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Essence Deficiency


The Chinese Kidney energy nourishes the deepest forms of internal Yin and Yang in the body, namely Yin and Essence (Jing). The Kidneys represent our ancestral constitution, our genetic blueprint and we act as a channel for this energy to the next generation. Our DNA is the closest expression of our Kidney energy.

In the West the Kidneys are known to govern urination but in Chinese medicine they are the root and foundation of the body’s energy, demonstrating that the ancients understood the functioning of the endocrine system and recognised the location of the adrenals on top of the Kidneys. Kidney energy governs metabolism, reproduction, development, and aging, and weak Kidney energy often shows in chronic conditions and fear is the emotion that most closely represents a decline in Kidney energy.

Essence (Jing) is related to our vitality, creativity, longevity, resistance and adaptability to illness, sexual and reproductive capacity, and spiritual power to some extent. Certain aspects of our Essence (Jing) can be boosted but other aspects are irreplaceable and are therefore like a battery’s limited life. Today with its modern pressures put untold strain on Kidney Essence and Yin.

When our internal Essence becomes weakened, we may experience deep tirerness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, dry mouth and throat, thirst, low back pain, night sweats, menstrual irregularities, agitation, irritation, nervousness, insecurity and fear, feelings of heat in head or the lungs or other parts of the body.

A chronic clinical picture would include.

In children:         poor bone development, late closure of fontanels, mental dullness or retardation in adults.

In adults:             softening of the bones, weakness of knees and legs, poor memory (long term memory), loose teeth, falling hair or premature greying of hair, weakness of sexual activity, soreness of the back,

Tongue:                Red and peeled,

Pulse:                    Floating Empty or Leather

Things that deplete your Essence (Jing):

  • Chronic overextending, chronic stress, depletion of your reserves through overwork, over exercising, lack of sleep, worry, anxiety, fear
  • Toxins-environmental, dietary, cosmetic
  • Poor quality food & water (low life force food and water)
  • Sugar, alcohol, stimulants, drugs
  • Chronic disengagement from life or lack of purpose
  • Pregnancy & Childbirth
  • Chronic illness

Treating Essence Deficiency

“To nourish the body’s Essential Yin and Essence (Jing), we must become more connected to our own natural instincts and the will to live.”

The key nutritional wisdom when nourishing Kidney Yin and Essence (Jing), is to focus on nourishing foods that moisten, along with some mildly cooling foods, and to resist  the temptation, to overdo cooling foods that may put out a Fire that’s not as strong as it seems.

We are suggested that a wide and varied diet be eaten to nourish Kidney Yin and Essence (Jing), which is about the deep reserves in the body, our constitution including nutritional reserves. Traditional Chinese Nutritional Healing suggests a varied diet that provides a broad array of nutrients. This is not the time to eat the same foods over and over again.

Water: Since Yin and Essence (Jing) is about moisture, I suggest about 2 litres of water throughout the day.

Salty flavored foods: miso, sea salt, tamari, salted raw sauerkraut or kimchee (Korean cultured vegetables). Each of the five elements in TCM has a flavor attributed to it, and the Water flavor which governs Kidneys is salty. To support the Water element, recommend a healthy amount of salt, as too much salt will have the opposite effect. Check to make sure your client is not getting too much, and that she has replaced commercial table salt with sea salt.

Kidney shaped foods: black beans, kidney beans, most beans – Because beans are kidney shaped as well as seeds with potential for new life, these foods have long been considered especially nourishing to the Kidneys.

Blue and black foods: Blueberries, blackberries, mulberry, black beans – The colors blue and black correspond to the Water element of the Kidneys. It is possible to strengthen the Water element by eating blue/black foods.

Seafood: fish, shrimp, seaweeds – all support the Water element.

Seeds: flax, pumpkins, sunflower, black sesame – seeds relate to fertility and growth which is governed by Kidney energy.

Nuts: Walnuts, Chestnuts – Nuts are seeds. These nuts are particularly recommended for Kidney energy.

Animal Products: Pork, duck, lamb, eggs, cheese – Small amounts of animal protein can be used therapeutically here.

Pork and duck are considered moistening. Since animal products are dense foods there are some cautions: If there is digestive impairment, the high fat content of duck may be too much. Lamb is the most warming of the meats, so if the person has a lot of hot flashes or night sweats, this may not be appropriate. Excess cheese may be too dampening for the Spleen. Too much meat, particularly without the balance of vegetables, will Stagnate the Liver and create heat. Look to the individual to decide on the ideal amount of animal products.

