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Effect of having 3 kidneys


Submitted By: pi

Can anyone tell me what effect having 3 functioning kidneys can have on the body according to Chinese medicine? Does it have any adverse affects? How would that impact using the Kidney points?



It is a somewhat common mis-interpretation to too closely associate the physical organs with the meridian systems. When we say someone has liver qi stagnation, for example, it is common for the patient to run to the doctor and have their liver checked. An imbalance in a meridian does not necessarily correlate to a problem with the associated physical organ and vice versa. A third kidney or even having one functioning kidney should not adversely effect the meridian system in any significant way over the long term. The system will accommodate changes in the physical organs and structure such as what happens in phantom limb pain.


Talking about kidneys, I have a friend who's kidneys are in bad shape. He is diabetic, overweight and at his last doctor's checkup the x-ray pictures revealed actual small holes on both kidneys. Along with taking his prescription medications, he is on special diet (to avoid certain type of foods that damage the kidneys), and are also advised to exercise.

After examining the x-rays of the kidneys, the doctor has given him 5-7 years before he'll have to go on to dialisys machine - and we know what that means. Sad as this case is, I am trying to help him and advising him to see an acupuncturist/herbalist to get another opinion. He himself has never been seen by one - just escorting his wife there a few times for neck pain treatments - so I keep pushing him to have another opinion.

What hope can he have? What kind of treatment could be used to help him? At this stage what would be the most effective treatment? Could you please also describe the most likely points to use and why, and also what kind of herbs would you also recommend for strenghtening the kidneys? I know your methods are unique but I still would like to hear some treatment options for this.

Thank you,


Also an interesting question to add to this topic - and I by no mean I do expect anyone to answer it - but there are probably people who have experimented with this already:
What is the case of an artificial organ implant? Does the meridian related to that particular organ remains the same? Does it still follow the same path and is the Chi still keeps flowing with the same intensity? Chi 'nurishes' the living organs so I'd be curious to find out what it does when an implanted artificial object is placed in place of a living thing.

Anyone heard any information on this?



Type II Diabetes is treatable with Chinese Medicine, dietary changes, and exercise. For related patterns and treatment points you can read my section on diabetes treatment.

As you point out, once he has begun dialysis, his prognosis is very poor. Having let things go this far without making appropriate lifestyle changes also leads to a poorer prognosis, but all is not lost. He will, however, have to take his treatments very seriously along with the lifestyle and dietary recommendations that his practitioner will (or at least should) make.

Our methods are somewhat unique, but acupuncture in general has reasonable results with type II cases. We follow some of what is illustrated within the general TCM section of the site (the link above, for example) and then add in other points mostly related to the nervous system functions and organ control. For Type II we often find blockages at T7 and T8 on the right side and open the "sky window" area using points such as TH 17 and TH 16 on the side that is most painful. The majority of the success relies on the patients willingness to change and their desire to live. Diabetes is a sad condition in many ways as most people are not aware of how disabling the end stages of the condition is and once you are there it is hard to get out of the situation.

If he wants to live, have him find a reasonably skilled practitioner and begin treatments immediately.


This phenomena would be hard to study until there is a consistently verifiable way to measure the flow of qi within the meridians. As the meridians are only loosely associated with the physical structures, I would say that an implant or a organ that is surgically removed would have little long term effect on the meridian. I don't feel anything will strongly effect the meridian enough to change it's course (even losing limbs). You can see this in clinical practice just by the fact that acupuncture works at all. If the meridians were being damaged/moved/altered, etc. by disease states you wouldn't have a reliable method to find and use points and the whole practice of acupuncture would be obsolete or at least vastly different.


Once again thank you for the answer.

Another interesting question is paralyzed - or partially paralyzed - people.

This one person I know had several mild strokes which eventually ended him in a wheelchair with most of his lower body paralyzed. There is not much blood flow in this part of his body and upon visiting an acupuncturist, he was told that they can't do anything. Because of the very slow blood flow, the chi (flow) is also nearly non-existent in his lower body, therefore acupuncture treatment is not an option.

Is there any help for paralyzed people, and if so, what would be a reasonable limit where an acupuncturist just have to say sorry can't do much, or if there is at least some slow movements can there be hope for improvements?

Any experience with this?

Thank you,

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