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In April 2018 I had a series of energy healing sessions that catalyzed a very productive “healing crisis”. It began with a session that said my kidneys were the healing priority, and that the emotion of fear was affecting optimal functioning of my kidneys. To my knowledge I had no major health issues at the time, although I’d recently been through two incidents of being robbed, so I wondered if it was related to the stress of those experiences. It turned out to be related to something more deeply rooted…

Shortly afterward, I had a red-eye flight and noticed right away that my body was swollen. It was still swollen over a week after I returned from my trip, and unable to get a good night’s sleep. I also noticed I felt very agitated and anxious for no apparent reason.


Lack of Medical Support for Detection and Prevention

I saw my primary care physician who dismissed my symptoms as just what happens as people get “old” — I was 43 at the time! The doctor ran a basic metabolic panel and told me everything was normal. 

Looking over the test results, something stood out to me: my eGFR rate, the number associated with how well your kidneys are working, was 62 — very close to levels associated with stage 2 chronic kidney disease (Chen, et al., 2019). 

My grandfather had kidney disease, so it jumped out as a red flag to me. When I asked my primary care physician about it, she dismissed my concerns because other metrics on the test results showed as normal to her. I decided to get a second opinion. 

The internist I saw was someone the supervising doctor assured me had specialized knowledge that would be able to help me. However, despite letting him know my reason for the visit, he completely ignored my concerns and questions about what had happened and if it could be related to decreased kidney function. 

When I pushed him about it, he did a little digging and put in my age, weight, race, and other vital stats into a health app which calculated what my eGFR rate should be: 89. He was shocked but refused to refer me to a kidney specialist. Instead, he ordered an ultrasound for my bladder which found nothing, and there was no followup recommendation. I left feeling confused and frustrated!

After more research, I discovered that the prevailing point of view seems to be that kidney function cannot be improved once it has deteriorated, but that lifestyle changes can slow progression (American Kidney Fund, 2023). I learned that doctors are generally taught that prevention for kidney disease mostly consists of treatment for diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, which are currently identified as the primary causes (American Kidney Fund, 2023). It helped me realize that since I don’t have any of these issues, that may be part of why my concerns were dismissed so easily by my doctors.

Symptoms that arise from energy work can point toward underlying root patterns

In my next energy healing session, my body said it wanted to take a look at how a series of traumatic early childhood events were contributing to the decreased functioning of my kidneys. My body said it wanted to reverse some epigenetic changes that developed from witnessing neighborhood violence and also from being hospitalized – both events occurring by the age of three. I have a recollection of both of these events, from my own memory and also from stories I heard shared from others who where there at the time.

Early childhood trauma is a specific set of experiences that occur before the age of eight that have been linked to chronic health issues in otherwise healthy individuals. Taking the Adverse Childhood Experiences Survey (ACES) can help determine if you are at risk. Although originally defined as experiences of childhood neglect and abuse, it has now been expanded to include serious injury or illness, extended hospitalization, bullying, witnessing violence, or other major life disruptions such as death of a parent or divorce (Afifi et al., 2020). 

After the session, and after the next few sessions, I experienced an incredible amount of abdominal discomfort that I had never felt before.

Instead of feeling frustrated that I experienced an onset of uncomfortable symptoms, I started doing research to see if there was any evidence for a connection between inflammation in the gut and chronic kidney disease.

I found an article that linked early childhood trauma to a disruption of the gut microbiome (Callaghan, et al., 2020), and another one that linked inflammatory proteins being overproduced in the gut to chronic kidney disease (Kiryluk, et al., 2014). It was with this information that I started to focus on gut health and reducing inflammation in the gut. 

With the insight that my symptoms were linked to early childhood trauma, I continued focusing my energy healing and traditional therapy sessions on addressing the emotional and energetic dimensions of the imbalances along with healing the gut and continuing to unwind the underlying patterns of stress my body had been holding. 

I revamped my schedule and prioritized rest, especially sleep and daily exercise (Monda, et al., 2017). I prioritized meditation for stress reduction as well as the anti-inflammatory and microbiome-balancing benefits (Househam, et al., 2017). I integrated intermittent overnight fasting with a periodic 5-day fast-mimicking diet which worked very well despite the lack of clinical research to support it as an effective intervention for reducing gut inflammation. 

