Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) takes the broad view on things like urinary tract infections (UTIs). The focus is not solely on the removal of unhealthy bacteria through the use of antibiotics.
Instead, traditional Chinese medicine has an energy-based perspective. TCM uses acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas and qigong as its primary treatments.
The term "kidney" does not make reference solely to the physical kidneys, but actually is referring to an energy subsystem known as the kidney meridian.
The problems associated with aging and failing health are seen as losing kidney qi and essence. Kidney qi and essence are inherited from our parents.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the long term goal is to restore vibrant health, and to maintain it for life. Kidney qi and essence need to be protected and nurtured.
Choosing a healthy lifestyle, making sure to get plenty of sleep and follow a balanced diet, will help to nurture kidney qi and essence. Lots of physical activity, healthy sexual activity and an optimistic outlook on life will help to maintain a proper balance overall.
Kidney qi and essence are involved in the development and function of the brain. Also included are hearing, bone and marrow, sexuality and reproductive capacity, and control of the bowels and urinary tract. Will power, motivation and fearful emotions are all connected to this meridian.
Dysfunction in other meridians can exhaust kidney qi and essence. This could be the result of a wearing pregnancy, from heavy periods, or from overriding fear and stress.
If there is a dysfunction of qi in the bladder, urine retention may be the result. Loss of restrictive function may cause incontinence or excessively frequent urination.
For women who are prone to chronic urinary tract infections, or who have repeated UTIs, the use of antibiotics for each new infection can reduce the body's own ability to fight urinary infection. In a chronic situation, natural herbal remedies may be the preferred option.