Many of us concentrate on detoxing our bodies from the numerous environmental and metabolic chemicals that clog us up through practices like drinking water, or taking sitz baths, but from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM-based) theory, if we are feeling sluggish or sick, we’ve got a blood and or Qi deficiency.
The 10,000 Diseases All Have a Root in Imbalanced Blood/Qi
Masters of Chinese Medicine understand that we only thrive in our full health when we boost and balance the yin (blood) and yang (qi) of the energetic/physical bodies. This usually boils down to a deficiency in one, or both. This deficiency is what causes a myriad of diseases as varied as bad acne to full morbidity.
A Little Background on the Types of Qi
As the Chinese Taoist Sage Lao Tzu once stated, “The human body is only Jing (ancestral essence), Qi (energy), and Shen (spirit). These are the three treasures. These three treasures are complete as a human being. In order to attain true health and happiness, you must value them.”
Before explaining more about how to boost blood/qi, we need to understand a little about the types of Qi, or life-force energy as it is explained in TCM. There are two types: Congenital Qi which we are born with and Acquired Qi which we can get from the food we eat, the air we breathe, physical exercise, the balancing of our emotions, etc.
We can do little about Congenital Qi, acquired from the actions and thoughts of our parents and grandparents (which appears as our tendency toward the same thoughts and lifestyle choices), but much about Acquired Qi.
Congenital Qi is thought to be stored in the kidneys, and determines our basic constitution. It is composed of the Jing essence and Yuan (Original Qi).
Acquired Qi is a combination of:
- Gu Qi – the essence of food we eat,
- Kong Qi – the air we breathe, and the way we breathe
- Zong Qi – called the gathering Qi, and finally
- Zhen Qi – a composite of Ying Qi and Wei Oi (Nutritive and Defensive Qi), and finally
The Origins of Blood
Over 4000 years ago Chinese medicine said, “Blood is the mother of Qi”.
According to TCM practitioners, our blood is derived from the gu qi (food qi) produced by the Spleen. The Spleen sends gu qi upwards to the Lungs, and through the driving action of Lung qi.
Lung qi is then sent to the heart, where it is transformed into blood. The Ling Shu, also known as the Divine Pivot, an ancient Chinese medical text, says in Chapter 18:
“The stomach is the middle burner. It opens to the upper burner, it receives qi, secretes the dregs, evaporates the fluids transforming them into a renewed essence. This pours upwards toward the lungs, and is transformed into blood.”
Qu Qi is aided by Yuan Qi, a vital substance which has its roots in the kidneys, and has the following functions:
- It motivates the internal organs and is the foundation of vitality.
- It circulates through the body’s channels (or energetic meridians) with the energy of the San Jiao (Triple Burner.)
- It is the basis of Kidney Qi, dwelling in the Ming Men (Gate of Vitality.
- It facilitates the use of Qi by transforming it into usable energy, first from Zong Qi then to Zhen Qi.
- It participates in the production of blood by facilitating Gu Qi transformation.
- It emerges and circulates at the 12 Source Points (acupuncture points often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.)
The Importance of the Kidneys
The kidneys store jing which produces marrow: this, in turn, generates bone marrow which contributes to making Blood.
A doctor of the Qing dynasty, Zhang Lu, in his book Medical Transmission of the Zhang Family (1695), says:
“If qi is not exhausted, it returns essences to the kidneys to be transformed into jing; if jing is not depleted, it returns to the liver to be transformed into blood.”
How Do You Know if Your Blood or Qi is Deficient?
There can be different types of blood deficiencies which cause different diseases.
Here’s how to tell if you have a liver-blood deficiency:
- You’ll suffer from insomnia and excessive dreaming
- Your hair and nails are often brittle
- You can have blurred vision (floaters)
- You can have irregular menstrual cycles or none at all.
Here’s how to tell if you have a heart-blood deficiency:
- You can have heart palpitations
- You suffer from insomnia
- You may have a dull complexion
- You may sometimes feel dizzy
- You feel mild anxiety
- Your memory is poor
Here’s how to tell if you have a spleen-blood deficiency:
- You have a poor appetite
- You tend to be thin in build
- You are often tired and weak
- Your stool is loose
- You may have a dull complexion and pale lips
Additional symptoms can vary:
- Frequent miscarriage
- Back pain
- Excessive heat, and more
- Someone who is easily angered (think of the expression “blood boiling”)
In most cases, when a TCM master says we have a blood deficiency, they mean that we have a liver-blood deficiency because the liver houses our blood.
As one master explains,
“There are several different patterns for these qi manifestations: the first one happens when qi and blood are both deficient, or in excess in the body, the others being when qi is in excess and blood is deficient and vice versa.”
In short, qi and blood are so closely related that you can’t treat one without influencing the other.
The Super Detox to Restore Blood/Qi Balance and Vitality
Aside from changing our diet to support Acquired Qi, getting exercise, and practicing healthy breathing techniques, there are several ways that TCM masters cleanse the blood and balance our Qi:
- Herbal Remedies – Creating highly individualized tonic herbal formulas is an ancient Chinese practice that requires a large degree of knowledge and education; however, herbs like ginseng root, sweet wormwood, astragalus root, asparagus root, Chinese cinnamon, Cistanche stem, Cordonopsis root, cordyceps mushrooms, Dong Quai root, and more.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture is the European term invented by Willem Ten Rhyne, a Dutch physician who visited Nagasaki in Japan in the early part of the seventeenth century, but it has been used for at least 2000 years, and is a very small part of Traditional Chinese Medicine as a whole. This ancient healing technique of placing needles in specific areas of the body, aligned with the meridians, and organ points helps to move stagnation and invigorate slow-moving Qi.
- Moxibustion (Moxa) – Mugwort smoke is used to help move Qi during acupuncture treatments to help remove stagnation. Wool from the artemisia vulgarisor artemisia argyii (Mugwort) plant is burned as charcoal on the end of acupuncture needles as a way to remove stubborn toxins and slow-moving energy. According to the Lingshu (Miraculous Pivot, or Spiritual Pivot), one of 2 parts of Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), the earliest book written on Chinese Medicine, compiled around 305-204 B.C. “A disease that may not be treated by acupuncture may be treated by moxibustion.”
- Cupping and Wet Cupping – Blood toxins are extracted by placing cups on the body and adding suction. Advanced practitioners use Qi to augment the treatment and further improve the blood.
- Gua Sha– this is a practice where a small scraper is moved across the surface of the skin. It stimulates circulation, and by dilating the pores, pathogenic factors in the blood are expelled.
- Removal of Bad Blood Using Qi Gong – Usually used by advanced practitioners who have learned to manage their own Qi, with just a few hand movements Qigong masters move a lot of blood and generate ample energy without very little movement and no stress. There have been studies proving that the relaxed movement of the blood through the body affects or Qi differently than if we just did some exercise.
Utilizing these ancient Chinese healing methods, one can vastly improve their blood, the Mother of Qi, and find that their health and vitality soar as a result.