really- all the energy is just kind of doing the reverse of what it usually does. We stand on our legs all the time or even when we’re upright, even when we’re sitting, to be honest, gravity is still pulling blood down into our legs and fluids and things like that and then our heart does all the work to kind of pump it and send it back up into the body. So when you sit on the floor with your legs up, it kind of gives your heart a little bit of a break and it sends a little bit of energy down into your Kidneys. Sometimes if I get real relaxed and it’s a real comfortable space I can even kinda semi doze off and take a 15, 20 minute nap while I’m sitting up against the wall. I also think of it as the teenage girl on the phone pose like I feel like all the movies in the 80s and 90s.
Raymond: You know what I mean? They’d be talking on the phone and they’d be like laying on their bed sort of backwards and upside down.
Billy: Twirling the cord.
[Billy & Raymond Laugh]
Raymond: So I was like man, they knew.
Billy: So wise.
Raymond: They knew the best medicine.
[Billy & Raymond Laugh]
Raymond: So, I do a lot of work on the meridians in the shiatsu session but otherwise those are actually pieces of information that I give to my clients all the time too that are directly related to Kidneys. Billy Janes, will you talk a little bit about like what the Kidney function is as far as – I was thinking about describing Jing and essence, like that aspect of it.
Billy: Yeah. So I’m just gonna be really real with y’all and you can go on Wikipedia and –
[Billy & Raymond Laugh]
Billy: Wikipedia has an amazing breakdown of the whole thing. So if you don’t catch a lot of what we’re talking about right now, if you do go to Wikipedia Chinese (Chinese Medicine), it’ll talk about essentially the main Kidney functions and all of that and I think the big piece to remember kind of what the Kidneys are is just think of it as like the powerhouse for all of the systems in the body to work. If the Kidneys aren’t properly functioning according to our medicine, then you’re not going to have all of the other functions in the body happening. So the Kidneys they like represent like … the early formation of the embryo is really about the interaction between the Kidneys, one being yin and one being yang and the idea that when those two come together it sparks this fire between them they call it like the Gate of Vitality, the Gate of Life and that that fire is what heats up the rest of the system. The stuff that it’s heating up to kind of help grow the system as it develops into a full human and then to continue to give it what it needs to continue through life in like a very healthy way is essence and we get that essence from our ancestors. So the gate of life is really this philosophical idea that was a big part of taoism, but it also has these implications of our ancestors being behind us passing down their wishes and desires and so the Kidney also has this whole spirit of, or what we call shen in our medicine, of willpower, so fear because the waters are so dark, the ancestors go back so far. It’s, you know, life is a mystery as Madonna said.
Raymond: I was about to say, but then I don’t want to have our podcast pulled for copyright violation.
Billy: I think if it’s under 15 seconds, it should be okay.
Raymond: Universal Music Group is listening everywhere.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Billy: Right, the music does not belong to you.
Raymond: Oh my goodness.
Raymond: Thank you for that. In Chinese medicine if someone is born with whatever congenital issue or, you know, condition, so basically any condition that you’re sort of born with, a lot of times it’s just like the Kidneys are sort of … I was about to say implicated like “They’re responsible and on trial!”, but the Kidneys are sort of often the framework where they talk about Like the imbalance or that sort of pattern is related to Kidney, because it is that sort of genetic material is the western way of sort of talking about it. I was thinking about last week, we mentioned the shu points and the the Bladder and how there’s points near the spine, along the spine, on the Bladder channel that are kind of connected to all the other different meridians and that reminded me of a book that I may have mentioned like way back in episode one, but it’s called the Spark In the Machine and I forgot the name of the author but there’s only one so if you Google it. It’s an ER doctor who got interested in Chinese medicine and chi and acupuncture and really was studying it and epigenetics is this whole field about how does an embryo develop, like how do we go from those two cells to four cells to this really complicated system with all these different meridians and channels and functions that we’ve been talking about it all these episodes or that the western body talks about. And that book really talks about how that map and if you look at what they’ve been learning about how the spine grows and how the systems grow into points in the body along the spine that they all Branch out from, its really amazing how the map really overlaps with all these points have we’ve been talking about that we use in shiatsu and in Chinese medicine and things like that. So I love that. I love those moments where the Western map of the body and the Eastern map of the body really overlap to show that it’s the same body, that we’re just sort of approaching it from a different way of looking at the systems, but it doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily describing different systems. Though, the Western what we conceive of, like the Western definition of the Kidneys is also what I want to talk about is they are these organs that sit where I talked about before, so right below the ribs and kind of right close to the spine and there’s one on each side and they’re pretty amazing filtration systems. I remember my anatomy and physiology class in shiatsu school when we were talking about the Kidney and they were talking about how it filters between like a 180- like almost 200 quarts or liters of fluid are filtered by the Kidneys, it’s mostly blood that’s coming through. I remember there was a moment where we were all like “200 quarts? But we don’t have 200 quarts of blood in our body!” and somebody had to be like “Yeah, it’s getting filtered constantly.”
