Blood is the fluid that transports oxygen and nutrients around the body. An average adult has just under 5 litres of blood circulating around their body. If too much blood volume is lost, a condition known as hypovolemic shock can occur. Hypovolemic shock is a medical emergency in which severe blood and fluid loss impedes the heart to pump sufficient blood to the body. As a result, tissues cannot get enough oxygen, leading to tissue and organ damage.
In Chinese Medicine, Blood is the soul that carries the spirit (Shen). Lack of Blood or deficiency of Blood are also diseases based on Chinese Medicine and it is quite different from what we know in our medicine, as they don’t really mean a loss of Blood literally but its quality and essence, its real function.
However I think this concept has taken us to may people seem to think of Chinese Medicine as mystical, spiritual, “energy” building modality that is an alternative to modern medicine. While there is a mental/emotional/spiritual/philosophical/whatever element to it that can be heartening to patients in need, really what is happening is altering body chemistry, reducing inflammation, dilating and restoring blood vessel patency, regulating fluids, stimulating nerves, upregulating and inhibiting hormone or cell reproduction. It all works the same way in allopathic medicine, just in ways and connections we’re not equipped to understand yet.
While it places a lot into preventive and alterative lifestyles to promote general health, and they do have effects (medical qi gong is a thing, many don’t have sufficient knowledge or practice this in a targeted therapeutic capacity to an extent outside of supporting general well-being, which is still great), but at the end of the day, stimulatory processes to encourage the body to change or more forcefully pressuring change in the body is how people heal from serious illnesses.
As such, the main focus treatment is not building new Blood but avoiding losing more. Herbal Medicine which usually is prescribed or cases of Blood deficiency actually doesn’t build new blood but stimulates the organs to build new and fresher one. These organs are the Liver, Spleen-Stomach and Lungs. The same concept applies to those who think eating meat, taking supplements of B12 or folate actually generate new blood too. Unfortunately this concept goes far from reality.
Now, the question here should be: How do we lose Blood?
Disturbing thoughts, emotions, worries, stress are considered the main responsible to deplete Blood’s Yin and uproot the spirit.
In many cases it is the mental/emotional factors that influence our breathing patterns. Fear, stress, and overthinking/worrying contribute greatly to unhealthy breathing patterns. Or they extend to habits like smoking. As such, if breathing is affected, Blood gets deficient.
The same applies to irregular meals time and having the same type of foods also affect the quality of your blood.
I point out about Blood deficiency because this problem is the cause of all chronic diseases out there.
Photo by Montylov