In addition, I started my day with a tablespoon of raw psyllium husk dissolved in water (El- Salhy, et al. 2017), cut out all sugar (Nilholm et al., 2019), and made sure to drink a large cup of peppermint tea throughout the day (Cronkleton, 2019). 


In April 2018 my eGFR rate was 62 and stayed that way for most of the year before I began focusing on healing inflammation in the gut. By April 2021 my eGFR rate was 88, the expected filtration rate for someone my age and weight. 

If I relied on the medical model for diagnosis and treatment, my underlying gut issues and trauma would have gone unaddressed, with the possibility of my kidney health continuing to deteriorate over time. If I’d relied on the energy healing alone, I may have been stuck on the idea that those sessions made things worse and given up altogether! By combining energy healing with integrative health coaching, my body was able to have its underlying needs met by combining evidence-based interventions for early childhood trauma and gut inflammation with energy healing strategies, at a point of early detection when my body had time to heal and reverse the impact of stress my body had been holding onto my whole life!

In addition, I found no reference to the link between gut health and chronic kidney disease on any of the chronic kidney disease advocacy websites I looked into. I was only able to find it by following the messages of my body and by doing a literature review on the pubmed database to see if anything would come up. Fortunately something did!

The result is that my kidney function was restored with the ability to focus my health and wellness routine around strategies for deep and lasting change.







Afifi, T. O., Salmon, S., Garcés, I., Struck, S., Fortier, J., Taillieu, T., Stewart-Tufescu, A., Asmundson, G. J., Sareen, J., & MacMillan, H. L. (2020). Confirmatory factor analysis of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) among a community-based sample of parents and adolescents. BMC Pediatrics, 20(1).

Callaghan, B., Fields, A., Gee, D., Gabard-Durnam, L., Caldera, C., Humphreys, K., . . . Tottenham, N. (2020). Mind and gut: Associations between mood and gastrointestinal distress in children exposed to adversity. Development and Psychopathology, 32(1), 309-328. doi:10.1017/S0954579419000087 

Chen, T. K., Knicely, D. H., & Grams, M. E. (2019). Chronic Kidney Disease Diagnosis and Management: A Review. JAMA, 322(13), 1294–1304. 

Cronkleton, E. (2019, August 30). The best teas to drink for relief from IBS symptoms. Healthline. Retrieved January 20, 2022, from health/teas-for-ibs#turmeric 

El-Salhy, M., Ystad, S. O., Mazzawi, T., & Gundersen, D. (2017). Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome (Review). International journal of molecular medicine, 40(3), 607–613. 

Househam, A. M., Peterson, C. T., Mills, P. J., & Chopra, D. (2017). The Effects of Stress and Meditation on the Immune System, Human Microbiota, and Epigenetics. Advances in mind- body medicine, 31(4), 10–25. 

Kiryluk, K., Li, Y., Scolari, F., Sanna-Cherchi, S., Choi, M., Verbitsky, M., Fasel, D., Lata, S., Prakash, S., Shapiro, S., Fischman, C., Snyder, H. J., Appel, G., Izzi, C., Viola, B. F., Dallera, N., Del Vecchio, L., Barlassina, C., Salvi, E., Bertinetto, F. E., … Gharavi, A. G. (2014). Discovery of new risk loci for IgA nephropathy implicates genes involved in immunity against intestinal pathogens. Nature genetics, 46(11), 1187–1196. 

Monda, V., Villano, I., Messina, A., Valenzano, A., Esposito, T., Moscatelli, F., Viggiano, A., Cibelli, G., Chieffi, S., Monda, M., & Messina, G. (2017). Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2017, 3831972. 

Nilholm, C., Roth, B., & Ohlsson, B. (2019). A Dietary Intervention with Reduction of Starch and Sucrose Leads to Reduced Gastrointestinal and Extra-Intestinal Symptoms in IBS Patients. Nutrients, 11(7), 1662. 

Quick kidney disease facts and stats. American Kidney Fund. (2023, July 14).