Raymond: Like it’s not like it takes all day to like whatever. But that is also kind of amazing. I know, it’s kind of a funny moment where we’re all like duh. But it still was also amazing to be like “Dang, our bodies are constantly filtering fluid all day long.” and when you kind of crunch the math it’s almost basically like all the fluids of your body pass through the Kidneys approximately every 30 minutes and so that was really interesting to me it was like every 25-30 minutes and I feel like that’s a period of time that comes up a lot when it comes to acupuncture sessions or meditation sessions or guided meditations. I feel like that’s a window and even my shiatsu sessions are generally either and hour or 90 minutes and I think it’s good to have like the full session, so you get like 2 cycles of the fluids of the body have circulated through the Kidneys in the time that I’m doing my work, which is an interesting way to think about …
Billy: Yeah that’s cool.
Raymond: you know, working with fluids of the body, yeah.
Billy: And that’s really what Kidneys are about. They deal a lot with water metabolism, because, you know, we’re dealing with the water element here from our medicine standpoint and so, like we talked about last week, with the urinary Bladder how things get separated out like the clear fluids and the turbid fluids. The clear ones get redistributed in the body through what we call this energetic system called the Triple Burner or the San Jiao. It like redistributes the fluids so that they’re not accumulating somewhere and if it’s turbid, or dirty water, it gets sent out through the Bladder.
Raymond: Yeah. That separating that we were talking about with the small intestine too.
Raymond: All the different ways that organs might have similar functions, but at different points of the channel of energy creation and filtering and all that stuff. I was also thinking about, when we were talking about urinary Bladder, it kind of popped into my head, but I didn’t say it, Then it just popped into my head again while you were talking, is I was thinking about that phrase, we were talking about water, and there’s that phrase “Blood is thicker than water.”, which a lot of times people use that phrase to sort of mean like family is more important than non family or friends or whatever the fuck they’re trying to say.
Raymond: But that the full version of that saying is actually “The blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb.” and the blood of the covenant is actually about spiritual community and a spiritual promise and sort of a religious term, like people who are a part of the same spiritual group or the same ritual or religious group sort of have the blood of the covenant of that sort of bonding. So it’s basically saying those bonds are actually stronger than the water of the womb, which is to say your biological siblings, you have the same womb water.
Billy: Oh, interesting.
Raymond: So, yeah. The phrase actually means the exact opposite of how it often gets thrown around and to me, it feels more true.
Raymond: You know? Like I feel like there’s so much cultural messaging about family being the most important thing ever.
Raymond: And that always felt like both true and bad.
Raymond: I mean sort of, yeah, but also there’s a lot of exceptions.
Raymond: So I think sometimes even the people that are your biological family, you have to make that decision like are we all going to be the blood of the covenant like connected.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: Like you have to sort of realize are we going to commit to being in a relationship with each other and follow through on that? Not all families do.
Raymond: And some families like to think that they’re doing it, but they’re not, they might actually be doing harmful patterns of behavior to each other, but because they’re holding up this ideal of like “But it’s family, it’s family. I’m doing it for family.”, like that somehow makes it noble and makes it right. But just because you have a noble cause, you could still be acting in really harmful ways. So I think it can just sort of cloud people’s ability to kind of step back from a situation and see like what’s really healthy dynamics within that.
Billy: And that’s where that cloudy kind of water you just piss it right on out the urinary Bladder.
Raymond: That’s right.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: Let it go.
Billy: I really liked that whole saying. I love that you explained it like that, because I just felt so much like blood is thicker when it coagulates and like gives me, you know, pain.
Billy: But I think that that makes a lot more sense to me and I think also that’s very much about what we’re talking about with the Kidneys here is that, you know, this whole hereditary aspect. In epigenetics they talk about our trauma being passed down generationally and I, as an African-American person with the history of slavery being passed down throuh my generation, there’s things that I experience fears and memories and who knows what that come from who knows where, somewhere down from ancestry line and these are things that we are working with to also heal and I also love the idea that things that we also heal get passed down.
