Uremia – the Elusive Syndrome

November 1, 2013 Trisha Han Uncategorized

Uremia, in the medical world, is relatively uncharted territory–neither Western Medicine nor Chinese Medicine has made many advances in understanding it or finding a cure.  Because it is a syndrome usually accompanying renal failure, kidney dialysis is always an option, and kidney transplant is considered a last resort.  Most people are concerned with healing the kidney or finding a healthy replacement, whereas the actual condition may not stem from the kidney at all.

According to Chinese Medicine, uremia was caused exclusively by weakness in the stomach meridian.  The signs of weakness in the stomach meridian were abundant in most uremia patients, whereas the signs of weakness in the kidney meridian were only slight.  Dialysis can temporarily rid the blood of toxins and waste, by substituting for the normal function of a kidney–but if one strengthens the stomach meridian, the results will be long term and the body will be able to perform cleansing functions on its own.

The belief in Chinese Medicine is that the spleen and stomach are the sources of blood and Qi, and that the stomach meridian is a meridian abundant in blood and Qi flow. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine states, “Muscular dysfunction expends stomach meridian energy”. Uremia is often attributed to kidney myopathy (muscle dysfunction).  By this, we know that uremia causes weakness in the stomach meridian by expending its energy; that is, expending its Qi and blood.

I like to think of the kidney as an electric fan. If you turn the fan on and it doesn’t spin, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the fan is broken–it could be because of a power outage, or a problem in the electric cord. In our little metaphor, if the kidney is the electric fan, then the blood/Qi is the power source, and the stomach meridian is the electric cord. So as long as the blood/Qi is replenished via the spleen and stomach,  the stomach meridian is unblocked, and the kidney receives adequate blood and nutrient flow, then the kidney should be able to perform its functions smoothly.

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