Despite the prevalence of kidney disease in the United States, up to 90 percent of adults with chronic kidney disease are unaware of their condition.
The kidneys are essential organs responsible for eliminating waste and toxins from the body. Gradual deterioration of kidney function can lead to kidney failure and other health issues, such as strokes or heart attacks. Therefore, it is advisable to change daily habits that harm the kidneys. What’s more, acupressure massage can help protect and strengthen them.
4 Kidney-Harming Habits
You can self-assess if you have the following habits that harm the kidneys, and if so, it is advisable to correct them promptly:
1. Holding in Urine Frequently
Some people frequently refrain from urinating, often due to work or other reasons. However, this habit can be harmful to the kidneys. When you hold in urine for an extended period, the urine accumulates in the bladder, and it may reflux back into the kidneys, causing kidney swelling, also known as hydronephrosis. This can damage kidney function and, in severe cases, lead to kidney failure. Therefore, it is important to urinate promptly whenever you feel the need.
2. Using Salt or Condiments Excessively
Many people enjoy dipping their food in ketchup or other processed condiments to enhance flavor. However, these condiments contain a high amount of salt and additives that must be filtered by the kidneys, thus increasing the kidneys’ workload. It is recommended to reduce the intake of salt or condiments by half and opt for natural sea salt with lower sodium content as a substitute for highly processed table salt.
3. Drinking Coffee as a Substitute for Water
If you habitually consume coffee or other beverages throughout the day and forget to drink water, it can lead to insufficient hydration, reduced urine output, and hinder the removal of toxins and waste from the body, potentially causing kidney damage. If you notice that your urine becomes dark yellow or tea-colored, your body is signaling that you need to drink water.
4. Regularly Consuming Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are intended for consumption after physical activity to replenish lost electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, and salt. If you consume sports drinks without engaging in physical exercise, it can result in excessive salt intake and place an additional burden on the kidneys. In such cases, you can dilute the sports drink two to five times before consumption.
4 Ways to Protect Your Kidneys
Here are some effective methods for kidney protection and kidney health.
1. No Salt or Sauces for 100 Days
The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) text “The Essentials of Treating Miscellaneous Diseases” from the Qing Dynasty suggests that when a person has kidney problems leading to edema, abstaining from salt and sauce completely for 100 days and maintaining a bland diet may provide relief. My mother-in-law’s kidney ailment was cured by following this method.
2. Homemade Natural Sports Drinks
After physical activity, the blood tends to become thicker, which can disrupt normal kidney metabolism. It is dangerous if, after strenuous physical activity, you sweat heavily but do not feel the urge to urinate. Over time, this can lead to kidney shrinkage and reduced function. Therefore, it is important to replenish fluids promptly after sweating to maintain the body’s water balance.
Drinks made from natural ingredients such as white grass root tea, reed root tea, green grass tea, etc., can replenish the minerals and ions lost during exercise. They are natural and gentle on the kidneys, and they also have a diuretic effect and can help reduce water retention, evident in edema.
White Grass Root Tea
Take 200 grams of white grass root and add it to 2,000 cubic centimeters (about 8 ½ cups) of water. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.
3. Acupoints for Kidney Health
Protecting your kidneys should be a daily effort so that you don’t have problems arise later. In addition to improving your dietary habits and lifestyle, you can also perform acupressure on specific points to promote kidney health.
In TCM, it is understood that meridians serve as pathways for the flow of energy throughout the body, connecting the internal organs to various parts of the body. Certain points along these meridians, known as acupoints, have specific functions. By stimulating these acupoints through methods like acupuncture or acupressure, it is possible to treat ailments related to the corresponding organs.
According to the ancient Chinese medical text “Huangdi Neijing,” the kidneys are located in the lower back. If your lower back is inflexible, it may indicate kidney exhaustion, suggesting severe kidney weakness.
You can perform self-massage on the Yongquan acupressure point located on the soles of your feet. This is especially good for office workers who often experience fatigue and unbearable lower back pain due to long hours of sitting or mental stress. This massage helps nurture the kidneys and improve blood circulation. You can also use massage balls or sticks to stimulate the Yongquan acupressure point for similar effects.
In TCM, it is believed that good spleen and stomach health is essential for healthy kidneys. Therefore, when treating kidney diseases clinically, formulas to strengthen the spleen and stomach are often used to help improve kidney health. The Zusanli acupressure point, located four fingers’ width below the outer knee, is a crucial point for toning the spleen and stomach. Pressing and massaging the Zusanli point also benefits kidney health.
4. Ear Massage for Kidney Strengthening
Some of the herbs and teas mentioned in this article may be unfamiliar to you, but most can be found in health food or Asian grocery stores. Because we all respond differently to consumable items, it is advisable to consult a physician before beginning any herbal treatment plans.
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