If you suffer from chronic cystitis or recurring bladder infections and are looking for natural ways to prevent urinary tract infections (UTI), discover how to reduce the risk of recurring infections with Chinese Reflexology. While there are many natural cures and remedies online, many of these only address the infection. To prevent chronic UTIs, you need to look at the root cause.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a different approach by looking at what makes a person more likely to get a bladder infection in the first place. The TCM approach is about harmonizing and balancing the body to make it less susceptible to urinary tract infections. In a nutshell, a healthy and strong body = no UTIs. Read on to learn what you can do to strengthen your urinary tract and prevent recurring cystitis and bladder issues.
According to an article published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information NCBI website, the majority of women experience a urinary tract infection at least once in their lifetime. I definitely fall into this category. In my twenties, I experienced a bladder infection. The never-ending urge to pee and the burning sensation were awful. I was so glad that the prescribed sulfa drugs did the trick. Naively, I thought that I’d never have to be think about UTIs again. Lol! I wouldn’t be writing this article if that were the case.
In my early thirties, I was working in a very stressful high-tech job. My health suffered as a result, and I had what I refer to as my “year of illness” where I got one weird ailment after another. One of those ailments was a bladder infection—only it was much worse than the one I experienced in college. It wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill bladder infection. It started suddenly and got bad really fast—so bad that I was passing blood, and had to make a sudden trip to the nearest hospital emergency room in the middle of the night.
I took the drugs, which were familiar to me from a decade earlier—and I thought I was in the clear. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the bad pun! However, even though I didn’t get another bladder infection, I still struggled with my health for many months after. I didn’t realize that a bladder infection wasn’t simply an isolated condition. It was indicative of imbalances in my body that were affecting my entire health and well-being. It was only when I discovered Chinese Reflexology that my health started to turn around and improve.
I remember one of the first times I had Chinese Reflexology, the Bladder reflexology point on my foot was excruciatingly painful. The TCM doctor asked me if I had any problems with my bladder. As I didn’t have a urinary tract infection or active case of cystitis, I said, “No.” After all, even though I had a bladder infection a few months earlier, I had taken the prescribed drugs and thought I was “cured.” Little did I know how little I knew…
Looking back, I now understand why the reflexology point for my Bladder was so sensitive. If I had known then what I know now, I would have immediately taken action, and I could have avoided a lot of additional health issues. That’s one of the reasons why I’m writing this article. It’s my hope that if you have a history of chronic bladder infections, you’ll learn some really valuable information from this article. It could change your health and life.
So, here we go…
Let’s first start with the western medical perspective on bladder infections. Basically, a bladder infection is caused by bacteria that gets into the urethra. The urethra is a small tube that is connected to your bladder, and it’s used to pass urine out of the body. In a nutshell, it’s the tube that you pee out of.
When bacteria gets inside the urethra, it can travel up the tube and into the bladder, and result in a bladder infection. Western medicine’s primary focus is on the bacteria that causes cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) and how it gets into the bladder through the urethra. The western medical perspective is that sexual intercourse—frequent sex over a short period of time, often with a new partner, or not peeing after sex—can lead to a bladder infection.
However, other than treating the bacterial infection, western medicine doesn’t have much advice for preventing UTIs, other than to recommend that women immediately urinate after intercourse to help flush out bacteria, and also to drink cranberry juice. The thinking being that the acidity of the cranberry juice will kill the bacteria. However, recently this recommendation is falling out of favor.
Now for the white elephant in the room…
We’re always surrounded by bacteria. It’s EVERYWHERE. So why are some people severely impacted by it when others are not?
Chinese Medicine provides an answer to this very important question. Instead of focusing on the bacteria, Chinese Medicine looks at balancing the body as a whole because when the body is weak and not in balance, that’s when bacteria can proliferate.
One of the fundamentals of balancing the body involves harmonizing the body’s yin and yang elements. Yin represents the fluids and structures of the body. Yin is also associated with the “temperature” of coolness. Yang represents the qi (life force energy) and the body’s processes. It’s associated with the “temperature” of heat.
Temperature is in quotes because in Chinese Medicine, this refers to more than just the literal thermometer temperature. It includes a more encompassing view of balancing yin and yang. Think of it like balancing acidity and alkalinity in the body, so in order for the body to be in harmony, the yin and yang elements must also be in harmony.
Bladder infections are more likely to occur when there’s too much heat and dampness in the bladder—so there’s too much yin (dampness) and yang (heat) accumulated in the bladder. When qi, blood, and fluids are flowing smoothly in the body, this helps to keep heat and fluids in balance and makes it less likely for them to accumulate in one area of the body. However, when qi is not flowing as it should, this can lead to excessive heat and dampness building up.
Pharmaceutical drugs take care of an acute bladder infection by killing the bacteria, but they don’t address the imbalances that cause heat and dampness to accumulate in one’s bladder. The Chinese Medicine view is that if you have a bladder infection, this can weaken the organs and energy meridians that help maintain the balance of yin and yang in the body. That’s why one bladder infection can often lead to another.
