According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the kidneys house the life force jing. Jing is like a bank account. Parents pay a certain amount of money into the account at the time of birth of their child – depending on how much they can afford. Parents with a lot of jing can pay more, parents with a weak constitution less. If you are born with a fat savings account, you can afford a lot. Some people can do what they want without getting sick or looking tired, and they are still fit even after partying for five days in a row. That’s what is referred to as having a constitution like a horse. But if there are only few savings in the account, then one has to earn some more money to avoid going bankrupt prematurely. In the case of jing, bankruptcy means death. All life force has been used up. Joki Kirschner, an iconic figure of the Austrian positive thinking movement, once said about money: ‘Money will make you happy if you make sure well in advance that you have it when you need it.’ It’s the same with the life force jing. One can build up life force based on a moderate life style, a healthy diet, sufficient exercise and the right attitude. And one should do this in good time.

Problems related to the water element generally affect precisely those areas where, in old age, it becomes obvious that jing is waning: teeth, ears, hair, bones, the brain and the reproductive organs. Chronic dental problems or the premature loss of teeth are a sign of a weak water element, as are impotence, prostate problems, osteoporosis, forgetfulness and tinnitus. When water is weak it can no longer control the heat in the body so that inflammations may occur, usually in areas related to the water element – the ears, the bladder and the gums. Fire, in conjunction with a weak water element, has a tendency to rise upwards in the body, which predominantly affects sleep. Restlessness, nervousness, and difficulties falling asleep are the result. And it’s of course the area of the kidneys which particularly suffers when water is deficient. Many forms of lower back pain, including slipped discs, can be attributed to the water element. The following suggestions have proven helpful in cases of a weak water element. But for any of the symptoms mentioned above we strictly advise to see a doctor, especially since problems related to the water element may have more serious underlying causes.

EXERCISE

Still waters may run deep but they have the tendency to become turbid, foul and muddy if there is no supply of fresh oxygen. For still waters it is thus important to maintain at least a little bit of movement. Figuring out a suitable sport for water types by means of elimination is therefore not easy. Team sports are out, as are any shallow and trendy sports. Running round in circles? What a pointless exercise – thanks but no thanks. Martial arts? Possibly, since martial arts were originally a method of self-realisation. Nonetheless, water ty pes tend to avoid fighting with others. By the same token, when it comes to physical exercise they like to avoid challenging themselves. For water types, exercise is a means to an end, a means for going deeper. This is crucial if you want to draw water types out of their shell. Feeling their bodies allows water types to perceive their corporeal existence.

This is important as otherwise they would become completely detached from their bodies and orbit through the universe like a lost spaceship, unable to clear their mind because their water has become completely overgrown by algae due to the eternal lack of movement. For this reason they most definitely need exercise. But in contrast to wood types exercise is not a way of eliminating anything. Neither do they need to develop the ground beneath their feet like fire types. Even though they are very similar to earth, they don’t have to overcome their home comforts. And they aren’t as hard and brittle as metal types who need a bit of fire to soften their metal so as not to rub people the wrong way. For water types exercise is about using their bodies to build a bridge between the hidden treasures lying deep within and the outside world.

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