If you didn’t already know, Capricorn is the zodiacal sign that rules our knees. As a Tai Chi and Qigong teacher, I’ve heard about plenty of knee issues as well as had some of my own.
The knee is the largest joint in the human body and very complicated. A hinge joint, it permits flexion and extension as well as slight medial and lateral rotation. Since the knee supports nearly the whole weight of a human being’s body, it is the joint most vulnerable to both acute injury and the development of osteoarthritis.
We all have the tendency to hold lots of toxins in our knees. I heard a well-respected Iyengar Yoga teacher once say that the knees are a “cesspool”. And in Mantak Chia’s Universal Tao system, hitting the backs of one’s knees with a bamboo, rattan, or stainless steel wire hitter, is a regular practice to stimulate blood flow to this important joint (contact me if you are interested in learning about this).
But I digress.
Many people have accepted the cultural programming that their knees (as well as other joints) will inevitably give out at a certain point. With Pluto in Capricorn until 2024, I’m sure we will be hearing a lot about modern medicine’s latest developments in knee replacement surgery. And many of us will probably know people who decide to throw away their old creaking knees for the shiniest, brand new model.
But what can we learn from our knees and their problems?
If you ascribe to a holistic view of health, you know that our knees have to do not just with our physical ability to bend. Whether consciously or unconsciously, there is some meaning that we attribute to their function. In an evolutionary sense, our knees carry the memory and experience of all of the bending and flexing our ancestors did — both our genetic ones as well as the collective.
Even if you don’t do these things now (and especially if you have no intention to do so), think about how many people through the ages have bent down on their knees – working, asking for someone’s hand in marriage, atoning, and praying or prostrating themselves before a spiritual teacher or statue. Getting down on one’s knees implies submission to something higher. No wonder we develop issues there! So consider what authority issues you might be having the next time you experience a painful twinge.
Another valid point of view comes from Chinese medicine which is posited on the belief that whatever is happening externally in the body is a reflection of the health of the inner organs. The knees are related to the kidneys so if our knees are weak or we tend to have pain or motion problems, it can be a sign of weak kidney qi. And guess what the emotional energy is that is associated with the kidney? Fear. Fear makes us weak in the knees. Seems like I’ve heard that somewhere before.
So what can we do to create the conditions for healthier knees? These are things I’ve found to be helpful for me and others with whom I’ve worked:
- If you are overweight and have knee problems, there’s no way around it. Your knees (as well as your heart and all your other organs) are suffering from carrying a heavy load. Make a commitment to love your knees and lose weight with a healthy diet of fresh, natural foods. There is a study that showed that even an 11 pound weight loss can make a difference in your pain level and any tendency you may have toward osteoarthritis.
- Don’t give up exercising but pay closer attention to your knee alignment when you do. Whether you practice yoga, Tai Chi, or work out at the gym, be aware of your structural integrity. Bring awareness to your knees by working with them. Find a teacher who knows about alignment if this is foreign to you. Visualize them well-lubricated and happy.
- If your knee condition stems from an injury, see an acupuncturist/herbalist to help boost your kidney function and stimulate the flow of Qi and blood.
- There are many helpful supplements — Hyaluronic Acid, Shark Cartilage, Red Seaweed Extract, Fish Oils, and Vitamin D. And don’t forget the standbys – Glucosamine Chondroitin and MSM. Check out my friend and teaching partner, Letha Hadady’s “Natural Remedies for Bone/Joint/Ligament Health here.
- Here’s a homeopathic regimen for stubborn knee problems that helped me. Try it for one month and see what happens. Take 5 pellets of Ruta Grav 30cc twice a day. Also take 4 pellets each of these tissue cell salts three times a day – Calc Fluor, Calc Phos, Silicea. Take them together but not at the same time as the Ruta Grav.
- Qigong and Tai Chi to circulate your qi in your joints and bones and release negative emotions.