In order to eliminate the bladder infections, you need to strengthen your organs and energy meridians to eliminate the accumulation of dampness and heat in the bladder. Addressing the underlying imbalances in the body is the key to permanently prevent chronic bladder infections.
It’s also important to get qi flowing through the bladder because qi helps move the physical fluids in the body and prevents overheating. It’s like keeping the gears running smoothly in an engine. If a wrench jams up the gears, the engine overheats.
So whether you have an acute bladder infection or suffer from chronic UTI, promoting the flow of qi through the bladder helps to clear heat and dampness, which then supports the body in healing itself. This works in a similar way as the recommendation to drink lots of water to flush out the bacteria. Only in this case, instead of water flowing through the bladder to flush bacteria out of the bladder and urethra, you’re promoting the flow of qi to help prevent the accumulation of heat and dampness in the bladder.
In addition to improving the flow of qi through the bladder, it’s also beneficial to avoid foods that contribute to dampness and heat. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, this would include fried foods, hot and spicy foods (hot like hot peppers, not necessarily temperature), alcohol, and excessive sugar and dairy consumption.
There are also two Chinese Reflexology points that you can massage to help keep qi flowing smoothly through the bladder and urethra. This helps minimize the accumulation of heat and dampness.
Massaging the Chinese Reflexology point for the Bladder increases the flow of qi through the Bladder and its corresponding energy meridian, and this has a couple of benefits. First, the improvement in the flow of energy helps to prevent dampness and heat accumulating in the Bladder.
When energy is not flowing smoothly, it often results in heat. It’s like the wrench in the engine gears, and a similar thing occurs in the body. If qi is not flowing smoothly through an area, this can lead to excessive heat. But if you keep the qi flowing this helps prevent heat from building up. Qi also helps move the yin elements of the body, so a smooth flow of qi also helps to minimize a build-up of dampness.
The second benefit of massaging this reflexology point is that it helps strengthen the qi in the Bladder and its corresponding energy meridian. This helps revitalize both the organ and its meridian, which helps prevent bladder infections in the future. Think of it like fortifying a fort. When the defenses are strong, it’s harder for the bacteria to invade and take over.
How to Locate the Bladder Point
CAUTION: Chinese Reflexology does not replace the need for proper medical advice and treatment. If you have a bladder infection, you should immediately see your doctor. Bacteria from the bladder can travel up the urinary tract and infect the kidneys. If left untreated, this can result in kidney damage.
The Bladder’s Chinese Reflexology point is located on both feet. It’s a thumb-width circle where half of the circle is on the inside edge of the foot, and the other half is on the sole of the foot.
To find your Bladder point, you’ll first identify the center of the point, which is located at the intersection of the line formed by the curve of the top of the heel, and the line on the inside edge of the foot where the skin and sole meet.
First use your thumb and feel for the top edge of your heel on the sole of your foot. Then slide your thumb along the top curve of your heel towards the inside edge of your foot. When you get to the line where the skin and sole meet, that’s where the center of the Bladder point is.
Because you slid your thumb to this point, your thumb is now in the perfect position for you to get an approximate gauge for the width and location of your Bladder point.
How to Massage Your Bladder Point
To massage this point, start with your left foot and pull it into your lap so that it is resting comfortably. Press your thumb tip into the point and massage in an up-and-down direction where up is towards the toes and down is towards the heel. For additional leverage, you can wrap the fingers of both hands around your foot and use the tips of both of your thumbs to press and massage this point in an up-and-down direction.
Since the urethra is the entry point for bacteria, massaging this reflexology point is very fortifying to help keep the bacteria from “invading” the urethra. It helps qi flow smoothly through the urethra, but it’s also really important that the qi is flowing in the right direction. For the urethra, the qi should follow the flow of urine through the urethra—down and away from the bladder.
Thus, it’s very important to massage the urethra point the right way because how you massage this point influences the flow of qi through the urethra. You want to always massage in one direction away from the bladder, just like the flow of urine—down and out of the body.
How to Locate the Urethra Point
You located your Bladder point by feeling for the curve of the heel, and now you’ll continue following the curve of the heel along the inside edge of your foot to locate the Chinese Reflexology point for the urethra. This point extends from the Bladder like the tail of a letter “Q”. The urethra point follows the curve of the heel like an arrow directing away from your Bladder point.
How to Massage Your Urethra Point
To massage the urethra reflexology point, you can use either your index finger knuckle or your thumb pad to press into the center of the Bladder point, and then trace a line AWAY from the Bladder following the curve of your heel for about a half an inch. Do NOT massage this point back and forth. You want to massage in a single direction away from the Bladder. When you reach the end of the urethra point, lift up your knuckle or thumb, place it back on the center of the Bladder point, and then repeat the stroke.
Louise Hay, founder of Hay House (publisher of my book, Sole Guidance: Ancient Secrets of Chinese Reflexology for the Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit) was one of the pioneers in identifying the connection between emotions and health. In her book You Can Heal Your Life, she wrote that bladder problems and cystitis were related to anxiety, fear of letting go, holding on to old ideas, and being pissed off.