Raymond: Right, right and sort of turn the tide for the next generations that come after us for sure. I think I, what was I watching recently? That quoted that it takes seven generations to really heal and putting certain traumas in the context of … and we are not seven generations away from slavery FYI, if you do the math.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: I mean like I know people, I have a friend, he’s an older gentleman, but his grandmother was born a slave, it was not that long ago, you know what I mean.
Raymond: So we’re not seven generations yet.
Billy: We’re not.
Raymond: No, we’re not at all. So the Kidney has- we were talking about how it does all the water filtering and it has so many, because it filters all the fluids in the body, it’s definitely one of those really critical organs and it has a really strong connection to the heart, there’s a really strong heart-Kidney connection and in a lot of the work that we do as well as far as how those function together and how they interrelate. So a lot of times, because a lot of my work with myself and my other clients is very trauma focused and PTSD focused and in East Asian medicine, like I don’t do a real strict diagnosis because I feel like that’s a little bit outside of my … like I would never say to a client like “You have liver stagnation.”, but I might think it and it might inform my treatment, but I don’t usually say that to them, that’s not part of my services. I do not offer those diagnostic services. But I do think about … so I don’t necessarily talk about this with my clients per se, but it does sort of inform the different types of treatment. So sometimes someone might come in and a lot of more the symptoms or the healing that we’re doing around their PTSD might have more to do around liver function or even like lung and large intestine, if there’s a grief element. But I almost always include some heart Kidney work just because that is a lot of the dynamic and some of it is related to the water element is, we’ve talked about in other episodes, the different emotions that are associated with each meridian and water is about fear, but also fright. So that’s sort of differentiated into two different things. Fear is kind of more of a psychological concern or low grade chronic sort of worry, I guess would be a different way of sort of putting it and then fright is more like that sort of shock whether you’ve sort of been startled by something or you’ve gotten some really bad news, any of that. So there’s the fright aspect and the fear aspect. And the Kidneys sort of have the adrenal, that sort of function mixed in with them too, because the – what is it? Oh it’s the adrenals, sorry, the adrenal glands.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: I read something once that part of why as we age, it takes us longer to think of things is because we literally have so many things in our brain, it just takes a little bit longer to like get into that filing cabinet. So I’m always imagining some poor person like running down a hall of filing cabinets.
Raymond: Like “I’m almost there! I’m almost there! I almost got it!”. So, anyway, when we talk about the Kidney meridian a lot of times there’s a lot of overlap with adrenal fatigue or adrenal issues that might come up especially from people who have anxiety, anxiety disorder, PTSD, and things like that. So doing Kidney boosting type stuff, harmonizing the relationship between the heart and Kidney as well.
Billy: Yeah. That’s something that I use a lot for, like if someone has what we might call depression, but it’s kind of like they’re having a lot of vivid dreams and they’re also maybe having like a sensation in their chest like of heat or something just feels kind of like it’s churning, mixed in with a little bit of fear or fright or maybe a lot, that’s definitely for me, one of those signs of the Kidney and the heart that there might be this kind of deep water that is not allowing the fire of the heart to feel balanced and so there’s a disconnect there. So Kidney points can be really calming, really like we say that it calms the spirit and so a lot of times with patients who are having something like that and they’re like “I just really need to be grounded.”, I will just pop a needle right at the bottom of their foot in that gushing spring.
Raymond: Gushing spring!
Billy: And it just cools them down. It cools down some of that heart churning sensation in the chest. It pulls that energy, like grounding like you were talking about before, they do with yoga and it just whoosh. Then pop in a few other points for the heart to like get everything to connect, but that’s definitely something that, you know, as a normal person –
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Billy: As a non practitioner of our medicine, something that you can give to people within your community, is to find that point on the bottom of their foot, Kidney one, if you google it you’ll find the point, and just pushing your fingers in there and pressing it or even, my favorite is Kidney nine. I find Kidney nine super relaxing. Whenever I get like a massage, shiatsu, they at the same time hold down Kidney nine on both sides of my legs and …
Raymond: Where’s Kidney nine? Describe Kidney nine for the audience.
Billy: Kidney nine. I’m gonna have them google everything.
Billy: Okay, so to make it less confusing, I want you to know that it’s about six fingers, six finger widths from your ankle bone on the inside of your leg and what you’re going to do is you’re going to just push around in there until you find a spot that feels like its bruised.
