Few, if any, conditions are as painful as a kidney stone. Passing a kidney stone has been likened to the pain experienced in childbirth. Kidney stones, also known as calculi, are hardened mineral deposits that form in the kidney. The purpose of the kidneys is to filter waste products from the blood and add them to the urine produced in the kidneys. When waste materials in the urine do not dissolve fully, tiny crystals form that can clump together and form kidney stones over time.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the disease belongs to the categories of “sha lin” (strangury form urolithiasis), “shi lin” (strangury caused by urinary calculus) and “xue lin” (strangury complicated by hematuria).
As with most TCM practices, oral administration of herbal extracts as well as acupuncture are recommended for the treatment of kidney stones. The therapeutic principal behind the TCM treatment of kidney stones is to promote the circulation of qi (a person’s energy, or life force), induce urination, relieve the strangury, and shrink or remove the stones.
Depending on the type of stones that have formed, acupuncture, electrotherapy, and ear needling at specific acupuncture points are also used by TCM practitioners to relieve kidney stones,
Good kidney function and preventing the formation of kidney stones is very much a function of diet. Proper hydration by drinking enough water throughout the day is one of the surest ways to prevent stone formation. Other dietary changes and supplements can help prevent, and or reduce, the occurrence of kidney stones. Poor magnesium intake has been linked to kidney stone formation. For some types of stones it has been indicated that reducing your intake of meat, fish, and chicken is a good idea as these foods can stimulate the formation of calcium oxalate stones. Other items in the diet that may encourage calcium oxalate stone formation include beer, black pepper, berries, broccoli, chocolate, spinach, and tea. To prevent stones it has been recommended that you add foods to your diet that have a high ratio of magnesium to calcium such as brown rice, bananas, oats, barley, and soy, and that are high in fiber such as oat bran, psyllium seed husk, and flaxseed meal.
For more information on kidney stones and TCM treatments, please contact Pacific College of Oriental Medicine at (800) 729-0941, or visit www.PacificCollege.edu