Is Your Jing Depleted? A Chinese Medicine Concept you May Want to Know About

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Is Your Jing Depleted? A Chinese Medicine Concept you May Want to Know About

What is Jing, and why does it matter for my health?

Jing is a concept that I don’t talk about much in the acupuncture clinic, but according to Chinese Medicine, it has everything to do with the elemental season we’re in now: Water. 

It is all wrapped up with the kidney energy; and for those of you who read my winter seasonal article, you know that the kidneys, the Water Element, and Winter, are all related.

According to Acupuncture theory, the kidneys store our root Qi, which is comprised of both kidney yin and kidney yang.  If you’re my patient and you haven’t heard me talk much about your kidneys, you are probably doing great in that regard. 
But if your kidneys have come up in our discussions in the acupuncture treatment room, then you’ll want to learn about Kidney Qi’s cousin, Jing.
Jing, literally translated, means “essence”.  Because that probably doesn’t help you much, think of essential oils.  They are a distillate of the most valuable parts of the plant.  They are what remains when all the crude plant materials are taken away and what is left is made pure.
Likewise, our Jing is our most valuable life essence.  When it's completely depleted, death comes. Jing is our inheritance from our parents.  It's contained in the sperm and egg, and united, they grow into the new baby which contains this vital essence. 
Usually, parents with strong Jing (a western concept would be genes, although this doesn’t directly transfer) give birth to children with strong Jing also.

Symptoms of Weak Jing

But for many reasons, some of us come into this world with weak Jing. 
We may have:
  • bone or teeth issues from a young age, or developmental issues as children.
  • reproductive issues later on in life as we try to conceive.
  • early hair or hearing loss.

Or, we may be living such an exhausting, overworked and undernourished lifestyle, that our daily nutrition can’t keep up with our body’s needs; so we end up tapping into our Jing for energy, causing serious health issues and major debilitation.

For anyone trying to get pregnant and having problems, it could be a Jing deficiency issue.  (There are many reasons why a person could have fertility issues, and Jing deficiency is just one of them. But since winter is a great time to nourish your kidneys and thus retain as much Jing as possible, I mention this now.)


Can we influence the vitality of our Jing?

The good news and the bad news is that, unfortunately, we mostly have to live with the cards we’re dealt — we can’t easily increase our Jing.  However, we CAN prevent our body from resorting to tapping into our Jing, by nourishing ourselves on a daily basis with good Kidney tonifying and strengthening foods. 

Tips for Strong Jing

  • Qi Gong,Tai Qi, and restorative/yin yoga are fabulous for nurturing the jing
  • many forms of meditation focus your energy into your jing
  • specific Chinese herbs are fabulous for building strong and vital Kidney Qi, which then prevents your body from tapping into your jing.
  • If you’re a patient of mine and we have discussed your diagnosis and you know you are kidney yin depleted, then go back to my last blog for the Water Element and focus on eating as many foods from the Yin nourishing list as possible. If you’re yang deficient, then focus on those yang building foods, the warming ones.  Winter is an especially good time to work on building up the kidneys since it is their season. 
  • Royal Jelly and Bee Pollen are both fabulous tonics, and specifically, Jing tonics.  Royal jelly promotes longevity and reproductive ability in the queen bee, and can impart those same attributes to humans.  For those with a low sex drive, this can help promote sexual energy.  Most of you don’t need quite such a strong tonic, and can maintain your jing well with Bee Pollen, which is less potent. 
Even for those of us who don’t have kidney imbalances, we ALL need to work on maintaining strong and vibrant kidneys, for they do store our life-force energy. 
For that reason, even if I never mention it to my patients, I am secretly working on keeping their kidneys strong when they come for acupuncture, in addition to whatever else we’re working on.  Our kidney energy gets zapped when we get burnt out and go into adrenal exhaustion. And we don’t want exhausted kidneys.

Take care of your Kidneys now for a more vibrant spring ahead

The image above is a good visual description of a person with strong Jing.  She is strong, alive, and vibrant, and her energy flows from her core (where her Jing is stored), outward. 

Although we may be in the midst of winter, a time more for dormancy and inward focus than other times of year; come spring, we will want our energy vibrant and strong to take on the Wood energy of that season, which is a force to be reckoned with, for sure.

If you think your Jing or Kidneys might be depleted, you can schedule an acupuncture appointment for an assessment, diagnosis, and treatment, by clicking the button below.

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Tags: Water Element