Healthy blood, healthy body

We all know that blood is important, but how often do you stop to think about why? Blood courses through our veins, providing self-healing and protection. It brings nutrients and oxygen and carries away wastes and toxins. Without this function our organs can’t thrive, and waste accumulates to dangerous levels.

Good blood flow means a well-nourished body with the added benefits of a glowing complexion, a sharper mind and boundless energy. Increasing your blood flow stimulates cell growth.

On the other hand, poor circulation leaves the body feeling malnourished and waste will start to build up. Stress also diminishes blood flow. Cortisol causes reduced blood flow in many parts of the body.1 Poor blood flow is a common cause of areas of tension in the body. In Tui Na (a Chinese massage therapy) we are taught to notice that here the muscle will feel dry and fibrous, as though rolling over dry spaghetti. When a muscle doesn’t get enough nourishment from blood then lactic acid can build up, causing pain and inflammation. Over time the muscle will become wasted and scarred. If this process continues then the body will begin to draw calcium from the bones to neutralise the acid.2 This causes muscles to become hard, just like bone, and they morph from a flexible part of the body into a rigid structure.

Too much blood doesn’t sound like a problem, but according to Chinese Medicine the body can get stuck where blood accumulates excessively in one area, particularly if that area is damaged. An excess of blood can result in the structures of the body becoming stuck, with adhesions forming. Adhesions are when skin sticks to connective tissue, which then sticks to muscles, and these in turn stick to bones. This all results in restricted movement and impaired functioning of some organs. Adhesions are common post-surgery or injury because scar tissue is simple to create, and handy in knitting our fibres together. When there is a lot of blood stuck in an area you can sometimes see spider veins, varicose veins, skin discolouration and bruising.

In Chinese Medicine the blood is credited with supporting consciousness and emotions, so sufficient blood allows us to delay emotions that we are unwilling or unable to cope with at that time. If we continue to suppress more emotions this will show as broken blood vessels, discolouration of the skin and even varicose veins. The more visible the blood, the fuller our emotional storage is and the less capacity we have to store it and remain in control.

You can tell if your body is conserving energy by paying attention to your own circulation. If you regularly get cold hands and feet, or pins and needles, your body is conserving energy and blood for the vital organs as sending blood to the extremities becomes a luxury.

No matter whether you have too much or too little blood, the best technique to help blood supply and flow is massage and nourishing your body with good, wholesome food. Our simple, daily rituals assist the function of your cardiovascular system and highly oxygenate the blood. Just a minute a day will get your blood and Qi flowing, boosting your vitality and leaving your serotonin levels soaring.