Aromatherapy and TCM Face Mapping – the Kidney Meridian

It’s amazing how much of our life’s story, past and present, is told through our face. Since skin is the largest organ of the body this is hardly surprising and the face is probably the most skin on bodies that anyone will ever see, so looking after our faces becomes a priority over other body parts for most of us. By studying skin conditions and changes, we can determine inner balance and stressed areas of the body.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the Five Elements, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal govern all things in the natural world, for us that means bodily, mentally and spiritually. Starting with the Water Element – since up to 75% of our body is made up of water – and its’ organs; according to Chinese physiognomy, Kidneys (Yin) and Bladder (Yang) govern water and manage liquids and vapours in the body, especially the lower part, enabling elimination and detoxification of impure bodily fluids.

Chinese face mapping can help to establish the connection between skin conditions and the systems of the body. An imbalance of the Kidney Meridian is often reflected in the face, below the eyes but also the ears and hair. This imbalance reflected on the face can manifest in dry skin, oily skin, dark circles under the eyes, particularly in this case, breakouts, wrinkles or rashes – eczema and psoriasis.
NB: This disharmony could also mean that the energy of the corresponding organ is out of balance. See next instalment!

Drinking plenty of water and herbal teas will help the kidneys excrete toxins, as we know but the Kidney Meridian can be supported in this process with the help of essential oils, whether applied to the face or the body.

Simple Facial Blend. 15ml jojoba oil, 1 drop of each essential oil below to be used in a facial serum. After cleansing and toning apply 1 to 2 drops to your hands and rub together, pat gently on the face before moisturising – use half the amount of moisturiser if using an oil based serum. You can use more drops in a facial massage before wiping off.

Juniper (juniperus communis) Cupressaceae family: steam distilled from berries, non-toxic, non-sensitising, non-irritant.
A powerful cleansing oil, detoxifying, diuretic and tonic for water retention and oedema; circulatory stimulant for lymphatic congestion (in this case, for the face, it encourages drainage under the eyes). Juniper is also a psychic cleanser, energetically disperses negative energy arising through anxiety, worry and stress; restoring confidence, giving courage and the ability to move forward.
Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica)
Pinaceae family: steam distilled from wood and sawdust, non-toxic, non-sensitising, non-irritant.
Its’ antiseptic and astringent properties can gently treat and improve oily skin and acne. Restores and fortifies inner strength and will-power, encouraging us to hold fast in difficult circumstances. Excellent for treating nervous tension with a balancing action on the nervous system.

Cypress (cupressus sempervirens) Cupressaceae family: steam distillation of needles and twigs, non-toxic, non-sensitising, non-irritant. NB: Short shelf-life
An astringent, styptic, vasoconstrictive e.g. pimples and broken capillaries on the face. Renewal. Encourages openness and contact by dispelling the fear of change and movement.

You can book an Aromatic Acupressure Facial with me at: Aromatic Acupressure Facial
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A physical imbalance in the Kidney meridian can manifest itself in:
Tiredness, low energy level
Lack of concentration and dizziness
Hearing problems / tinnitus
Lower back pain
Foot problems, swollen inner ankles, oedema, weak knees, phlebitis on inner calves
Reproductive problems – impotence, infertility, poor sexual vitality
Urinary incontinence

AND a psychological imbalance in:
Impatience
Restlessness
Inability to move forward
Phobias
Forgetfulness
Lack of will power

Simple Body Blend. 25ml jojoba oil, 4 drops of each essential oil from above. Apply from the feet up, concentrating on upward strokes particularly on the backs of the legs.
The Kidney meridian starts at the sole of the foot and runs up the back of the leg, then comes around the front of the thigh and continues straight up the body to the sternum. This meridian has a controlling relationship over all the meridians as ultimately the amount of yin and yang in the kidneys influences the whole body. We nourish our kidney chi with air and food. Our vital essence/qi/chi is also stored in the kidneys; this is formed at conception and nourishes the foetus during pregnancy, drawing from the mother’s kidneys for sustenance. It is fixed in quality and quantity. It forms our constitutional strength and resistance to disease and interacts with our yin, yang and kidney chi.
NB: More on yin (zang) and yang (fu)in the next instalment.

References:
The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2nd Edition, Salvatore Battaglia
Shiatsu – Chris Jarmey & Gabriel Mojay
Alan Stuart ITHMA 2013 – Aromatic Acupressure & Meridian Massage
Anita James The Seed Institute 2010 – Hot Stone Massage