If you've ever seen an acupuncturist before, they may have told you that one of your organs is weak or overly stressed. While this can be a frightening assessment, it's important to understand the difference between traditional Chinese medicine's assessment of the organs and western medicine's assessment. This guide will explain what your acupuncturist meant and why you shouldn't panic.

West vs East

The first thing you should know about the assessment of organs in eastern and western medicine is that the understanding of what organs do is different. For example, western medicine states that kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins and waste products out of the blood, and for producing urine. However, eastern medicine believes that kidneys have a much large role to play, as they're also tied to the health and wellness of your knees and lower back. Traditional Chinese medicine also states that kidneys are the source of original energy in the body and that certain foods or activities can dissipate this energy, leaving a person weak or exhausted.


Finding out that your organs are weak when speaking to an acupuncturist is completely different from speaking to a western doctor. If a western doctor tells you that your kidneys are ailing, it usually means that you have kidney disease, kidney failure, or another serious problem with your kidneys that could put your life at risk. However, if an acupuncturist tells you that your kidneys are weak or need nourishment, it means that they lack the qi, or energy, that they need. Acupuncture treatment, herbs, and changing your lifestyle can give your kidneys the boost they need to return to their original health, but obviously, kidney disease or kidney failure require much more serious measures. Your western doctor may tell you that there's nothing wrong with your kidneys even after your acupuncturist tells you there's a problem because they see the function of the kidneys differently.

Overly Stressed

If your acupuncturist tells you that one or more of your organs are overly stressed, this probably means that some of your organs are weak and the others are picking up the slack. For example, a weak kidney without treatment may ultimately put stress on your gallbladder or your liver. In traditional Chinese medicine, organs work like they're on a production line; if one organ isn't pulling its weight, the others have to expend more energy and become stressed out trying to make up the difference.

If your acupuncturist tells you that there's a problem with your organs, don't panic. It doesn't mean that you're experiencing organ failure, need a transplant, or that you're going to die. Traditional Chinese medicine monitors how much qi your body is producing and the types of qi it's producing, and if your organs aren't performing those duties properly, your acupuncturist will work with you to get them back in shape. Your overall health will benefit as a result.