Healthy blood, healthy body
From the perspective of both Chinese and western medicine, the health of our blood is essential to our overall health. What can we do to support the health of our blood?
I’ve devoted this entire newsletter to discussing how to support blood health and function, including introducing you to a new tool Red Clover Clinic has begun to use, which I fondly call “the blood laser.” Read on…
What does blood do?
Blood is one of the foundations of life. Chinese medicine considers it one of the Vital Substances. It nourishes the body, moistens the tissues, and support the Shen. Shen can be translated as spirit or mind. It is responsible for consciousness, mental function, mental health, and vitality. It also plays a big role in sleep.
Chinese medicine theory also states that blood holds the Qi (energy) and Qi moves the blood. Most importantly, if Qi and blood are moving, disease can’t take hold. In fact, many of the diseases associated with aging are associated with the blood not flowing properly, also known as blood stasis.
In western medicine, the primary functions of blood are:
- Transporting oxygen, nutrients, and wastes to and from the cells and various components of the immune system to where they are needed.
- Regulating temperature through circulation.
- Circulating hormones to all parts of the body
- Clotting and closing of wounds.
Laser irradiation of the blood
As we saw in the May-June 2013 issue of the Red Clover Clinic Newsletter, low-level laser therapy has developed over the past few decades to speed the healing of wounds, lessen the inflammation in arthritic joints, increase circulation around trigger points in order to release them, stimulate acupuncture points, and more.
Another lesser-known benefit of laser light to the body is the impact it has on the blood. Red Clover Clinic is now using the recently developed R-J Laser LightNeedle 300 (the “blood laser”), which delivers red and blue-violet laser light to the blood non-invasively.
Generally speaking, laser irradiation of the blood brings the body back into a state of homeostasis; that is, it has a normalizing effect on the whole system. It triggers various immune responses to rid the body of inflammation, which translates to less pain. It improves blood circulation throughout the body, and specifically in the central nervous system (the brain). It improves communication between muscle and nerve cells for improved function. It normalizes tissue metabolism and promotes the mitochondria to produce more ATP, which translates into more energy.
Since the Russians began doing research on intravenous laser irradiation of the blood in 1981, many additional studies have shown its positive effects on cardiovascular health, hypertension, neuropathy, muscular sclerosis, diabetes, autoimmune disease, allergies, acute infections, fatigue, fibromyalgia, systemic inflammation, liver disease and kidney disease.
A small study done on young, male body builders perfectly shows, I think, the general boost the blood laser can give the body. The study concluded that laser blood irradiation measurably increased both strength and endurance, an effect that appeared immediately after the treatment and lasted for 16 weeks.
What is a treatment like?
The blood laser has six fiberoptic cables that are clustered into a small mouthpiece. The mouthpiece, covered with a disposable plastic covering, is placed under the tongue. The client rests for up to 20 minutes while the device emits laser light to the veins under the tongue.
The recommended dosage for general support is 20 minutes once per week, for a series of four to ten weeks, or longer for a chronic condition. For a more severe problem, say diabetic ulcers, the treatment can be given twice per week, until the ulcers have begun to heal. On the other hand, if someone is trying to get over a lingering cold or cough, one treatment might just do the trick.
Stories from my practice
I have used the blood laser on clients (and myself) for about two months at the time of writing and have already seen and experienced big changes. Here are a few anecdotes from my practice:
- Personally, I have much more energy with a greater ability to focus, and improved sleep.
- One client experienced a significant decrease in springtime allergy symptoms after her first treatment.
- Someone else suffers from very sensitive skin with significant itching following a severe systemic candida infection many years ago. Following each treatment (three so far) she notices a big reduction in symptoms that last almost through the week.
- A fibromyalgia client has been having better weeks with more energy and less overall pain since commencing blood laser treatments.
- Another client who had recently finished radiation treatment three to four weeks earlier wasn’t getting her energy back. After one blood laser treatment she felt close to normal for almost a week. After two more treatments, her energy was totally restored.
- Across the board, the most common comment is “Wow, I had so much energy this week!”
For those of you who asked for more scientific information…here it is!
According to M. H. Weber in his paper “The Intravenous Laser Blood Irradiation – Introduction of a New Therapy ,” laser blood irradiation causes the following changes to occur:
- Immune system effects: improved immunologic activity of the blood, i.e. stimulation of the immune response, both specific and non-specific; increase of the immunoglobulins IgG, IgM and IgA; stimulation of interferons, interleukins and TNF-alfa; stimulation of the proliferation of lymphocytes; activation of phagocytic activity of the macrophages; proliferation of lymphocytes and B- and T-cells; and lowering c-reactive protein.
- Circulatory system effects: improvement of regeneration of erythrocytes and of microcirculation; reduction of aggregation of thrombocytes; activation of fibrinolysis; and stimulation of the NO-production in monocytes with vasodilation and improvement of endothelial dysfunction.
- Impact on muscle and nerve cells: normalization of the cell membrane potential, which helps muscle and nerve cells to transmit signals between each other for increased function.
- Impact on overall energy and whole system : mitochondria are stimulated to produce more ATP, which translates to more energy; and normalized tissue metabolism.
Herbs that influence the blood
Nettles to build the blood
The nettle plant is highly nutritious and makes a wonderful green vegetable in the spring. Once you wash it and cook it, the sting will disappear. It is known to nourish the blood, and treat anemia-type conditions, including low blood pressure, pale face, fainting and fatigue. It is also helpful in cases where blood deficiency and excessive bleeding go hand-in-hand.
Yarrow to move the blood
Yarrow is one of my favorite plants. I love its herbaceous scent, hearty flowers, strong stems and delicate feathery leaves. I’ve been monitoring a few specimens on my morning walks, and they are now starting to bloom. One of yarrow’s many strengths is to move and cool the blood and thereby stop bleeding. I use it fresh, dried, or in ointment on fresh cuts and bruises with amazing results. Tea and tincture are taken internally for bleeding due to blood stasis in the digestive and respiratory tracts and the female reproductive system. Blood stasis is when coagulated blood obstructs the vessels, causing fresh blood to be forced out around it. To treat this type of bleeding, we need to move blood.
Shepherd’s Purse to stop bleeding
Shepherd’s Purse is primarily used to stop excessive bleeding. It is warming and stimulating, and is best for blood that is “dark and oozing,” according to herbalist Matthew Wood . It is especially useful for women suffering from excessive menstrual bleeding and hemorrhaging, fibroids, and postpartum bleeding. Shepherd’s Purse is also useful for bleeding in the digestive and urinary tracts and for wounds that continue to ooze. From a biomedical perspective, Shepherd’s Purse stops bleeding due to its vasoconstrictive and coagulating properties.
Burdock to “clean” the blood
Blood can get overloaded with toxins if our body’s detoxification processes are broken down or overwhelmed. This can manifest in all types of skin conditions from acne to eczema to psoriasis. In Chinese medicine, we call this toxic heat in the blood. According to herbalist Peter Holmes , burdock root regulates the system by “restoring, altering and eliminating.” In other words, it gently brings the body into harmony by detoxifying the blood and tissues. Burdock also regulates the immune system, which, as we now know, is tied with the blood. This is why I give it to almost all of my clients suffering from seasonal allergies…with great effect, I might add.