I have a client with Type 3 kidney disease. This is a depleted state of existence. Kidneys can function at this level, however this is considered stagnant organ function in Ayurveda. Poor kidney function can create a host of symptoms like:
- poor vision
- disorders of bladder and prostate cysts,
- kidney stones
- long term disease leading to kidney failure dialysis
Because kidney organs have a limited capacity to regenerate neupron cells (these cells include a filtering unit for the blood). Considering other chronic ailments, maximizing kidney function is ideal for overall general feelings of wellness. It is often the best course of action in the elder years when a transplant is not a viable option. The kidneys work systemically with the heart, liver, and adrenal glands. Generally, if the kidneys are depleted, so are these organs. Blood flow is constricted throughout the body. Improving blood flow and quality of blood are the best course of actions in the energetic science of Ayurveda.
Improving Blood Flow
Poor circulation presents symptoms of feelings of cold in extremities or throughout the body. Feelings of tiredness, malaise, poor vision, and brain fog also are presented as symptoms of poor blood flow or circulation. Bringing vitality to your body through increased activity to bring more energy to the organs through the body's kinetic energy. Energizing ourselves, bring energy to our bodies on a cellular level.
Additional exercise and core movements add vitality to the center of the body and stimulates these three important organs related to kidney function: heart, kidneys, and liver. This is why yoga is a fantastic modalities of exercise. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise outlined in the oldest text, the Rig Veda. These exercises have been refined for over 5,000 years. Yoga flow practice allows the stimulation of every muscle and organ in our bodies. This is important to continue to disrupt our sedentary modern culture. Athletics and movement is self-driven in our American culture and we must overcome so much poor nutrition which has been institutionalized in our cultural habits of fast food and convenient dining foods.
Making an effort to move and allocating time to exercise every day. Other great forms of exercise: stretching, jogging, walking, pilates, ballet, all forms of dance actually. The other piece to this, cultures with thriving lean populations and smaller numbers of overweight - obese individuals include personal activity in community culture. Group exercise (like Tai Chi in Asian culture), dance (for example Salsa in Caribbean culture) , and cultural sports (like Cricket in Australia) are infused in daily lives, whereas in American culture, commercialized sports have minimized the individual's participation in movement exercise. This is something to note, as our culture is infused in our self-image and drive.
Other ways of bringing vitality to our bodies to improve blood flow:
- Feed your personal passions. Take time to include activities which YOU like in your life. What brings passion to you? Cooking? Reading fiction? Archery? Paddle boarding? Doing crossword puzzles? Find a hobby that you love and refine it over time.
- Feed your relational passions. Develop relationships with loved ones, friends, and in your community. Take time to connect with others and feel the supportive energy from others. This inspires feelings of contentment and love. Developing relationships with depth brings roots to your life and inspires freedom to experience passion.
- Cranial-sacral massage & Abhyanga: Adding these two parts to your daily life will re-train your body's response to massage and train your tissues to have good blood flow. Clearing energy blockages in the tissues with massage will allow your body the optimal opportunity for good blood circulation. Directing blood flow to the head and extremities with scalp, hand, and foot massage stimulates blood flow through the body and to these elimination areas of our body. Keeping the energy flowing in a direction of polarity, increases qi and quality of blood flow.
- Pelvic Floor exercise: Daily pelvic floor exercises stimulate the genitourinary system and creates improved blood circulation to these organs of the urinary tract and the genitals. This can stabilize emotions, and improve function of hormonal glands. Improving muscle tone in these areas not only improves blood flow, but can improve function of these organs over time.
- Warm baths. Depending upon your medical situation, epsom salts can be dehydrating for some. Deyhdration is dangerous for the kidneys, especially those with compromised function. However, a simple warm water bath improves blood flow and allows for relief of fatigue. Be careful about the temperature! Too hot of a bath creates more depletion. Too cool of a bath inhibits blood circulation.
- Strive for eliminating inflammation. This is linked to your diet, which leads me to share the next course of action, improving quality of blood.
Improving blood quality.
Poor blood quality reflects in malnourishment and lack of energy. The quality of blood is built over time. A healthy diet with good food combinations allows for strong red blood cells and a cellular makeup reflecting your DNA. DNA changes happen in the body and is a deeply studied topic. Check out this article on cellular DNA, a recent study at USC.
The body's unique language reflects the nourishment of blood. Healthy blood reflects a body with good color, clear eyes, vibrant skin tone, with a healthy sheen to skin and hair. Strong fingernails and a pink supple tongue. Those with poor blood quality will be pale, have sluggish or over-active circulation, cold extremities, skin inflammation (acne, psoriasis, eczema, dandruff). Poor quality is also reflected in the experiences of brain fog, depression, anxiety, confusion, headaches, creaky joints, and dry orafices.