Raymond: Oh going up towards your knee, right?
Billy: Yeah, up towards your knee on the inside of your leg.
Raymond: Okay. Gotcha, alright.
Billy: Because I think if you go down towards your foot, you’ll be off of your body.
Raymond: I know, because for a second I thought, I was like “Oh is it that point between the ankle bone and the heel or by the achilles tendon.” and so then when I realized I was like “Oh, you’re going in a different direction.”. So it’s further. It’s almost like kind of at the bottom of where your calf starts a little bit.
Billy: It’s like essentially the attachment of the medial gastroc. So what you’ll do is if you just push around in that area, another way you can view it as is if you go halfway down your leg and then go down a little bit, like a thumb width down and just kind of push in the area, you’ll find a spot that feels like bruised maybe or something like that.
Billy: Kind of tender, you just hold that on both sides or you find that for a friend that needs some TLC and it’s amazing. I use that point for anxiety a lot, in addition to Kidney one, it’s a good one.
Raymond: I think I kind of use that when I do hip rotations, but they’re not invasive hip rotations, so I’m basically using kind of the ankle and calf and then I’m kind of like pushing. So when someone’s lying face up on the table and I kind of shake their legs out so they’re really loose, so then it’s like I pull one leg towards me so that stretches it, but then I’ll kind of like rotate it and push it in, so it’s like you’re pushing the femur into the hip and then kind of twist and then pull it down. So you end up getting the same rotation as if, when I learned in school I would sort of bend their knee and bring their knee up to their stomach and then rotate the knee around and that kind of gives a nice hip rotation and it is, but it can also be a little intense, because it’s intense to have someone rotate your limbs, especially in a really sensitive place like your hips. It can be, even as a practitioner, sometimes it takes awhile to like figure out the weight balance of that particular client’s leg, so that you can get a nice smooth circle around, like it’s a great move, but I feel like it takes a lot of finessing and practice and when I moved to the table, I figured out that this way was a really wonderful way to open up those hips, but I’m down like at that person’s feet, like I’m down below their knee. So they don’t also have to contend with like my energy all up on them while I’m also trying to open their hip.
Raymond: So it’s kind of been a nice- it was like an adaptation I kind of learned. I was applying to certain clients and then it worked so well, I just started doing it for everyone. So a lot of the work, you know, we’re talking about the Kidneys being kind of right above the back of the hips like there’s just so much stuff that’s kind of happening in that area, you know, that’s a lot of going back to what we were talking about the mingmen fires being housed back there.
Raymond: Also was reminding me about, I have this piece of equipment that I use that is kind of this funny word it’s this beautiful knit hara warmer that my lovely wife made for me as like a custom job and so she knit it, so it was kind of, it kind of looks like a big thick infinity scarf, except it’s really custom to my body. So I stretch it down and then it ends up basically being a belly warmer. It’s hara warmer.
Raymond: So it’s probably about like 8 or 9 inches long, so it really goes from like my hip bone almost up to my wrist and it’s really nice, because I am someone when I first went to shiatsu school and started working, I immediately became this ridiculous, sweaty mess, which was funny because we weren’t- shiatsu, obviously you’re working your body, but it’s not like we were doing aerobic stuff, you know what I mean? No matter what we were doing, we could be doing really still type material, but I would always just like *phew*. It was kind of about it was just about my body and chi.
Raymond: And really learning about how much chi I was generating and how much chi I was amplifying and all this stuff and my own bodies and balances. So when I kind of had this idea about wanting a hara warmer and then I got it made and started wearing it, what’s interesting is that I actually start to sweat less on the top of my head. So what was happening is that I was doing a lot of work- I was doing this work, doing shiatsu stuff and I think that my mingmen were kind of kicked up, but they also were having to work harder, because it was cold back there, like my low back was cold. So the thermostat had to kick on like twice as hard.
Raymond: And so that meant that like, you know how those houses where like sunrooms get really hot and then others are really cold? Like that can kind of happen in your body and those mingmen fires and those Kidney fires that are back there that water fire balance that they kind of worked with, and you were kind of talking about the thermostat with the triple heater, is all sort of connected. So if you’re someone who has like circulation stuff like cold hands or like I was having the hot stuff, it could sometimes be about what’s happening in your core and is your core warm enough? Is it too hot? Things like that or whatever.
Raymond: But sometimes when I see people and their shirts are riding up and I see their low back, I always feel like “Your Kidneys, no!”
