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Chinese medicine views the organs not as separate entities, but as connected physical, chemical, and energetic networks. Here, we’ll dive deeper into the Chinese medicine concept of the Urinary Bladder system and how we can use herbal medicine to boost our health.
(Note: we will capitalize “Urinary Bladder” when discussing the Chinese medicine Urinary Bladder system to differentiate from the general organ of the bladder.)
The main functions of the Urinary Bladder system in Chinese medicine are to store and excrete urine, stabilize the back and legs, and stimulate the brain and spine.
Emotions: fear, lack of willpower, insecurity
Sense Organ: Ears
Paired Organ: Kidney
Western Associations: bladder
Other Associations: urethra, spine, neck, sacrum, knee, achilles tendon
Common Conditions: neck pain, low back pain, knee pain, upper back aches, incontinence, urination conditions, urinary tract infections, edema, headaches, seizures, cognitive disorders, brain injury, stroke, rigidity, onset of colds.
In Chinese medicine, the organs are differentiated as “zang” or “solid” organs and “fu” or “hollow” organs. The fu organs create, store, or transmit fluids through the body.
The Urinary Bladder is a fu organ, offering an empty space to store urine and later excrete it. This is about the extent of the bladder’s function in Western medicine, but in CHinese medicine it has a few more responsibilities.
As we’ll see below, the Urinary Bladder channel is long and transverses the entire back side of the body. It can be used to treat pain anywhere along the back, hips, or back of the legs, knees, ankles, and feet.
Because it travels along the entire spine, the Urinary Bladder channel and system can influence the brain, spine, and nervous system. This includes the nerves that innervate each organ. As such, it can be used to restore the health of nearly all other organ systems.
Each organ in Chinese medicine is associated with an energetic channel where qi travels along the body, closer to the surface of the skin. These channels create a web of connections and are how acupuncturists “tap” into the body’s energetic system to stimulate change.
The Urinary Bladder channel is long and widespread. It contains the most acupuncture points of any channel, and can be used to treat issues from head to toe.
The channel begins at the inner canthus of the eye, then moves across the top of the head to the nape of the neck. An internal branch connects with the brain.
From the neck, it splits into two branches to descend alongside the spine: one branch sits about 2 body inches from the spine, the second branch about 4 inches from the spine. It descends through the sacrum and moves internally to connect with Kidney and Bladder organs.
Then, the channel flows through the hip and down the backside of the leg to the knee, lower leg, achilles tendon, and the outside of the foot. It ends at the outside of the little toe.
The Urinary Bladder organ may seem simple, but the Chinese medicine system and channel pathway of the Urinary Bladder is complex. This organ system can be used to treat a wide range of conditions. Here are a few of the most common formulas that support and balance the Urinary Bladder system to help you achieve better health.
Ba Zheng Wan is a famous formula for urinary tract infections and cystitis. It uses cooling and antimicrobial medicinals to reduce inflammation and clear infections in the urinary bladder and urinary tract. It may also be used to reduce swelling or inflammation of the prostate.
Ge Jie Da Bu Yin Wan is a strengthening formula that is most commonly used in cases of weakness and exhaustion paired with issues like stiff backs, incontinence, and dizziness. While this formula strongly supports the Kidney to address these issues, it also has an effect on the Urinary Bladder system to help re-establish the health of the internal organs and skeletal system.
This formula targets the Urinary Bladder, Kidney, and prostate gland to reduce swelling, inflammation, pain, and pressure on the prostate and bladder. It helps to reduce systems of an enlarged prostate (like painful, frequent urination), but can also improve related issues like low back pain or urinary tract infections.
From aching backs to UTIs, herbal medicine can help you create balance in the Urinary Bladder. Shop our full collection of Chinese herbal formulas for better health today!