Bladder & Kidney Imbalances in Horses

Does your horse suffer from lower back or hock problems? Or is he excessively fearful or spooky? If so, he may very well have an imbalance within the Bladder or Kidney meridian, as viewed by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

In continuing with my 6-part series on TCM imbalances, this week, I’m going to focus on the these two sister meridians.

Just to recap, there are 12 major meridians (energetic pathways) in the body, each associated with a specific organ. When chi energy becomes blocked or depleted, imbalances occur and problems can arise (seen as physical or emotional symptoms).

The purpose of this series is to help you recognize an imbalance within the different meridians and also to give you, the horse owner, a few acupressure points which can be used to help. (Remember, acupressure is the same as acupuncture, only with finger pressure instead of needles.) Of course, there are other therapies which can be beneficial as well (herbs, massage, chiropractic, etc.), but acupressure is at least something you can learn to do yourself.

Also to recap, chi energy continuously flows throughout the 12 meridians in a 24 hour cycle. In Western terminology, this is known as the circadian rhythm.

time flow chi energy

So, we’ll start with the Bladder meridian, which has the time period between 3:00 and 5:00 PM. This means symptoms of an imbalance may be exacerbated during this time period.


Bladder Meridian Imbalances

The bladder meridian has more acu-points than any other meridian. It’s also the most commonly assessed meridian by practitioners since it contains special acu-points which relate with every other meridian in the horse. These are known as Association or Back Shu points.

The meridian runs from just in front of the eye, down the neck, along the back (on either side of the spine), down the outer hind leg, and ends at a point on the outer coronary band. It can be seen here.

If there’s an imbalance within the bladder meridian, it may manifest as one of the following:

  • urinary tract problems (obviously!)
  • lower back problems
  • hock problems
  • muscle cramps in hindquarters
  • arthritis


Using acupressure is one of the best ways help restore balance in your horse. Here are a few points you can use for a bladder meridian imbalance:

Bladder Points



Kidney Meridian Imbalances

The kidney meridian is closely related with the bladder meridian. In TCM, the Kidney houses something called ‘Jing’, which can be described as our ‘life essence’ or pool of energy which nourishes and fuels the body. The kidney is also associated with bones in TCM; it controls growth and healing of all bones, including teeth. Additionally, the kidney is related to sexual function as well as survival instinct and fear. The kidney meridian starts at the back of the hind hoof, just between the heel bulbs. It continues up the inner hind lack, circles over the hock, then goes up toward the groin, along the underside of the abdomen and ends on the chest. It can be seen here.

When the Kidney meridian is out of balance, it may manifest as:

  • bone problems, including fractures
  • dull, lifeless hair
  • irregular estrous cycles, fertility problems
  • low sperm production
  • periodontal disease
  • fear or timidity


And here are a few acupressure points which can help restore balance within the kidney meridian:


Kidney Points



Just a few reminders when using acupressure: Only use slight finger pressure with either your forefinger or thumb. Hold each point for approximately 15 seconds or until you see or feel a release (large exhale, licking and chewing, yawning, etc.). Work the same acu-points on both sides of the horse’s body. To learn more about using acupressure, check out this post.







Hi! My name is Casie Bazay. I'm a mom, a freelance writer, and a certified equine acupressure practitioner.

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4 Responses

  1. Carri E Smith says:

    Wow…I think there may be an imbalance in my boy’s kidney meridian…he has a parrot mouth and broken front teeth (I have no idea what happened to him when he was younger). He spooks at things that make no sense…like stall mats that weren’t there before and turning on the fan…when he’s not expecting it. He’s not timid…but he is fearful/insecure. Are those the only two points that can be used on the kidney meridian? Thank you!

  2. Linnea says:

    Great text about imbalances! Will there be one for Liver-Gallbladder and Pericardium, San Jiao? I’m studing acupuncture for horses in Sweden and just can’t get enought about TCM!

    • Casie says:

      Thanks, Linnea. 🙂 I didn’t finish this series out because there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of interest in it, but maybe I will in the future. I love TCM too. So many people (especially here) are skeptical of it, but I think it’s starting to catch on more. Good luck to you in your acupuncture studies!

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