Hair loss and Alopecia - from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view
The Kidney is one of the major organs in the 5 Zang-Fu Organs. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Our hair, hearing, and bones are all functions maintained by the Kidney organ network and as such, is one of the most important organ networks for maintaining vitality.
Have you ever noticed how for some older people, hair, loss of hearing, and bone-density reduction kind of all happens at the same time? While it is natural to loose hair in later years of life, it is not a good sign if you're seeing pre-mature hair loss. Take this as a sign you might need take a sustained approach to rebalancing the body with a focus on reboosting Kidney vitality
Maintaining the Kidney for healthy hair
TCM believes hair is an extension of our blood. Head hair requires nourished blood to maintain hair strength and continuous hair growth. If the diet is poor, or energy is blocked due to stress, this can cause blood or Qi stagnation, which deprive your scalp of the nourishment it needs. And because your kidneys play a huge role in preserving that precious reservoir of congenital essence in good shape (aka the stuff we get from our parents), the kidney is thus linked back to origin of hair. We get our hair traits from mom and dad of course!
Using TCM terminology, Kidney Yinis the congenital essence, a fixed amount of energy Qi inherited from parents. Kidney Yang is the acquired essence, foods and fluids ingested, which are critical to maintaining the health of the acquired kidney essence.
Lifestyle choices can hurt the congenital Kidney Yin -- so when you overwork or go through stressful periods of our lives, you are burning through Kidney Yin. When Kidney Yin declines, this will trigger a series of health related issues and can trigger pre-mature hair thinning or hair loss. Chinese Medicine looks to replenish the kidney essence and nourish the blood to help support the Kidney Qi deficiency.
If the stored kidney essence and blood are abundant, the hair will appear bright, shiny, and healthy. On the other hand, hair loss or other hair disorders can indicate a kidney or blood deficiency. The elderly or those with chronic diseases, who have a depletion of kidney essence, may have hair that appears coarse and can easy fall out.
Kidney Qi naturally declines but pre-mature hair loss can be a sign of Kidney Qi deficiency
While it is is normal for older people to have hair loss or grey hair, this shouldn't be the case for those in their late 20s to late 30s. This time is a peak period for the body so if you experience hair loss, you would benefit from a holistic health check up to rebalance the Kidney Yin and Kidney Yang.
What defines the peak period? In Chinese Medicine, women's cycles of aging are every 7 years and for men, every 8 years. Do the math and you might now see why at age 28, and 32, women and men, respectively will be at the peak of their cycle. Then at age 35 and 40, women and men, respectively are at beginning to see a decline.
So how can you take a holistic approach to restoring hair loss?
Understand the type of hair loss you have to choose a method of treatment.
Different types of hair loss? What? Yes, there are different TYPES of hair loss. Depending on the type, there are also different herbal treatments. Hair loss from the top of the head, on the front, or the sides all can suggest different body imbalances. To ensure you personalize your approach to hair growth, you must get specific about the type of hair loss you have.
The bottom line.
To improve the health of the kidney and maintain healthy hair with natural herbs, it is important to tonify the Qi, disperse moisture, and consolidate and nourish the Essence of Kidney Yin. Always remember it is important to balance all of these recommendations by incorporating holistic foods, quality sleep, and ensuring a well-balanced lifestyle.
If you are interested in learning more about starting a focused regimen on restoring healthy and quality hair, please contact us for more info, We'd love to help!
My earliest memories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) began in the living room of my childhood home, where my dad, Dr. Sun, held his first Acupuncture space. At a young age, I saw the myriad of herbs he would pull together for his patients. Our basement was an apothecary, our kitchen filled with my pieces from my Operator set, and the living room served patients. After immigrating to New York City from Shanghai in the 1970s, my parents, like many other immigrants of New York, left everything they ever knew, to build a brand new life from scratch.
As a first generation American-born-Chinese kid growing up in NYC, it was hard to understand why my parents didn't pack me Capri-suns and Fig Newtons in my lunchbox. Instead of letting me wear short-shorts and slurp Ralph's Italian ices all Summer long, I was taught to always drinking warm water no matter what, make sure my feet were never freezing cold, and to listen to my body and treat it well.
While having practiced Chinese Medicine for a lifetime with my dad, it wasn't until a few years ago that I truly started to feel like I wanted to step into this world and be a champion of this beautiful, complex, and deeply connected world of ancient healing and wisdom. My friends and family were all beginning to seek holistic and alternative forms of health, and they would come to me and I would send them to my dad.
My turning point came when I saw the wellness industry seem to explode with all sorts of Qi Balancing, Yin Boosting, He Shou Wu touting products for this-that-and the other. Appalled by the lack of direction consumers face today in navigating "what wellness products should I take and why", I felt the need to step up and bring clear and medically supported guidance in navigating the natural way to being well.
I am making a step towards building a lineage of Traditional Healers and continuing the legacy that my dad, Dr. Sun, has created. This is inspired by a life long learning of my own culture and heritage that came thousands of years before me. And together we will learn, appreciate, and share the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Welcome to a world of inspiration: here to teach you how to listen to your body, feed it what it needs, and give you the tools to understand how to rebalance the yin to your yang with everyday foods.
Modern Chinese Wellness, from my family to yours.
- Jennifer Sun