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 Yin is 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.
Choose functional foods and medicinal herbs.
Poor dietary choices can deplete properly nourishing the congenital Kidney Yin. Medicinal ingredients used in chinese medicine to support the Kidney usually support all things black because the 5 element theory of TCM associates kidney to black foods, so you can try incorporating black fungus mushroom, xiang gu, black sesame, black kidney beans into your diet 4-5x a week.
Seek advice from a professional in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Dr. Sun does not advise taking singular herbs, pills, or vitamins that promise you hair regrowth. Why? In order to take a holistic approach, your body needs a complete yin-yang rebalance.
While adaptogens like He Shou Wu are becoming widely popular, it is very important to take caution when self-healing with popular herbs. Take notice of the type of hair loss you have to understand the root of what needs healing. It could be hormonal, stress, or blood deficiency related. Taking a holistic approach to rebalancing your health is the best way to achieve sustained results. And give it some time! Your body wasn't created overnight, nor will your hair grow back overnight.
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!