Are Your Kidneys Your Weakest Link?

by Peter TS Melnychuk

Your Gut Feeling

[This article is the third in a series summarizing information in French osteopath Jean Pierre Barral’s Understanding the Messages of Your Body (North Atlantic Books, 2007)]

If you are like most Mosaic magazine readers, you are curious about what creates Illness and what creates Health. The 21st century has brought us a more inspired dialog around this topic and much of it is directed to the “body-mind connection.”

In the Winter 2008 issue of Mosaic I wrote on JP Barral’s take on the body-mind connection – specifically the internal organs and their interaction with what he calls the Big Boss – the brain. He reveals that the brain, once overstressed, copes with emotional overload by discharging specific stressors into specific organs. Parental issues, for an example, are generally routed to the liver. Barral further observes that a struggling internal organ triggers a predictable emotional behaviour in a person, which in turn results in a precise set of physical pains and symptoms. The loop is completed when these pains and symptoms are looped back to the brain.

We are wired, then, to allow a psychosomatic cycle of “emotion-organ-behaviour-organ.” It is not difficult to imagine how a negative version of this feedback loop can spiral into illness; but our knowledge of the loop can help us construct a positive loop that builds our health. Any good work we do to heal an emotional wound will also support the health of an associated organ. The reverse is also true. With therapies like Visceral Manipulation we can improve the health and function of the internal organs. This physiological improvement will help transform our behaviour (less pain, more energy, healthier eating, deeper uninterrupted sleep, more resistance to stress), and consequently improve our emotional state.

In this instalment of YGF, we address the kidneys. The kidneys manage and allocate the 70% of our body weight that is made up of water. They produce certain hormones, and convert proteins into urea and uric acid. Along with the liver, the kidneys are the big kahunas in the detoxification process. They filter 1500 liters of blood and extract about 1 1/2 litres of urine daily!

Sometimes our kidneys perform poorly because of genetics or illness. But they can also cause problems because they have slipped (“ptosed”) from where they are ideally situated, into an unfortunate position in the body. This can be the result of a number of factors including

  • a fall on the tailbone
  • rapid weight loss
  • poor posture
  • mental depression
  • severe physical trauma
  • chronic coughing
  • as a result of surgery or giving birth

Here are the emotional tendencies and physical symptoms of those whose weakest link is their kidneys.


Emotional Tendencies:

There is a thread of fear underlying the behaviour of kidney people. Most are vulnerable to insecurities and self-doubts. There are intermittent bouts of pessimism. Fear of abandonment is not uncommon. Those with the weakest kidneys may betray serious existential fear around accidents or natural disasters that might happen. It is not unusual for them to possess a latent rage.

These vulnerabilities are often camouflaged in kidney people by their remarkable capacity to push themselves beyond their own limits (sometimes to their benefit, other times not). When their kidneys feel good, they are live wires, and their energy is infectious. In spite of their doubts, they feel compelled to lead, but in a way that is uncomfortable with dissent. They are remarkably generous.

Physical Symptoms:

Deep fatigue, overall lack of strength; dark, sometimes puffy circles under the eyes; dull, limp hair; swollen legs and feet; sensitivity to cold; variable blood pressure; lower back pain that is worst upon rising; lower back (lumbar) pain at night, even while lying down (back pain due to spinal or muscular misalignment will usually be relieved by lying down); short waves of pain in back or stomach due to crystals  (kidney stones in the making) in the urine; cloudy urine that smells of ammonia; certain sacroiliac, groin, and foot pains (related to kidneys that have descended (‘ptosed’) & have impinged on key nerves).

Peter Melnychuk is a Visceral Manipulation Practitioner working in Edmonton and Calgary. He serves as a VM Teaching Assistant for the Barral Institute. He is also a Certified Chi Nei Tsang Instructor, Practitioner and RMT. Check out his website at 

 Note: This information is for educational purposes only. It is intended to supplement your current health program and not to replace the care of a doctor.  For diagnosis or treatment of any disease please consult a licensed physician.

2009 Peter Melnychuk. This article was adapted from a piece first published in the Summer 2009 edition of Mosaic Magazine, & is reprinted with permission.