Billy: Oh my god.
Raymond: I like want to put my hands and protect them. I don’t. That would be creepy. But like, you know what I mean? Like I have a different response to it. It’s kind of like, you know, I always joke too like people go to acupuncture school and they come out and they wear scarves all the time.
Raymond: Because we learn about those back of the neck points, but I feel like I came away with also like protecting the back of your neck and also protect the back of your low back as well.
Billy: It’s so interesting too, because a lot of times we use Kidney points for hot flashes. So like, you know, because Kidney also has to do not only with those different things that we just talked about with like in terms of water distribution, but it also has to deal with- ugh, I like lost my train of thought. That’s probably, because I have some Kidney issues.
Billy: Because Kidney also impacts the brain.
Billy: It has to do with marrow, with your bones. But it also has to do with what they consider the brain is also part of marrow, because it goes up the spine and then the brain is apart of that.
Raymond: Oh, interesting.
Billy: So things like memory.
Raymond: That also kind of makes sense like texturally speaking.
Raymond: I guess this is kind of a weird thing to say, but a lot of, I feel like, the way we talk about fluids in the body, a lot of it has to boil down to the viscosity and the thickness and things like that and all the sort of energy is matter and all that stuff or whatever. So chi is the lightest and blood is the sort of thick thing, but then you have all these other substances in the body. So it is weird, because, you know, brain isn’t muscle, it’s not like fat, it isn’t skin and I never really thought like oh it is a little bit more like marrow, it’s about that weird stuff that’s on the inside of our bones.
Billy: Oh yeah. Totally. And that’s the part where if you’re having memory issues, you know, then you’ll work on the Kidney areas, rub some of those Kidney points that are at the feet, because the idea that the energy on the opposite side of the body can treat the energy on the other side. So like rubbing the bottoms of your feet could actually be helpful for memory or rubbing your ears, which are related to the Kidneys would be really good for memory. But also, just going back to the hot flash thing, there’s this idea in our medicine that things run in cycles of development and so it’s about 7-8 years that you reach a new type of developmental stage. So when you’re about 7-8 years old, you start to, you know, lose your teeth and then you grow new teeth back in your mouth and then about 14 years old, 15 years old, you start to go through puberty and then 21. So anyways, they have this all mapped out, all the way until you hit menopause and beyond, which would be a really great title for an episode.
Raymond: Menopause and Beyond.
Raymond: I think that’s a book at the library to be honest.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: I mean right? It seems like the perfect title.
Billy: You know, that’s what I’m saying. It’s beautiful. But that’s kind of how those cycles work and so with each of those cycles, you know, when you’re working the cycles and also working with some of the trauma that may have happened during those cycles, you’re looking at Kidney, at least from a practitioner standpoint. So it’s a really powerful thing, like if the Kidney can impact your brain and also can impact your bones and these deeper places of fear, existential fear even, then this is definitely a channel to pay attention to.
Raymond: Yeah. The jing that we talked about at the beginning, that essence that we’re sort of born with, there’s also sort of this idea that you have kind of a finite amount of this essence that you’re sort of born with and once it’s depleted, you’re done, your time is up.
Raymond: So there’s a lot of times you’ll sometimes see in the literature or different recommendations about like don’t waste your jing.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: So a lot of times I feel like whenever you see stuff, you know, about certain drugs or people who have a really hard life or live a lot of life or hard on their body, that’s sort of that idea is that you sort of have been like eating up some of your jing that you should be trying to restore. So you can’t really add to it, but you can at least help maintain it. So control the leak, I guess.
Raymond: How do you put it? It’s a concept that never totally resonated with me, I guess. Maybe it’s just because I’m also a little bit like “Eh, is this really applicable, other than this really weird judgy thing that you’re doing?”
Billy: Yeah, some of it is a little slut shamey. It’s like “Don’t be having too much sex or your jing…”
Raymond: Yeah, like “Don’t orgasm too much. Don’t ejaculate too much, because you’re using up your jing. Don’t do psychedelics, you’re using up your jing.”, like whatever. Whereas I’m more like “Are you sure that the drugs aren’t- We should be looking at our liver maybe.”
Raymond: But I mean it’s a mix and so that also just made me think about like everybody is a little bit unique and so even when we talk about these cycles, which by the way I love that you mention how Chinese medicine is broken down into 7 or 8 years, but in western medicine, there’s a million memes about the idea of how often the cells in our body regenerate and that it takes seven years for every cell to regenerate. So we actually have a new body every seven years. So, you know, that same idea is in our culture as well and our ideas about body. But that everyone is also going to be a little bit different, like these are just sort of like guide posts.
