The Blood in Chinese Acupuncture

| February 10, 2010 | 0 Comments | 509 views

The term blood refers to red blood, which nourishes all the cells of the body. This red blood is nourished by the spleen, which stores the nutrition from food and drink and distributes it to the whole body; it is synthesized by the heart, which combines the nutrition with fluid and oxygen and circulates it; and it is stored in the blood vessels and released by the liver when any part of the body needs blood, or if there is any bleeding. 

Blood is nourished from food and drink by the Spleen and from air by the Lungs.
    The Kidneys make bone marrow,which makes Blood,but this Blood is not
oxygenated,and therefore not called red blood.
    Blood is synthesized by Heart Qi,which combines the different nutrients to
make red(oxygenated)blood:this is called Heart Blood.
     Blood is circulated centrally by Heart Qi and peripherally by Spleen Qi.
    The Liver yin stores Blood within itself and within the vessels and the Liver
yang and Qi releases it out of the vessels(for the body to have energy)and out
of the body(when bleeding).The Blood within the Liver and the vessels is called
Liver Blood. 

But the term Blood also stands for nutrition, without which any organ or tissue cannot continue to function, and would soon become exhausted.For example, osteoporosis would be a nutritional deficiency of the bones, which in terms of traditional Chinese medicine means the Kidneys have a Blood deficiency (as Kidneys nourish the bones). The skin is nourished by Blood from the Lungs (and the Lungs receive nutrition from the mother organ, the Spleen). If the Blood in the Lung (and in the Spleen) is deficient, then the skin will become pale, thin, easy to break and slow to heal, and will be vulnerable to injuries and weather exposure. 

The term Blood also means nutrition.
     Heart Blood nourishes the blood vessels,the mind and its function,
the tongue and speech.Heart Blood deficiency causes paleness,coldness,
endogenous depression,poor concentration and memory and restless sleep.
      Lung Blood nourishes the skin and body hair,and the respiratory organs.
Lung Blood deficiency causes thin,vulnerable skin with less body hair,
breathlessness and low energy.
     Spleen Blood nourishes the entire body(mostly the muscles and fat),the
lips,the extremities and the digestive system.Spleen Blood deficiency results
in a person being thin or undernourished and having problems absorbing
      Kidney Blood nourishes the bones and cartilage,the head hair,the brain and
nervous system and the urinary system.In people with Kidney Blood deficiency,
the bones fracture easily and heal poorly,and such individuals also suffer from
hair loss or thin hair,low vitality and poorly formed eggs or sperm.
     Liver Blood nourishes the tendons and the eyes and fuels the function
of muscle movement and stress.Liver Blood is lost during bleeding and
can stagnate in the vessels(especially veins)when there is a mechanical
obstruction in the circulation,or when circulation(Liver Qi)is sluggish.Blood
deficiency causes paleness,tiredness,contracture and easy rupture of tendons,
blurred vision and scanty menstruation with long menstrual cycles. 

 Symptoms of Blood deficiency are paleness, coldness, long menstrual cycles with scanty bleeding in women, poor endurance in physical and mental functions, and numbness of the extremities during rest, improving with movement.Patients are quickly exhausted and wound healing is poor. Blood deficiency could start off different reactions in the yin, yang and Qi of the organ.To show some examples: 


Blood deficiency can cause yang deficiency 

As Blood circulates nutrition and warmth to the body,when there is less
Blood coldness can result.The coldness is generalized,but manifests more
in the upper body and hands.It should be stressed that it is an inner cold-
ness associated with paleness,mental fatigue,poor concentration and
memory,anxiety and depression.There could also be dizziness and some
The most common symptom of a yang deficiency is coldness. 

Blood deficiency can cause Qi(function)deficiency
Blood nourishes and fuels all organs and tissues,and continues to fuel their
function(Qi).Heart Blood fuels the function of concentration,intelligence,
speech and mental activity.When there is a Blood deficiency,any mental
work seems too much to cope with.
The function(Qi)of the Heart is to synthesize and circulate Blood.When
Blood becomes deficient,the functions of blood-building and circulation
slow down,and the heart undergoes great strain to supply the body with
its nutritional needs.There can be tachyarrhythmia when stressed.
Patients have difficulty concentrating or speaking for long periods of
time,and tire quickly.They constantly feel sleepy–a situation which does
not improve with more sleep.

Lung Qi deficiency 

Lung Blood deficiency will mean that the skin is thin and poorly nourished,and
this will reduce the Lung functional Qi.
The Lung Qi controls the opening and closing functions of the skin pores,
thus aiding adaptation to change in temperature and maintaining a good
immune system.There could also be spontaneous sweating,whether the
climate is cold or hot,because the skin has lost the regulation over the function
of its pores. 

Blood deficiency can cause yin deficiency 

A large part of Blood is fluid.Because of this,and the fact that nutrition is
now low,Blood deficiency can cause dryness,especially in the skin,hair
and nails.
As this dryness is caused by Blood deficiency,it cannot be improved by
increasing intake of water–only by improving Blood.
In skin problems such as neurodermatitis and generalized idiopathic
itching,this type of dryness is very common.
Faulty nutrition–such as excess consumption of fatty foods,milk prod-
ucts and refined sugars and carbohydrates–make the skin oily and thick,
and there is difficulty eliminating sebaceous secretion and sweat through the
thickness,thus reducing the Qi(function)of the skin and creating the possibil-
ity of dampness and heat.If thick fluid does not circulate but stands still,this
could cause damp–heat symptoms such as acne pustules or infected eczema.
Though dampness and Blood are not the same,blood is also a thick fluid.
Therefore,the same rules for circulation and thinning apply to both.Both can
be thinned out by consuming more water or thin fluids(and tonifying the yin
by using the Mu-front point of organ and the Luo-connecting point of the yin
organ of the element),and both can be circulated with points such as St 40,
Back-Shu point of organ and Luo-connecting point of the yang organ of the
associated element(see Glossary for an explanation of these points).
Examples of how to thin the thick fluids are given below. 

Points to thin Liver Blood
Liv 14(Mu-front,Liver).
Liv 5(Luo point,Liver).
Advice for patients
■Consume more water or thin fluids.
■Regular sports and exercise help the Liver Qi to circulate Blood.
Points to thin Lung dampness
Lu 1(Mu-front,Lung).
Lu 7(Luo point,Lung).
Advice for patients
■Inhale water vapour and drink more water.
■Breathing exercises,hot and cold baths and saunas help the Lung Qi to
circulate and eliminate dampness.

Blood deficiency in traditional Chinese medicine does not mean that the patient has a low haemoglobin count.But iron,both in food and as a supplement,does help to improve Blood. 

Blood deficiency can cause wind symptoms
Most skin diseases cause itching or irritation of the skin.This irritating fac-
tor is called wind.Normally,wind makes functional energy,helping the
Qi and Blood to move and flow.This is a very important aspect of our Qi.
But when wind is in excess,it could be pathogenic in nature and cause
Often this wind irritation can be of a wandering nature,not fixed to a
specific area.In neurodermatitis the skin is typically very dry and rather
pale,except on affected areas,which are flat,dry and reddish areas and
move around very quickly.
This wind rises up and wanders around uncontrollably because of the
deficiency of Blood.If the Blood can be tonified,the skin will become moist
and calm.It is the wind that makes these patients restless and nervous.

Points to treat Blood deficiency
Ren 14 and UB 15(to tonify yin and yang aspects of Heart).
Sp 10,GB 39 and UB 17.
■Tonification point of any organ that is Blood deficient,e.g.K 7,Lu 9,Liv 8. Advice for patients
■Eat red meat and take an iron supplement.

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