Conversations from Clinic

The Bladder Meridian

Moving on from the Small Intestine along the energetic body clock time line, we come to 3pm and the Bladder meridian. We will return to the other two Fire officials later but for now, let’s dive in to the Water element starting with the Yang channel, the Bladder. Fire may animate, warm and invigorate us but water is the basis of life. The Yin Yang pair of Kidney and Bladder work together to preserve our deepest essence. It is the Bladder channel that contracts when we are exposed to cold weather or a cold or flu virus. Sometimes one of the earliest signs of catching a chill can be more frequent urination.

The Bladder Meridian pathway

Another early symptom can be headache, stiff neck or painful upper back because the Bladder channel runs from the corner of the eye, over the top of the head and down the back of the neck before running either side of the spine and down the back of the legs, along the outside of the foot and exiting from the little toe. If you notice any cold or stiffness along this pathway, rug up, eat warm foods and rest to help your body push out the cold. Learn to listen to these signals from the Bladder channel especially as the weather gets cooler. In herbal medicine we use warming foods such as cinnamon, ginger and date to build resilience in winter. 

The emotion associated with the Water element is fear.  The fear of the Bladder and Kidney channels is deep, subconscious, existential fear around survival such as financial or physical security. As you can imagine, fear makes us contract from the world, from each other, from things we feel may harm us. When we have appropriate levels of concern we call it wisdom but sometimes the fear is greater than the actual risk and can leave us frozen, unable to face change or go with the flow. Everybody has different risk tolerance levels based on their own needs and life experiences. It can be threatening to us when other people take risks that we would not. 

In some people with a Water constitution the Bladder channel is hyper-vigilant. They can present as having a nervous disposition, easily startled and quick to react or else restless and never sitting still. Over an extended period of time these types of nervous system responses are very exhausting so one can end up feeling the urge to act but not have the stamina to do so which causes further stress to the individual. If you feel this could be a pattern you drop in to, it is important to address the underlying fears rather than focus on external manifestations such as fear of or for others or the need to micro-manage things that are beyond your immediate control.
How do I care for my Bladder meridian?
Seek reassurance from those you trust. A Water type often keeps their feeling very hidden even from themselves. Keeping fears hidden does not make them go away but as I mentioned earlier, creates constant underlying stress that is very draining. The power of the Bladder meridian is that it gives us a strong spine to face what may seem insurmountable challenges. By allowing fears to surface in a safe environment with someone we trust, either professional or personal, we build resilience, endurance and deep trust that what ever happens we will find the resources to manage it.

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