Raymond: And even when we’re talking about the channels and the points, you know, you can find plenty of books that give you these really specific maps of the channels and the points, but maps are not the terrain, like you still have to walk the terrain and it’s going to be a little bit different. Like if you look at a map of a hiking trail, but then you actually walk it, it might not actually be exactly the same and it could just be a mix of the map makers interpretation, it could be that the landscape actually has shifted, because the seasons change things, you never know. So as we sort of, you know, I think that’s why I tend to be, I think sometimes I frustrate people about my lack of precision about some things, because I’m just a little bit like whatever works for you, but I don’t mean that flippantly.n
Raymond: Like I literally mean like let’s figure out what works for you, you know? So it’s more like that’s more the approach I’m taking.
Billy: And that’s that holistic approach that we’re talking about.
Raymond: Right. Looking at the totality of our lives.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: Totalitarianism- that’s what we’re living under!
Raymond: A little more authoritarianism, but anyway.
Raymond: Something terrible that we’re trying to resist.
Raymond: So, anyway, is there a particular herb that might be good for Kidneys, Billy Janes?
Billy: I don’t know, as long as I hear that herb corner song.
Raymond: Future Raymond, here’s the music cue!
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: Thanks past Raymond!
Billy: You know I thought about this one, because we just talked about the Kidneys and so a lot of what we do with Kidneys is try to nourish yin.
Billy: And, you know, one of the ideas is that yin is almost like water in your carburetor, I don’t know how it works.
Raymond: I was about to be like, that’s so butch, tell me more!
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: Anyway, so water in your carburetor, sorry.
Billy: So it’s like idea that, or if you’ve had like, what is that? An air conditioning unit that requires water in order to be able to cool down the room. If you don’t have enough water in there, then it’s not going to be able to cool down the room. So the idea with Kidney is that you want to help make sure that there’s enough of the water in there so it can help cool things down, otherwise it can lead to hot flashes or a general negative, what we would consider in our medicine as a disharmony. Then you also want to make sure that there’s enough fire in there so that the body process is like digestion can occur and all of that. So when we talk about yin a lot of times in our medicine, is using certain kinds of foods in order to increase the yin tonics. So I just want to say a couple of them here and then you can be able to use them. If you’re experiencing anything like dizziness, which is probably not enough energy to hold some of that bone marrow from flopping around, I guess you could say.
[Raymond & Billy laugh]
Raymond: That phrase is gonna stay with me. That bone marrow flopping around.
Raymond: My bones feel loose!
Billy: Technical term.
Raymond: My marrow feels floppy!
[Raymond & Billy laugh]
Raymond: That’s totally the type of thing where I love when you go to an acupuncturist and they ask you these questions that are like: Are you sweating at night or do your bones feel floppy? And you’re like “Shit! My bones totally feel floppy!”
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: They’re like “Are you sneezing or are you falling asleep at meetings?” and you’re like “Oh shit! I am sneezing.” or whatever.
Billy: Totally and then you can just say “Oh yeah, I’m just talking about mind body medicine.”
Raymond: It’s just because our categories of symptoms are so, you know what I mean?
Raymond: So a lot of times, when we’re looking at these patterns and we’re looking at is it liver chi deficiency? Or live stagnation? So that’s where a lot of why these questions end up being that way, because it’s like that’s how you can do a differential diagnosis.
Raymond: That’s the acupuncture’s humor. I just wanted to explain those jokes for those laymen.
Billy: Totally. The idea that like our different systems are impacted by the Kidney. The Kidney impacts so many different systems, so really what you’re looking for is like low back ache, dryness like dry eyes, you could even have some dry skin, memory issues, anything impacting the bones or the brain or if you’re having like hot flashes, some like sexual issues, stuff like that. So anyways, some of the foods would be like cucumber like think about how much water is inside of the cucumber, water chestnuts.
Raymond: I had some of those with dinner tonight.
Billy: They’re so good right?
Raymond: I love them. They’re kind of a polarizing food apparently people have strong opinions about water chestnuts, I didn’t realize.
Billy: Really? Is that like cilantro?
Raymond: No, I think it’s more of a texture thing.
Billy: Oh, okay, I guess I can see that.
Raymond: Or I guess, what’s funny is that people are like “Oh they don’t have a flavor.” and I’m like “That’s what’s nice about them.”
