Kidney 1, named “Bubbling Spring”, is the first acupuncture point on the Kidney meridian. It is the only meridian point on the sole of the foot. Kidney 1 is a major energy vortex that has the ability to revitalize body, mind and spirit. This point can be activated with acupuncture, acupressure, herbal plasters, exercise and even floral essences.
Recently, I had an awe-inspiring personal experience with this point that I would like to share with you. A patient of mine is in the final stages of lung cancer, finding it difficult to breathe, talk or swallow. She was just hospitalized to remove fluid from her chest. And if all of that wasn’t bad enough, her husband called me to tell me that she suffered a stroke when she arrived home. The stroke left the whole left side of her body paralyzed. He asked if I would consider trying acupuncture to restore movement on her left side. His thinking was that if she had this functionality, she might be able to get out of bed and sit in a chair. This would at least improve her quality of life for the time she had left.
I have to admit that I was skeptical that I could help a person who was this debilitated, but I agreed to come to their home. I inserted just two needles in her right hand – Master Tung’s ling gu and da bai. These points have a long list of indications and hemiplegia is one of them. Then, instinctively, I started to do some gentle acupressure on her left leg starting with Kidney 1 which is also indicated for lower limb paralysis. It seemed a natural place to start to address her breathing difficulty and the fear and anxiety I knew she was experiencing from her cancer.
Two days later, I received a phone call telling me that she could move her left arm and the toes on her left foot! Her doctors and nurses were amazed. And so was I. I have seen her a few more times and each time she has a little more movement. I don’t know if she will regain enough strength to sit in a chair. But I do know that she has given me a life-changing gift that I will carry forward in my practice – a renewed amazement in the power of acupuncture.
When we speak of the Kidney in Chinese medicine, we are referring to much more than the bean shaped organ responsible for urination. In Chinese medicine, the Kidney encompasses our whole genetic makeup. The Kidney governs our growth and development, our reproductive capacity, and the speed of the aging process.
We inherit our Kidney energy from our parents. If we are a product of young, healthy parents and a full term pregnancy, most likely we start out in this world with strong Kidney energy. Likewise, older parents or parents who have already produced many offspring, may not have strong Kidney energy themselves to pass on to their offspring. Regardless of the strength of our Kidney energy at birth, it is somewhat possible to enhance that energy with proper diet and lifestyle. Acupuncture and herbal therapy may also have the ability to tonify Kidney Qi, Kidney yin and Kidney yang – all important aspects of the vital energy of the body. Conversely, we can certainly drain the energy of the Kidney with poor lifestyle choices. Overwork, too much sex or too many pregnancies, chronic illness, drugs and poor diet can deplete the Kidney energy.
When the Kidneys become deficient they cannot ground the energy of the body and pathological qi, yang, heat or wind may rush up to the head. When this happens, we may experience symptoms of vertex headache, dizziness, hypertension, insomnia, anxiety and even stroke. Being the lowest point on the body, Bubbling Spring has a powerful effect to descend this pathology.
There are many ways to stimulate this acupuncture point. It is a common practice in China for patients suffering with insomnia, to soak the feet in hot water and then massage this point on both feet before bedtime.
Many studies have confirmed the effectiveness of applying herbal plasters to this point overnight to treat hypertension or mouth sores.
Kidney 1 is an important point in qigong practice. Directing the mind to this point and breathing through this point helps to absorb the yin energy of the earth. It is the first point of contact in Tai Chi exercise that activates the energy flow throughout the body.
Like other jing-well points (the first point on the meridian), needling this point has a powerful effect to revive consciousness following stroke. And as I have mentioned above, it is indicated for post-stroke paralysis.
On a more spiritual note, oak flower essence applied to this point can keep you connected to your divine purpose in life, especially when you feel weighed down by duty and responsibility. As the name Bubbling Spring suggests, one may experience a strong upward rushing energy that fills the body with renewed joy and purpose when connecting with this point!
About the Author:
Joyce Marley is a licensed acupuncturist who provides acupuncture therapy in New Hartford, NY. She writes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) health articles about acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.