Bladder Pattern Differentiation in Chinese Medicine
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Bladder Pattern Differentiation in Chinese Medicine

Etiology of Bladder Patterns

The Bladder's main function of transforming and excreting fluids relies on Kidney Yang. Bladder patterns can result not only from Kidney Yang Deficiency, but from accumulation of Dampness as well. Dampness can accumulate in the Bladder as a result of exposure to damp climates, For example; Living, working, or even sitting in damp places. The Bladder also belongs to the Water element and is affected by the emotion of Fear (especially in children), which can deplete Bladder Qi and cause nocturnal enuresis.

Damp Heat in the Bladder


  • Frequent or urgent urination and pain or burning during urination
    - Due to Heat in Bladder
  • Difficult urination, dark yellow, or cloudy urination
    - Due to Dampness obstructing the flow of fluids in the Lower Jiao
  • Gravel or Stones in the urine
    - Due to Dampness congealing
  • Fever and Thirst
    - Due to Excess Heat
  • Tongue: Red with a sticky yellow coating
    - Due to Excess Heat
  • Pulse: Rapid, Slippery, Wiry in the proximal position
    - Due to Dampness and Heat


This is an Interior Excess Heat pattern. It can arise from exposure to exterior Dampness which can penetrate the Bladder from below. Alternatively it can be caused when Dampness builds up in the Lower Burner (as a result of Kidney and/or Spleen Yang deficiency), which then combines with interior Heat. The Heat can arise after long-standing stagnation of Dampness itself, or from another interior Heat condition.

Treatment Principle:

  • Clear heat, resolve Damp, and open the water passages in the Lower Jiao


SP 9 (Yin ling quan), SP 6 (San yin jiao) Resolve Dampness in Lower Burner
BL 22 (San jiao shu) Transformation of fluids in Lower Burner.
BL 28 (Pang guang shu) Back Shu point of Bladder: clears Bladder Heat
Ren 3Z (hong ji) Front Mu point of Bladder: clears Bladder Heat
BL 63 (Jin men) Xi Cleft point of Bladder: stops acute pain
BL 66 (Tong gu) Clears Bladder Heat

Method: Sedation. No Moxibustion

Damp Cold in the Bladder


  • Frequent and urgent Urination, or difficult urination
    - Due to Damp Obstruction
  • A heavy sensation in the hypogastric region and urethra
    - Due to and Obstruction of water passages
  • Pale Cloudy urine
    - Due to Cold and Damp
  • Tongue: White sticky coating in the rear
    - Due to Dampness
  • Pulse: Slippery, slow, and slightly wiry in the Bladder position
    - Due to Damp and Cold


Usually caused by excessive exposure to Exterior Dampness and Cold.

Treatment Principle:

  • Resolve Dampness, expel Cold, remove obstruction from water passages in Lower Jiao


SP 9 (Yinlingquan), SP 6 (Sanyinjiao) Resolve Damp in Lower Burner
BL 22 (Sanjiaoshu) Open Water passages of Lower Burner
Ren 3 (Zhongji), BL 28 (Pangguangshu) Resolve Dampness in Lower Burner
St 28 (Shuidao), Ren 9 (Shuifen) Resolve Dampness in Lower Burner
Resolves Dampness

Method: Sedation. Moxibustion is Applicable

Bladder Deficiency and Cold


  • Frequent, Pale, and Copious Urination
    - Due to Deficiency (Yang) and Cold
  • Incontinence
    - Due to Yang not controlling Fluids
  • Lower Back Pain
    - Due to Kidney Yang Deficiency
  • Tongue: Pale and wet
    - Due to Yang Deficiency
  • Pulse: Weak and deep
    - Due to Yang Deficiency


Arises from Kidney Yang Deficiency. Kidney Yang is insufficient to give the Bladder enough Qi to control fluids, and the fluids therefore 'leak out'. Kidney Yang Deficiency can be caused by excessive sexual activity, or excessive exposure to Damp or Cold climates.

Treatment Principle:

  • Tonify Kidney Yang, Tonify and Warm the Bladder


BL 23 (Shenshu), GV 4 (Mingmen) Moxa to tonify Kidney Yang & Bladder
BL 28 (Pangguangshu) Back Shu points of Bladder; tonifies Bladder
Ren 4 (Guanyuan) tonify Qi and Yang in Lower Burner (with moxa)

Method: Tonification. Moxibustion is applicable.