In traditional Chinese medicine, the kidney signifies not only this small organ and its operation, but also has a larger interaction with our energy reserves. Kidney yang warms the body and regulates healthy function in the body's organs and tissues.
Kidney yang involves the reactive sympathetic nervous system. Kidney yang deficiency causes endocrine, or hormonal, dysfunction.
Kidney yang deficiency is analogous to adrenal insufficiency, chronic lower back pain, depression, hypothyroidism, nephritis (kidney inflammation) and forms of sexual dysfunction. It can be caused by chronic illness, the aging process, or excessive sexual activity. There are drugs like medications for hypertension for instance, that can drain kidney yang.
Kidney yang deficiency can cause an aversion to cold, and a tendency to feel chilled easily. The arms and legs and feet may be cold.
Though it sounds contradictory to the general tendency to feel chilled, excessive perspiration without an apparent cause is often a symptom. The knees and lumbar region may be sore.
Dull pain in the abdomen may be present. There may be problems of different kinds having to do with urination, including getting up frequently in the night.
Edema and low libido are common. A general exhaustion and listlessness may prevail.
Kidney yang deficiency can be treated in part with a diet of warming foods. These foods should be fresh and cooked.
Small meals should be eaten frequently through the day, rather than one or two large meals eaten far apart.
Complex carbohydrates are recommended, with about 30 percent of the diet provided by grains and starchy root vegetables. Make frequent use of beans and legumes. Warming herbs should be used often.
About ten percent of the diet should come from protein and seafood.
Stay away from raw fruits, vegetables and sprouts and cold drinks. Dairy products, soybeans and other soy products are not beneficial to kidney yang. Avoid the use of too much salt, vinegar and sugar.
Applying heat from moxibustion below the second lumbar vertebra can have a beneficial effect on the "life-gate fire".