Ever since I first found out that the kidneys take part in the breathing process, I couldn’t help but wondering: How did the ancient Chinese figure that out? Whenever I could, I ran various experiments with breathing on myself, and I came across several rather curious observations that may shine some light on the kidneys’ part in the breathing process. Of course, there is no way of knowing whether or not my experiments resemble the ones that contributed to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), but considering that the philosophy of TCM is not based on faith but observation, these experiments shouldn’t be too far off.
Whenever you run to the point of being out of breath, you can witness the following: As you are trying to catch your breath, you are inhaling a lot of air, much more than you actually need. Yet, you feel that whatever you are inhaling is insufficient. Apparently, we judge whether or not we’ve inhaled enough air by the feeling of satisfaction that normally comes with every regular inhalation, and you find yourself gasping when the air that you draw in doesn’t bring you that satisfaction. In a minute or two, you start catching your breath, and this is when things become interesting. At this point, you can feel something tightening in your back, grasping an inhalation every time its movement reaches the inferior portions of your kidneys. And once that happens, every breath from that point on begins to bring the sense of relief (that is, satisfaction) as you continue catching your breath more and more. While this phenomenon is easier to observe after you run for a while, it also occurs in all other activities you do, because they all require breathing.