Signs and symptoms of blood deficiency in Chinese Medicine can include fatigue, a pale complexion, poor memory, dizziness or vertigo, blurred vision, insomnia, tremors or numbness, and even hair loss and early graying of hair.
One sign that your acupuncturist will check when blood deficiency (the body is either not making enough, or losing too much) is indicated is the color or your tongue, which will be pale rather than pink or light red.
Nourishing blood deficiency can be integral to alleviating depression in many cases, as the heart and liver are nourished by the blood, two organ systems central in the smooth flow of emotional processing.
The blood, in Chinese Medicine, also houses the Shen, or spirit - an intangible and ineffable part of ourselves that makes us who we are. When there is not enough blood, that dryness doesn't only manifest physically, but also on emotional and spiritual levels, as indicated in the symptoms above.
Fortunately, there are many good foods you can include in your diet to help nourish blood, including:
Limited amounts of meat, eggs and liver, particularly bone broth soup also help to nourish blood when there is chronic or prolonged blood deficiency. See my recent post on heart health and meat consumption for information.
However, a diet rich in the above foods will go a long way towards better health and longevity!
I am always so grateful to work in a medicine that effects positive change in people's lives. Symptoms - physical signs of distress, often dissipate with treatment as underlying imbalances are addressed.
Working as an acupuncturist in Narberth, and on the Main Line of Philadelphia, I realize that this type of care is not the standard for most. The system of Chinese Medicine and a holistic approach is truly foreign to our culture and time, It certainly was to me when I first started receiving treatments while living in Oregon, and struggling with Lyme Disease, over 10 years ago!
There is a huge difference, however, in allopathic care and holistic care and their approaches.
Patients will often come in for treatments and stop when a pressing symptom is resolved. However, the goal of treatment isn't only to deal with the expression of an illness, but also to keep the body healthy and well and maintain that balance once its established. With any holistic approach, the goal is to allow the body to restore itself - and to maintain that ability.
It's important to realize that by the time a symptom is expressed, the imbalance or underlying cause is most likely a pattern in your life. For example, neck pain chronic stress, overwork and perhaps an inflammatory diet. Once the pain is gone, the body is no longer screaming out for attention, but that doesn't mean that attention and care is no longer needed.
Re-establishing balance can take several seasons of care, which doesn't mean intensive, weekly treatments, but perhaps every third week or monthly once balance is established. Self-care isn't only a luxury, it's a part of being present to your needs.
I know that when I go in for treatment, I'm always reminded in some way how to better care for myself. To sleep more, or earlier, to allow room for emotions to surface and be processed, to schedule time for creative work, the list goes on. We all need reminders throughout the day to stay present, conscious, and to kindly attend to ourselves. My relationship with my practitioner, whether it's acupuncture, massage therapy, cranio-sacral, or cupping therapy, is like a benevolent mirror.
I named my practice The Present Sage Acupuncture because my goal has always been to remind each person of their own inner wisdom, and to be present to their own healing capacities. Words can serve as reminders, and acupuncture points have the capacity to anchor and support healthy changes. To our shared presence and kindness towards our selves both in sickness and health!