Blood is the same in Chinese medicine as it is in Western medicine. If you’re anaemic in Western medicine, you’ll be lacking in blood in Chinese medicine. However, there are two distinct differences:
- Chinese medicine will diagnose you as lacking in blood a lot sooner than Western medicine. This is because the Western medical range of what is a good amount of blood is narrow and relates to illnesses such as anaemia. The range in Chinese medicine is a lot broader, allowing practitioners to identify a lack of blood sooner and treat it in order to optimise a person’s health long before it’s allowed to become a problem.
- In Chinese medicine, overdoing it can reduce levels of blood in the body. Just as when you do too much and you feel tired and have a lack of energy, you also can have a lack of blood. Levels of blood can fluctuate like energy levels and affect your health. A good example of this is during a woman’s menstrual cycle, when the blood loss can make a lot of women feel tired, drained and dizzy.
Blood goes hand-in-hand with energy. Where energy goes, blood goes. When we are tired we often think we have a lack of energy, but we can also have a lack of blood . This is why taking an iron supplement, which increases the amount of red blood cells (haemoglobin) in the body, can make us feel less tired.
The body is very much in the now and will react to the environment it is put in. Working or commuting long hours will deplete energy and blood as people are spending more of their body’s resources than they are receiving through food and sleep. The body simply reacts to this as it thinks it needs to spend these resources. If your job or commute is stressful, then even more of your body’s resources are consumed, leaving you more energy- and blood-deficient, worsening your fertility.
Your body doesn’t hear that your job isn’t as important as your health; it just sees what’s going out of your energy account and what’s left over for you. Over a few years, this constant spending of more energy and blood than you are putting in can affect your health. Take a look at your energy expenditure and try to see where you can make savings.
A light menstrual flow that never becomes heavy is convenient for most women as it is less hassle, but in Chinese medicine it actually shows a lack of blood. A good period flow should last between five and seven days and be heavy for the first 3–5 days, then reduce to medium, then light. Being dizzy during your period can be a sign of a deficiency of blood.
As blood is a liquid the surrounding temperature affects its flow. When the body is cold, blood doesn’t flow around the body as well as it should do. Exposure to cold can affect the distribution of fertility hormones. It is therefore important to keep your body warm and wear enough clothing and have warm foods and fluids to ensure that your blood flows better and your fertility hormones are well-regulated.