By Marisa Fanelli
Acupuncture can make you look younger.
I’m not talking about cosmetic acupuncture, although that can be effective, too. I’m talking about using acupuncture to strengthen your five most essential organ systems—Kidney, Spleen, Liver, Lung, and Heart—so that you are systemically healthier.
This can not only make you feel younger but actually prevent physical signs of aging.
Remember that “organ” in acupuncture is different from organs as we think of them in Western medicine. An organ system in acupuncture includes the anatomical organ as well as the meridians that connect to that organ, the functional or energetic qualities of the organ, and even the associated emotions of the organ.
Here’s how each of the five essential organ systems influences the aging process.
Kidney Is the Aging King
Kidney is the primary player in determining how we age. A deficiency of the Kidney system can lead to premature aging, causing you to look weathered, wrinkled, and old sooner than you should.
Kidney is the system associated with hair and bones, so premature graying and osteoporosis are common in people with Kidney issues. Dental problems and poor hearing are other signs of a Kidney imbalance, as teeth and ears belong to this system as well.
The reason Kidney plays such a big role in aging has to go with something called jing, a concept unfamiliar to most Westerners. Jing, which is made by the Kidneys, essentially is the fuel that keeps us alive. It is a physically intangible force that dictates how many years we have, and whether those years will be spent in good or bad health.
We are all born with a certain amount of jing, and some people are dealt a better hand than others—their “jing jars” are naturally full. However, this doesn’t mean people with meager jing jars are doomed.
Through lifestyle choices, we can affect how quickly we burn through our jing fuel. Getting adequate rest, eating right, avoiding stress, and using preventive therapies like acupuncture can all help preserve your jing and promote a longer, healthier life.
Tighten Your Muscles with Spleen
The Spleen is the organ system in charge of muscles. A weak Spleen can lead to flabby, flaccid muscles, while people with strong Spleen systems tend toward firm, toned physiques.
The Spleen is especially vulnerable to sugar. When people have imbalances in their Spleen system, they’ll commonly mention sugar cravings. Overindulgence in sugar can cause not only weight gain but sagging skin, because the Spleen becomes too weak to perform its function of holding things in place.
For a firm, youthful appearance, keep your Spleen happy by moderating sugar intake.
Loosen Up with Liver
Remember how flexible and resilient you were as a kid? That’s because you had an abundance of free-flowing Liver energy. As adults, under the stressors of everyday life, this Liver energy often becomes stuck, creating a very common pattern known in acupuncture as Liver Qi Stagnation.
Stuck Liver Qi causes symptoms that many of us write off as normal signs of aging. We feel stiff upon waking and after exercising, bending and reaching becomes difficult, movement in general feels more restricted.
The Liver system is responsible for smooth flow throughout the body, and it nourishes the connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments. Many of these supposed symptoms of old age improve when the Liver becomes more balanced.
Breathe Life into Your Lungs
Ever notice how people who exercise regularly radiate vitality? Their cheeks glow, their eyes are bright—they look youthful. From an acupuncture perspective, this is because exercise helps keep the Lung system strong.
In acupuncture, the Lungs initiate the whole process of how energy, or qi, flows throughout the body. The Lung system takes in qi from the air we breathe and turns it into a substance that nourishes all of the organs and meridians.
When the Lung system is in balance, the breath is deep and invigorating. This leads to greater energy for movement, which in turn balances out the other organ systems. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that breathes life into your physical and emotional being.
Whenever possible, breathe and move!
Heart Health Is Happiness
We’ve all met people who can laugh at themselves and people who take life too seriously. Who seems younger?
In acupuncture, each organ system has an associated emotion, and joy is the emotion of the Heart. When your Heart system is balanced, you feel lighter and happier. You feel more at peace with what’s behind you and more optimistic about what lies ahead. This attitude reflects liveliness. It makes you seem young.
Acupuncture helps keep the Heart system balanced so that you can experience joy, learn to laugh at life, and feel youthful.