What can happen over time with a deteriorated blood quality? Chronic poor blood quality will lead to fatigue, tissue disease, chronic illness leading to acute situations of developing cancer and long-term illnesses. Blood quality is the key to understanding the changes in our bodies during times of disease and aging. Poor blood quality leads to poor circulation, and is cyclical.
Begin improving your blood quality developing personal awareness improved daily habits:
- Waking at the same time every morning, before or at the sun's rising.
- Hydrate and groom upon waking. Clean your mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue.
- Add yoga and meditation to your morning ritual. This will allow for personal awareness and mindfulness in the body. Developing this practice allows you to better understand how you currently feel with poor blood quality. A daily practice of personal awareness will allow you to feel when your blood improves. Developing cellular memory will allow you to better understand when your blood quality is compromised and you need to improve your diet or stay on track.
Continue improving your blood quality with nutrition and rituals of dining:
- Improving blood quality begins with adding minerals to your diet. Depending upon your personal constitution (dosha, or energy type) and desires, you may want to add sea minerals like kombu or edible seaweed to your diet. Bone broth adds minerals from other animals which are easy for humans to absorb. Broth is the first action to add to your diet to bring immediate balance to nutrient and mineral absorption in your gut. The digestive organs are the first organs to fire up the process of blood cell production by providing the nutrition which makes the matter in your body's blood cell production zones of:
- bone marrow - makes red and most white blood cells, which last for about 120 days
- lymph nodes & spleen - make T & B white blood cells
- thymus gland - produce T white blood cells
- Hydration is linked to the moisture in our diets. Drinking water and adding water-based foods like soups, porridge, and teas bring the moistness needed for cellular thrive. Drinking too little or too much water may present taxation on our kidneys in depletion of energy. Adding the right environment for cellular growth is the key to a healthy body.
- Oxygen adds vitality to humans. We need oxygen to nourish our blood. In the case of lack of oxygen, our body responds with making more red blood cells in our blood marrow. As we age, our bone marrow responds more slowly and may have lower function than when we were younger. This could lead to anemia and a compromised immunity.
- Eating nutritious foods and minimizing toxins in our environment gives way to a healthy kidney function. The kidneys work with ease to filter waste and excess water from blood with minimal junk in our diets. Fresh ingredients like garlic, beets, apples, celery, cranberry, cherries, pomegranates, oily fish, dandelion greens, oats, and whole grains offer ease in detoxification and clearing waste on a cellular level. Other additions to improve kidney health:
- coconut water (added electrolytes for mineral absorption)
- red grapes
- healthy proteins like egg whites, fatty fish (limit these)
- healthy virgin oils: coconut, grape seed, olive
- warm water with lemon & pinch
- Avoid processed and dry foods like these:
- canned tuna and other fish
- peanut butter
- all nuts
- lunch meat, sausage, bacon
- processed oils like canola oil (includes trans fat)
- alcoholic beverages
- Minimizing the 3 "P" foods
- Phosporous: organ meats, whole grain breads, processed foods, cola beverages, cheese, dried beans, liver, peanut butter, dairy products and chocolate
- Potassium: such as avocado, bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, legumes, milk, nuts, potatoes, seeds, tomato products, yogurt, and salty foods
- Protein: high-quality sources such as egg whites, fish, poultry, and small amounts of dairy
- Herbal actions to consider adding to your diet:
Vata constitutions --
Licorice root is a hydrating tonic to adrenal glands and kidneys
Sea buckthorn can relieve pan in the urinary system and bladder function
Haritaki clears toxin (ama) accumulation in the colon
Pitta constitutions --
Aloe cools inflammation and is anti-inflammatory
Guduchi rejuvenates liver function
Manjistha can clear urinary infections and minimize kidney stone accumulation.
Amalaki is an adaptogen which is high in anti-oxidants and protects and heals all tissues, particularly the heart. High in vitamin C, this herb increases overall immunity and good health.
Kapha constitutions --
Punarnuava balances hydration and improves urinary function
Bibhitaki clears build up of toxins such as cloudy urine, kidney & bladder stones
Shilajit clears stagnation, reduces incontinence and pain.
Becoming aware and mindful of the body's performance and how it relates in our feelings, appearance, and overall health is the beginning of improving our health. Taking time to add healthful habits of nourishment, exercise, and a spiritual practice of meditation and community sense of place brings improved state of being and feelings of vitality.
Strengthening the mind, body, and spirit in a holistic way, we find solace during times of illness and stress which require greater personal strength. Discovering the connections and developing our relational connections help us stay connected to our environment in active dynamic ways. Consider your own lifestyle and how you may be able to improve your current state.
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