This is an interesting perspective because in Chinese Medicine, the body’s primary organs are associated with different emotions. The Kidneys’ emotion is fear and the Bladder is related to the Kidneys. Thus, fear is the emotion associated with the Bladder.
Because of these emotional connections, it’s important to look at your life and identify whether there are any toxic situations that may be causing fear or anxiety. In the case of chronic bladder infections, there may be low level anxiety that has been ongoing for a while such as a toxic relationship or environment.
That was certainly the case for me. The first time I had a bladder infection, I was in my twenties. I had started dating someone who was very volatile, and I always felt like I was walking on eggshells, never sure what was going to upset him. In my thirties, I experienced a second bladder infection. At that time, I was working in a toxic job. The work environment was extremely stressful. We pandered to abusive clients with no support from management.
If you’re currently in a toxic situation, I recognize that it might not be possible for you to walk away from it right now. However, it is important to take steps towards change in order to heal your body. That’s because every health challenge is a message from your body letting you know that something in your life needs changing. You can choose to heed your body’s messages or you can choose to ignore them. However, when you ignore these messages, your body will find ways to make the message louder. And that’s usually when small aches, pains or discomforts morph into a major health crisis.
While it’s very important to address the underlying energy imbalances in the body to prevent cystitis and urinary tract infections, you may be wondering, how do you do this? How do you know what imbalances are going on in your body, and how do you fix them?
For the most accurate diagnosis, my recommendation is to go see a licensed acupuncturist. A licensed acupuncturist is trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnostics. They’ll ask you a bunch of detailed questions—many more than what you’d be asked by a typical doctor—in order to determine what’s going on in your body.
They will also examine your tongue and pulse very closely—key markers for identifying imbalances in the organs and meridians—and they’ll even look at your face color to make a diagnosis. After coming to a conclusion, they’ll prescribe a series of acupuncture treatments and possibly Chinese medicinal herbs to bring your body back into balance.
Unlike Western medicine with a “one pill fits all” approach to disease, the Chinese Medicine approach is customized for the individual. Each treatment and herbal prescription is unique to the individual and may even be unique for that particular day of treatment.
I often receive emails from people describing their health ailments and asking which points they should massage. It’s impossible to make a diagnosis from just a single email, and it’s also not the most effective use of my time as I’m a full-time mom and literally receive thousands of emails every year. However, regardless of what is going on with your health, my advice is always the same. You see, the powerful thing about Chinese Reflexology is that you don’t need to have an exact diagnosis to start strengthening your organs and meridians and restore harmony and balance.
With acupuncture, a practitioner needs to identify the exact imbalances in order to choose which acupuncture points to stimulate and which herbs to prescribe. If there is more than one organ or meridian that is weak or out of balance, the acupuncturist may also be faced with the decision of which to treat first. After all, they can’t put needles into every single acupuncture point—there are hundreds of them.
On the other hand, with Chinese Reflexology, you can massage multiple points that target the different primary organs and meridians. Reflexology routines can be customized for each individual, but everyone benefits tremendously by massaging a core set of points—so it’s not just two or three points. To strengthen and balance the body as a whole, you need a holistic approach because a handful of Chinese Reflexology points will not be enough.
One of the best ways to learn about this core set of points is through my book, Sole Guidance: Ancient Secrets of Chinese Reflexology to Heal the Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit. The book is a brilliant introduction to practicing Chinese Reflexology at home. You can find it on Amazon.com and also worldwide. Click here to read more details about where you can get the book, including from public libraries for free.
I also offer two online programs for learning Chinese Reflexology that include guidance and support from me. These programs help you hone in on creating the best reflexology routine to meet your health goals. My 6-week Sole Fundamentals program is an introductory program that is designed to get you up and running quickly. It covers 20 of the most powerful Chinese Reflexology points for strengthening your energy meridians and bringing your body back into balance.
And for those of you who are ready to fully embrace Chinese Reflexology, Sole Mastery is my most powerfully transformative 6-month online program. Students from countries all over the world—including Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Morocco, France, India, Brazil—have enrolled in my online programs. So if you’re interested in learning Chinese Reflexology from me, you can find out more about the programs here.
Because of my time constraints as a full time mom, I teach my online programs once a year. The next session of Sole Fundamentals is scheduled for the spring, and will most likely begin in April or May. However, in the meantime, I do offer a series of free mini lessons on Chinese Reflexology. These lessons also cover the Kidney, one of the most vital organ and energy meridian for health and vitality. The Kidney is also very beneficial for chronic bladder infections because of the TCM relationship between the Kidney and the Bladder.
You can learn all about this vital reflexology point in my free mini online course. If you’re not a subscriber to my newsletter, I invite you to sign up with the form below. In addition to the series of free mini lessons on Chinese Reflexology, you’ll also get my monthly newsletter packed with wisdom for your health and vitality, and a free downloadable foot chart. Discover more about the connection between your Chinese Reflexology points and your overall health and well-being.
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