Bone-Marrow Broths & Soups: This will nourish Marrow governed by Kidneys. Especially beneficial for people wanting to prevent or heal osteoporosis.

Grains: Barley, Millet. These are both mildly cooling and nourishing to Yin.

Vegetables: Asparagus, Deep green leafy vegetables – Since it has diuretic properties, asparagus is especially helpful with opening the flow for those with dark, scanty urine. Deep green leafy vegetables build the Blood, and since Blood is a Yin fluid, they are highly recommended. Also moist vegetables such as cucumbers and celery are helpful.

Fruits and Melons: These are emphasized since they are moistening and mildly cooling. Too much fruit can be too cooling resulting in diarrhea, but 2-4 pieces of fruit a day should be fine.

Tonics: Spirulina, kelp, chlorella, wheatgrass – These mineral rich foods build the Blood which enhances Yin. They are also high in nucleic acids (RDA/DNA) which have been shown to reduce signs of aging.

Mineral rich herbs: stinging Nettles, Oatstraw. Nettles are a gentle, cooling tonic that supports the Blood and Kidneys, while oatstraw strengthens the nerves.

Moistening herbs: Marshmallow, slippery elm, comfrey, aloe vera gel – these are all moistening demulcents with high mucilage content. Flax seed tea could be used here too.

Chinese Herbs: Rehmannia root – often found in the patent formula used for Kidney Yin Deficiency called “Six Flavor Tea Pills” or “Rehmannia Six”.

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James O’Sullivan - that's me, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving my patients, my students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
It's a wonderful life
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.
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Acupuncture, What is it?

Acupuncture needles on the back of a beautiful woman – Portrait of a pretty lady in acupuncture therapy at the day spa

Acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese theories of the flow of Qi (Energy) and Xue (Blood) through channels or meridians which run throughout the body very similar to the nervous and circulatory system. Acupuncture itself is the insertion of fine needles into the body at specific points that lay on these meridians. These points have been proven effective throughout time for specific problems or diseases. In acupuncture, there are no side effects. It is merely a tool to allow the body to heal itself.

Does it hurt?

Most people feel nothing, an Acupuncture needle cannot be compared to a syringe needle at all.  Syringe needles are quite large, are hollow (to pull liquids in and out of the body) and are administered into arteries.  Acupuncture needles are solid and as thin as one piece of hair.  In Acupuncture, we administer needles with caution, avoiding arteries and nerves.  Acupuncture is mostly painless, but since a stimulus needs to be obtained you will feel either a heaviness, distension, tingling or electric sensation around the needle or traveling up and down the meridian. Any kind of discomfort that is made from the stimulation of the needle disappears in seconds.

Are the needles clean?

Acupuncture needles are pre-sterilized, individually packaged and disposable. Thus assuring there is no transmission of communicable disease from patient to patient.

How does Acupuncture work?

How can such an “ancient” medicine be at the forefront of the “new” millennium? Simple, acupuncture is so incredible because it works on all levels. This means superficially, internally, physically and emotionally. Therefore it works for superficial muscular problems, internal issues, emotional conflict and also as preventive maintenance. How does it work? Basically, the needles stimulate the energy or Qi in the meridians or channels. When we have pain or inflammation this indicates there is stagnation in that area of the meridian. To achieve results, all that is needed is to move the stagnation or energy with acupuncture. Concerning internal problems, this means any imbalance in the body, these manifest as symptoms…PMS, constipation, fatigue, insomnia, depression etc. Each symptom correlates to an organ and each organ has its own meridian. Acupuncture can then stimulate the meridian connected to the organ that needs balance, therefore achieving alleviation of the symptom. The Chinese believe “if there is free flow than no imbalance or disease can occur”, therefore we can ensure a healthy future and function at our optimum with monthly maintenance treatments.

Do I have to believe in Acupuncture for it to work?

No. Acupuncture is used successfully on cats, dogs, horses and other animals. These patients do not understand or believe in this treatment, but that does not prevent them from getting better.

How many treatments do I need?

That depends upon the duration, severity and nature of each individual’s complaint. Generally five to fifteen treatments are adequate for the majority of illness. Acute conditions may require only a single treatment and some degenerative diseases may require a whole series of treatments.

