by Dr. Ted Cibik
Blood truly is the icon of life itself. We probably don’t think of our blood often except when we cut ourselves or we hear the Central Blood Bank plea for blood as their reserves run low. How often do we think of our own blood and its health for instance? We probably think of it quite often if we are a cancer patient and have concern about our “counts” like our T-cells, white blood cell count, or an Aids patient or a hemophiliac. However, most of us have little conscious thought about our blood’s condition – let alone worry about it.
I have often thought of the similarities of Western medicine and Chinese or Tibetan medicine, and their preoccupation with the health of ones blood.
In Chinese medicine, everything is about the blood or Xue. The Chinese say that “Qi (our life force) is the commander of blood and blood is the mother of Qi”. This speaks of the interrelationship between the Yin and Yang in Chinese medicine theory where Yin is of Earth and Yang is of Heaven, the tangible and the intangible. In Chinese medical diagnosis, we are concerned about blood stasis for instance in trauma (emotional or physical) or disease. We believe that the blood carries with us all the experiences of our entire life – good, bad or indifferent. We can injure our blood through our negative repetitive thoughts or our emotions. The mind can activate memories in the blood “bubble up”; causing the blood to “heat up” – giving rise to inflammation syndromes (allergies, cancer, MS, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, coronary artery disease etc.)
Blood is an amazing substance that is more of its own little ecosystem than we once thought. The Ph of our body has an immense affect on our blood. If the Ph of our blood becomes imbalanced ever so slightly, microbes can become pathogenic, enzymes can become destructive, mineral assimilation can be thrown off leading to a state favoring yeast, viruses, bacteria and cancer. Moreover, if the Ph of the gut or the Ph of the tissues anywhere in the body swing chronically either to alkaline or to acidic – chaos and disease can occur! With this understanding, this is a foundation of how I heal everything from fibroids to multiple sclerosis, from Irritable bowel disease to cancer. Of course it is a little more complicated than that, but this provides a solid platform to springboard off of.
To most of us, blood flows without our thoughts and when healthy, is in constant motion, forever orbiting the body in an endless loop like the Earth around the Sun. Irregardless of how efficiently we can breath or how well we can digest our food once eaten, if it wasn’t for the blood itself, as the trucking company traveling down a thousand mile highway system of arteries, arterioles and capillaries, we would soon die. Therefore, in a healthy body, blood moves sometimes slowly, but moves nonetheless, assisted by the contraction of muscles in the body (i.e. movement of the body). Therefore, movement of the body is imperative for the health of the blood, not only for the assistance it provides in moving the blood, but from the increased fresh supply of oxygen from our deeper breathing which facilitates our healing energies.
Long before Western understanding that blood absorbed oxygen in the lungs via capillary beds, to its distribution pathways from the left chamber of the heart to further capillary delineation in the body, the ancient Chinese realized the connection between breathing in oxygen and the health of the blood. Breathing (fast or heavy and slow) combined with exercises were studied and experimented with on how they affected health, energy levels and recuperation from illness. Therefore blood and breathing became a very common treatment modality in ancient China.
Ironically, this vital substance called blood is under constant production – as its shelf life is minimal. In an average day, 100 billion neutrophiles (a type of white blood cell) are produced by an average adult, but what is more incredible is that this liquid is manufactured in a solid….the bone! Speaking of the Yang forming within the Yin! The Chinese even have special exercises called Marrow Washing Qigong that is used to build up the blood cell production. I use a form of this exercise with several of my cancer clients as well as people who are anemic.
Movement and deep breathing, regardless of its nature, is how the body was designed to function. The problem with modern exercise prescription is that it is too conservative. We are so in-active compared to our grandparents, that we have to integrate even more intensity and time in our “structured workout or gym time.” I have just recently developed a workout routine that is designed to change measurable blood chemistry in as little as 6 weeks. As an example of out-dated information that is still believed to be truth, the old adage of finding your maximum heart rate (you remember, 220- your age = Max heart rate) is outdated for those over age 40. This is the new formula: Multiply your age by 0.7 and subtract that figure from 208 to get max heart rate.
This is where you need guidance so that you do not injure yourself, but can reap the benefits of the oldest secret in the world – Hard work never killed anyone….. Inactivity has. So if you need the latest, most scientific exercise science information coupled with ancient wisdom – I am your man.