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The Element of Water - The Emotion of Fear



The emotion of fear

The colour black or dark blue

The Bladder & Kidneys

The water element in Oriental Medicine is the source of all life. It governs the bodies’ deepest structures and tissues, including bones, marrow, central nervous system, brain and spinal cord. It is connected far back into a person’s history, before conception, and brings into the present, the ancestral and genetic map that forms who we are at a physical, biochemical and psychological level. The water element is also our will to survive. When faced with difficult and even life-threatening situations, the kidney energy gives us the ability to make strategic and appropriate steps for survival.

Water is what nurtures us, guiding our growth. As the water forms our very being, we learn to surrender. Surrendering to the unknown, we begin to relax, gathering and focusing our energies for growth.

OUT OF BALANCE- the Water element is driven, yet exhaustive, running on an empty tank of fuel. It manifests fears and phobias both conscious and unconscious, which can play out as a nagging unrest with Life, lack of motivation, and control issues.

When we honour this energy in our bodies we manifest a different story. We rest when we need to. We tune into our dreams and deepest desired and feel safe enough to allow them to germinate in the fertile ground of our inner world. We are able to be still in the void of non-doing and emptiness and await the spring rains of energy to awaken us. Physically our body rejuvenates itself during this period, rebuilding our structure and beliefs into forms that serve our highest Self best and increase our potential.

Time of day is 3-5pm (Bladder)

Action: Reserving and storing

Emotions being processed: Irritation, moving energy internally

This is the most common time for energy to take a nosedive. The body’s preparing at this time to settle into the evening. With today’s busy schedules, people tend to get off work and want to begin their night, which doesn’t help the low energy. To avoid this it is recommended you lay off caffeine in the later morning hours so that your body doesn’t expend so much energy in the first half of the day. Enjoying a bit of salt at his time keeps the bladder satisfied.

The Bladder transforms impure fluids from the kidneys into urine, then stores and excretes. However, in Oriental medicine its function is far more important. The points of the bladder meridian which lie on either side of the spine, directly influences the workings of all of the bodily organs and functions. The bladder with the kidneys influences the bones, and the bladder meridians run the length of the spine. Thus any long term imbalance in the bladder chi will affect the back, and the energy in the bladder meridian will influence posture, since it gives strength and support to the back.

The BLADDER meridian route- The Bladder Meridian starts at the inner side of the eye and goes across the forehead to reach the top of the head where it branches into the brain. The main channel then goes across the back of the head and divides into two branches. One branch crosses the center of the base of the neck and extends downwards parallel to the spine. Once in the lumbar region (bottom of the spine), it branches out to reach the bladder. The other branch crosses the back of the shoulder and runs downward on the outside, which is adjacent and parallel to the inner branch. It continues down until it reaches the buttocks where two branches run across the back of thigh along different pathways that join at the back of the knee. The joint meridian then continues along the back of the lower leg, circles behind the outer ankle, runs along the outside of the foot and terminates on the lateral side of the tip of the small toe, where it connects with the Kidney Meridian.

Time of Day 5-7pm (Kidney)

Actions: Replenishing vital energy

Emotions being processed: Fear

The feeling of being tired and wanting a nap could continue into this time frame. On the other hand, when the Kidneys are healthy and working properly, you will feel energetic at this time and not tired. The kidneys are aligned with the adrenals, the glands that produce cortisol to help us spring out of bed in the morning. Early morning, from 5-7 am, is when kidney energy is weakest—a reason that people with depleted kidney energy often have trouble waking up to a new day.

If you’re feeling an extreme level of fatigue around this time of day, after the typical afternoon drop, you may have an issue with your adrenals. Physically healthy adrenals feel vibrant at this time, but feeling of fear can creep in if they’re not in good shape. Signs of kidney and adrenal fatigue include lack of libido, lower back pain, and early greying of the hair. So if you’re someone who toils in the office after everyone else has gone home, or plans rowdy after-work drinks regularly – and you’re experiencing these symptoms, you may want to reconsider your habits in favour of more R&R

The kidneys are the yin aspect of the water element. They store energy, in the form of the chi passed on to us form our parents, (prenatal or constitutional chi), as well as the chi we bring in through breathing and eating. We deplete our chi reserves by over-work, stress, not enough sleep, deficient diet and too much sex or child bearing. Moderation is the key to conserving our energy and our storehouse of chi.

The kidneys govern the bones, that which is deepest and densest in the body and this includes the teeth. It also governs the marrow and the central nervous system including the brain.

The KIDNEY meridian route- The Kidney Meridian starts from the inferior side of the small toe. Crossing the middle of the sole and the arch of the foot, it circles behind the inner ankle and travels along the innermost side of the lower leg and thigh, until it enters the body near the base of the backbone. After connecting with the kidney, it comes out at the pubic bone. Over the abdomen, it runs externally upwards until it reaches the upper part of the chest (the inner side of clavicle). A second branch emerges from the kidney and moves internally upwards and passes through the liver, diaphragm, lungs and throat, finally terminating at the root of the tongue. Another small branch divides from the lung to connect with the heart and the pericardium.


· Take time out to build and nurture yourself

· Rest

· Get enough sleep

· Eat nourishing food, that tonify the kidneys

· Balance work time with leisure time

· Wear dark blue or black clothing

· The fourth Makko Ho stretch.

· Shiatsu self massage


· Who am I?

· What am I afraid of?

· What do I need in order to grow?


The flavours that support the water energy are the salty and bitter flavours, because they promote a sinking, centring quality.

Bitter foods include lettuce, endive, watercress, turnip, celery, asparagus, alfalfa, rye, oats, quinoa, amaranth and citrus peels.

Salty foods include miso, soya sauce, seaweeds, millet and barley.

The kidneys in Oriental Medicine are seen as the core of the body and are the foundation of all yin and yang qualities in the body.

The yin energy is about nurturing, supporting, stabilizing, moistening and building the body. The yang energy warms, energizes and animates the body. The kidneys also store the Jing essence, which is the chi passed on from our parents. Jing determines the constitution and health of a person, and once it is used up life ceases. Certain foods nourish Jing, and will promote the growth, renewal and development of the body and mind, resulting in more vitality, longevity, increased productive capacity and protection from premature ageing.

Tomato Chicken Rice

This recipe is warming, nourishing and gently toning for the kidneys and spleen and cleansing for the lungs.

6-8 cloves garlic

1 large onion – chopped

2 cans tomatoes

1 whole organic chicken, boiled and shredded (keep chicken stock)

1 ½ cups uncooked rice

Soy sauce to taste


Fry onion and garlic in 1-2 tblspns olive oil. Add 1 litre of chicken stock, tomatoes and chicken. Season with soy and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add more stock or water to increase the volume of soup as needed.

Cook rice is separate pot.

Serve the chicken soup over the steamed rice

I teach Dance Your Qi in Northcliffe WA. This modality is based of the Chinese Medicine Philosophy where we dance the elements. I teach a Shiatzu Self massage and the Makko Ho stretches too. If you would like to dance the elements with me either live of future zoom classes please reach out.

Much love Cath xx

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