Should I use Acupuncture with other types of health care?

Yes. Oriental Medicine can be used by itself or as a complement to other systems of health care. When used together with Western Medicine healing is enhanced.

Please tell us if you are under the care of other health practitioners or about any medications you are currently taking so that we may coordinate our efforts.

Please note: While Oriental Medicine can treat many conditions, there are situations in which Western Medicine is more appropriate. If this occurs, we will recommend contacting a Western Medical doctor.

What criteria should one use in choosing an acupuncturist?

Look for the abbreviations L.Ac., O.M.D., D.O.M or Dip. Ac. after the practitioners name. All of these abbreviations are similar in meaning. Chinese Medicine as a system is extremely complicated and extensive. It is not just a collection of techniques that can be added to some other health care profession. Only seek treatment from professionally trained and qualified practitioners of Chinese Medicine.

The First Treatment

After you arrive you will be asked to fill out a short health history. These questions are to help your practitioner evaluate your presenting patterns based upon your symptoms. This “pattern of disharmony” is in large measure what makes traditional Chinese/Asian Medicine so effective.

In a private room you will review the history one-on-one with the treating Practitioner. After further evaluation the Practitioner will explain the treatment strategy. Then your Practitioner will wash their hands and begin your treatment.

What do I need to do to prepare for an acupuncture treatment?

Prior to coming for your appointment, be sure to eat only a light meal or snack and drink a little water. Please also bring the names and doses of all medications and dietary or herbal supplements you are taking.

Here is an excellent example “story” to explain where acupuncture is both the modern and traditional Chinese medical system. The story of the Three Brothers.

James O’Sullivan L.Ac C.Ac (China)



James O’Sullivan - that's me, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving my patients, my students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's a wonderful life
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.
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Auricular Therapy

The speciality of Auricular Therapy is an internationally documented and researched procedure based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves the stimulation of specific points on the ear (auricle) for the treatment of health conditions.

The Smiling Body Auricular Therapy protocol is a painless therapy, and involves the placement of Ear seeds, which are small seeds from the Vaccaria plant. These seeds are held in place on the ear with a small piece of adhesive tape. Ear seeds may be left in the ear for a few days or up to two weeks.

In 1990, the Director General of the World Health Organisation proclaimed to an international gathering that “Auricular acupuncture is probably the most developed and best documented, scientifically, of all the micro systems of acupuncture and is the most practical and widely used.”

Auricular therapy is widely used for many conditions, including addiction treatment, cravings, obesity, mood disorders, pain, and other conditions. This medical system emphasises a holistic approach to medicine, an approach that treats the whole person. The points found on the ear help to regulate the body’s internal organs, structures, and functions.

Auricular therapy is widely used for many conditions, including addiction treatment, cravings, obesity, mood disorders, pain, and other conditions. This medical system emphasises a holistic approach to medicine, an approach that treats the whole person. The points found on the ear help to regulate the body’s internal organs, structures, and functions.

If you are interested in experimenting to see if ear stimulation can help the problem you are having, I suggest you try massaging the ear in the areas indicated on the chart with sesame oil, and see if you think there is a benefit. A fingernail or a dull probe, such as the tip of a ball point pen, might be used to press a particular point for 7-15 seconds to see if you note a benefit. Don’t press to the point of extreme pain, but some discomfort is to be expected when stimulating the ear. Try stimulation twice or three times a day to see if you note any difference in the duration, intensity, or frequency of discomfort.

If you find some value in ear stimulation, you may either continue massage on a regular basis, or you may attempt to focus in on a particular point on the ear.

Auricular therapy was mentioned in the most famous of ancient Chinese medical textbooks, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. In modern times, auricular therapy has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, and the bodies own feel-good chemicals.

If you look very closely at Matt Damon’s ear you’ll notice something…
His rep stated that:

“Those are acupuncture “seeds’ in his ear.”
Sometimes after a treatment ear seeds are put into the ear with skin colour tape. This is done to help stimulate acupuncture points in the ear that correspond to different parts of the body. Ear seeds can be helpful in sustaining the treatment effects.

I’m glad Matt is a fan of traditional Chinese medicine



James O’Sullivan - that's me, a people friendly practitioner and lecturer of Integrated Medicine, serving my patients, my students and the public with the positive benefits of both Conventional Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's a wonderful life
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or assess. The information provided is not to be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.
Please share! Help the word get out. Pin the graphic too.