A common problem in Chinese Medicine is Blood Deficiency, more often seen in women. This problem is loosely related to our western idea of anemia, but it is a little different. While western medicine thinks the body is made up of things like adenosine, hemoglobin, leukocytes, neurons and mitochondria, Chinese Medicine was created before microscopes and looks at more holistic concepts; Blood, Qi, Yin, Yang, Marrow. So the Blood in Chinese Medicine might have many of the same ingredients as blood in mainstream medicine, but it’s not exactly the same.
Women bleed every month and because of this, they often tend to be lacking in Blood. This is not true for all women, but it is quite common. Blood Deficiency manifests as pale complexion, dizziness, unusual hair loss, tiredness, pale tongue and a thin pulse. Women often find they exhibit these symptoms right after menstruation (because they have just lost blood).
In a culture where women are not allotted extra time during that phase of their monthly cycles, stress is endemic, women are pressured to be model thin and quality of food is compromised; it is no surprise that women are often Blood Deficient. As an acupuncturist, a common situation is to treat a patient for one problem (such as leg pain from an accident) only to find that the real problem is Blood Deficiency. The body has a lot more difficulty healing other problems when the Blood is not adequate. So take care of yourself!
With all of this in mind, here are some tips on how to build your Blood:
- Eat foods that build your blood. These foods include: molasses, beets, leafy greens, beef, dairy products, nuts, seeds and grains.
- Eat enough food overall. If you’re eating all of the right things, but you’re still tired and exhibiting other symptoms listed above, you may need to increase the calories.
- Eat quality food. Organic food, locally grown, free of heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides will have more necessary nutrients and less toxins.
- Eat less cold and raw foods, because these are more difficult to digest. Fruits and vegetables, while containing large quantities of important nutrients, are usually considered “cold” in Chinese Medicine. To help your body digest these foods properly, cook your vegetables and fruits more frequently.
- If you don’t eat meat, it may help you to start. If you do, you might need to eat more.
If you need more information on this, don’t be afraid to send me an email!