Raymond: You dip them in a sauce and they just have that little crunch that we need, but yeah.
Billy: And then you could also do like a Kidney bean.
Billy: Which, you know, because we’re talking about Kidneys here. But in addition to things like dealing with memory issues, rosemary is really great for memory and so you can just pick some off of a bush, throw it into a pot of water and have some for a tea. Rosemary’s also a really great pain reliever as well. It’s basically very similar to tylenol, so if you have an allergy to tylenol, then probably should not take rosemary tea.
Raymond: Oh, interesting, similar compounds in it. Anything else that you can think of? Or any last water element before we leave that?
Billy: You know I do want to provide people with a resource so if you are interested in some of the food aspects of our medicine and how to work with, for example, today we talked about increasing Kidney yin and you want to work with some of the foods that we mentioned and maybe more than that, then you’re welcome to go to my website, which is janesacupuncture.com/resources and the password is all lowercase acupuncture, and when you go down there you’ll go to the nutrition section and there will be a whole thing in there, what you’re looking for is yin tonics and you can find some of the foods that we talked about today, such as the Kidney beans, but also there’s other food lists that could be helpful for some of the other organs that we talked about for strengthening those too.
Raymond: So janesacupuncture.com/resources and the special secret password is acupuncture lowercase.
Billy: Shh don’t tell anyone.
Raymond: Don’t tell anyone. Just forward them the link.
Raymond: In case you don’t know, it’s a-c-u-p-u-n-c-t-u-r-e, acupuncture. I was like oh my gosh, am I going to spell that right? I put that pressure on myself.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: One of the things I love about food medicine in our practice is that- I mean there’s definitely, you definitely will get the prescription of things you’re supposed to not be eating, but I feel like it’s also more about like what you’re going to eat to nourish it. I feel like in western medicine it’s always like stop eating this, stop eating that. That’s it, that’s the only prescription you get. Whereas I appreciate that when I’ve gone to research my own imbalances where I’ve worked with other practitioners, it’s more about like “Hey, maybe cut back on these things, but then really add these things.” and so having something to add to what you’re eating actually to me just feels a lot more healthy, that’s kind of a loaded word, it’s more fun, it’s more balanced, it’s less stressful, you know what I mean? Like if you’re just really focused on like “Oh damn, I can’t eat this or whatever.”
Raymond: Instead of being like that, you can kind of treat it like a cooking challenge, like “Okay tonight’s meal, I want to have at least two or three things off of this list.” and it can kind of just help inspire recipe finding and shopping.
Raymond: And finding new things or just remembering foods you haven’t eaten in awhile, things like that. So I always tell people like focus on that and if you focus on that and then just sort of maybe passively try to cut the other stuff in half, like you’re still going to be doing a lot. I think sometimes, some western ideas about food and some of our disorder eating ideas have infected our medicine, I still feel like there’s a lot of like “Stop eating this” or whatever.
Billy: Yeah I agree.
Raymond: And I feel like this is the beauty and the other part of like let’s just talk about the stuff that’s gonna tonify us and give us energy and boost us.
Billy: Yes. I love that you brought that up, because that’s one of the big things that I’m not someone who’s really big on purging or cutting out or anything like that. I’m more about like if we can nourish the body to do what it needs to do, the body will do what it needs to do and the idea that our body is not something that needs to be cleansed and have things removed, but that it can already do those things. The liver can do what it needs to do when it’s nourished and so can the Kidneys and the idea of like flushing these systems out, those are the filtration systems.
Billy: They need to be fortified and given love, so they can do what they need to do. So for me, that also kind of plays into the whole idea of what is sustainable change and I think a lot of what I find with my patients is people who are really able to make the changes in their lives are people who are taking the perspective of “I’m going to nourish myself.” and what I’ve noticed with them is that as they work to nourish themselves, things that no longer nourish them start to drop away naturally.
Raymond: Right. It’s a lot easier to let those things go.
Raymond: Because everything boils down to having a relationship, we might have a relationship to a bad habit or a relationship to a type of food or a relationship to a vice or person, whatever, and then, but you have to sort of cultivate and bring in a new relationship to replace it and so one you kind of have that new relationship, it’s a lot easier to let that other one go versus letting it go and having to sit in the void of not having it. I was also thinking, too, because I just saw something today that, because you said something about trusting the body and like the body does a lot of amazing things and I just want to really clarify too, because I think that we’re probably in similar agreement about this is that there’s a lot of language around “The body knows best, let the body do that.” and I’m like that’s kind of actually ableist, right?
