According to traditional Eastern medicine, each of the Five Elements has its own Yin aspects and Yang aspects. In our bodies, the Yin aspects of the Five Elements are embodied in five Yin organs, which are the liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys. As for the Yang aspects of the Five Elements, they are embodied in six Yang organs, which are the gall bladder, small intestine, stomach, large intestine, urinary bladder, and San Jiao (or Samcho in Korean).
According to traditional Eastern medicine, the five Yin organs are largely responsible for our bodily functions. Yin organs are situated deeper inside the body, manufacturing, regulating, and conserving vital substances. They are more closely related to the Five Elements and thus more susceptible to the imbalance of a particular element that is assigned to them. Conversely, problems in any of these organs could offset the general imbalance of an element associated with the organ.
Kidneys – Yin organ of Water
The kidneys are the Yin organ of the Water Element, an organ that represents conservation, storage, and an infinite potential.
The kidneys also maintain the balance of bodily fluids. For example, they separate usable fluids from unusual fluids and send them upward. The kidneys also play an important role in reproduction and growth, which is not acknowledged by modern medicine. According to Eastern medicine, the kidneys are a storage place for Jing (Jeong in Korean), which is a basic substance and essence for our physical existence.
As mentioned in Taoist sexology: Is sex good or bad? Jing is considered to be the three treasures of the human body. Our original Jing is inherited from our parents, while our acquired Jing is developed through the consumption of water, food, and air. Therefore, we can fortify our Jing through proper diet and lifestyle.
According to Eastern medicine, certain bone-related problems could be cured by treating the kidneys, given that the kidneys govern the bones in the body. The kidneys also govern the ears and hair in the head, both of which are also closely related with the level of Jing. Hearing loss, ringing in the ears, an premature graying or thinning hair could be seen as signs of weak kidneys and Jing depletion.
The healthy kidneys shore up our will to survive and to achieve our objectives. Therefore, the healthy functioning of the kidneys helps us to realize our potential and to succeed in life. When our kidneys fail to function properly, we could be subject to the feeling of powerlessness and helplessness. We become also susceptible to fear, the emotion of the Water Element. As we increasingly experience fear and anxiety, it will further debilitate our kidneys since they are greatly affected by fear-related emotions. In order to protect our kidneys, it is important to develop trust in life and to pay attention to the emotion of fear.
According to traditional Eastern medicine, physical signs of weakness in the kidneys include lethargy, low libido, ringing in the ears, pain in the lower back, and circles under the eyes.
Urinary bladder – Yang organ of Water
The bladder is the Yang organ of the Water Element. As the Yang Water organ, the bladder stores urine and regulates urination. It transforms fluids it receives from other organs and excretes them. The bladder works closely with the kidneys, and therefore, the healthy functioning of the kidneys enables the bladder to perform its tasks as well. Qi energy in the kidneys affects urination. When it is deficient, it leads to various urinary problems, such as frequent urination and the inability to control urine.
One of the most common bladder disorders is bladder infection caused by dampness and heat. This disorder tends to afflict women more than men. According to traditional Eastern medicine, its symptoms include frequent micturition, the feeling of incompleteness after urination, a painful sensation during urination, and colored urine.