Raymond: Because, you know, if you have an autoimmune disorder, my body maybe isn’t doing what it’s supposed to be doing best, right? So I also want to be clear that we’re really coming from more of this perspective of really getting to know your body and there’s a lot of things that your body is doing right and how do you boost and cultivate the amazing things that your body is doing right, while also maybe sort of gently trying to direct/manage/live with the other things in our body that might be out of balance or sort of are pre dispositioned.
Raymond: I was thinking recently about how like, you know how the tech world is sort of terrible?
Raymond: It’s just sort of filled with like really rich people doing really ridiculous things and they’re just enabling terrible things and helping the spread if white supremacy and they’re also just kind of douchey, you know? Just all these things about like the tech world that are just like ugh the tech world! But also our phones are awesome, right? And technology is awesome. So there’s a lot of things that the essence of what its built around is good, but then there’s a lot of terrible cultural messaging that goes with it and I was like “Oh there’s kind of some similarities, I think, in my work.”, because I work in energy medicine or I work with shiatsu, which is a different modality and its based in Eastern medicine and there’s this whole other thing about I feel like people in America either they fall into that orientalism trap of like “Oh it’s so mysterious and magical shiatsu.”
Raymond: Or they’re just straight up zenophobic racists and they’re like “Oh no, that’s voodoo.”
Raymond: Even their insults are racist, like that’s not what voodoo is. Now you’re triple racist.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Raymond: Anyway, I think part of why I love having these conversations with you is we’re like, it is sort of magical and it is a little tradition and there’s some science and there’s this and also, you know, maybe don’t take it so seriously.
Raymond: Like it’s serious and it matters, but then sometimes it doesn’t, you know, it’s kind of moving that perspective.
Billy: Yeah and there’s this whole idea too that people are working with this biohacking of being able to …
Billy: of being able to figure out how. There’s so many things that come off of this medicine as well and I think definitely, as you said so well, everybody is different and so everybody you have to work with differently and not the same thing is going to work for everyone and our work that we do is to support the body’s processes and some of those processes are off, like my gallBladder just freaked out and I had to have it pulled out.
Billy: The whole… just so fascinating.
Raymond: RIP Billy Janes’ gallBladder!
Billy: Can we get some music for that? I mean …
[Music to commemorate Billy’s GallBladder Plays]
Billy: But it’s interesting, because a lot of acupuncturist have had this thing to say about it, which is the reason why that happened is because I’m going through so much change in my life that because that’s what the gallBladder is about, so my gallBladder couldn’t handle the change and had to be removed.
Billy: Yeah and so I think that also goes to the point of what we’re talking about is that idea that there’s also that aspect of science where we have things that happen if we have an autoimmune condition that predisposes us to certain things or the body does things, you know, “oh there goes your gallBladder”. I don’t know if it’s necessarily healthy to talk about what you did or if there was something that was amiss with that versus that there are all of these maps that overlay and how do we use these maps for the individual to try to get the, you know, find that equilibrium in their life.
Raymond: Right, it’s really about like finding and learning about your body and how your body works and, yeah like you said, giving these maps to kind of help guide you on that journey, but it doesn’t replace the journey. What did I say to you? They can take your gallBladder, but they can’t take your gallBladder meridian.
[Raymond & Billy Laugh]
Billy: So true.
Raymond: You always have your gallBladder meridian.
Billy: That’s what I love about this medicine that we always have the energetics of it, regardless of if the actual organ is there.
Raymond: Right, exactly. There’s still like the other functions of the body, like that are still happening. Alright, that was a great conversation. Thank you for joining us today and thank you for joining me, Billy Janes.
Billy: Thank you.
Raymond: Anything else before we … I think that’s it. Oh I didn’t tell you what time.
Billy: I think it’s like evening.
Raymond: It’s the late afternoon, that late afternoon slump or after school or like end of the office day, that sort of is the Kidney time, which is a good time to, in your office, lay down on the ground and put your legs up on the wall and give yourself a little restorative Kidney pose.
Raymond: Exactly. Alright, so next week is either pericardium or triple heater, I can’t remember. It’s one of the two.
Raymond: I keep saying next week like these episodes don’t get released once a month.
Raymond: So next month, next fortnight, if I’m lucky and I’m on top of my game, maybe I’ll get this out in two weeks. But anyway, thank you all for listening so much.
[Music continues playing]
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