The body suffers from a condition known as anemia when it is unable to manufacture sufficient amounts of red blood cells (RBCs) to provide oxygen to the rest of the cells of the body. As a result, the body ceases to function healthily. Tiredness is the characteristic symptom of anemia that occurs as a result of the body’s inability to function efficiently. It is this symptom for which anemia is sometimes referred to as “tired blood.” There are several forms of anemia and they can last a lifetime or for a few hours or may be mild, light to very serious. Allopathic medicine’s solution varies from the kind of anemia the patient suffers from. Natural and alternative treatments for anemia include among others traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), specifically, acupuncture and Chinese herbs as well as various types of bodywork.
Anemia Treatment Through The Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine
The several various kinds of anemia are known by allopathic physicians. They include aplastic anemia, hemolytic anemia, sickle-cell anemia, iron-deficiency anemia, vitamin-deficiency anemia, thalassemia and many others. Each type of anemia is caused by distinct factors and hence, requires different types of treatment. In traditional Chinese medicine, however, practitioners believe that all kinds of anemia are indications that the circulation of qi (pronounced chee) or vital energy, which is the life giving energy force of the body that makes the body healthy, has stopped flowing due to obstructions in the energy channels through which it flows. It may also mean that the body does not create adequate quantities of good-quality blood. This condition can be addressed by adopting certain methods that would energize the organ systems to boost the movement of qi and produce more good-quality blood. The symptoms that the patient exhibits will determine the type of treatment used.
One of traditional Chinese medicine’s modes of treatment for various conditions including anemia is acupuncture. This involves the use of long and thin needles stuck at certain points on the body known as acupuncture points or acupoints to bring back the healthy movement of qi in the body. In the treatment of anemia, acupuncture needles are stuck at energy channels known as meridians to strengthen the flow of qi to the spleen and stomach systems. Other meridians can also be stimulated with needles to strengthen the flow of qi to the liver system. According to TCM, the liver system is the place where blood is stored and is the system that keeps the healthy circulation of blood all over the body.
In the treatment of anemia, acupuncturists usually needle the following acupuncture points:
• Liver 8 (Li 8) – Known as the Qu Quan (Spring at the Crook), the liver 8 meridian is an acupoint that can help tonify the liver system. This system is usually related with disorders of the blood. Li 8 beefs up both the yin of the body and the blood and nourishes blood as well.
• Stomach 36 (St 36) – Located on the abdominal system the Stomach 36 point is known as Zu San Li or Foot Three Mile. This name implies that when this acupoint is stimulated, it leads to the treatment of tiredness or fatigue which gives the person additional strength to walk much farther, probably for an extra three miles. The St 36 boosts the ability of the body to enhance digestion and absorb nutrients as well tonify both qi and blood.
• Spleen 10 (Sp 10) – The Sp 10 acupuncture point is referred to as Xue Hai or Sea of Blood. It is used to invigorate and tonify the blood that can help address various kinds of disorders of the blood.
Chinese Herbal Medicine Treatment for Anemia
The use of Chinese herbal medicine for the curing of anemia may involve the use of single herbs or a mixture of herbal compound. There are several kinds of herbal formulas that can help increase the creation of good quality blood and qi. They include:
• Bai zhu or White Atractylodes rhizome – Augments qi and strengthens the spleen
• Dan gui or Angelica root – Used for invigorating, tonifying and harmonizing the blood, and expelling cold
• Dang Shen or Root of Pilose asiabell – This herb nourishes the blood and reinforces the energy of the body
• Gan cao or Licorice root – Strengthens and energizes spleen qi and qi of the abdomen
• Huang qi or Root of Astragalus – An herb that tonifies blood and spleen qi
• Lu ron or Deer antler – This formula is made into a tonic to strengthen yang and tonify blood and qi yang
• Sheng Di or Rehmannia – An herbal compound that when processed form is known as Shu Di. Sheng Di nourishes yin and helps generate fluids
• Bai Shao or rhizome of white peony – An herbal remedy that nourishes blood and astringes yin
The TCM style of treating illnesses is usually through the use of Chinese herbal medicine combined with complementary therapies. A TCM treatment known as Four Ingredient Decoction or Hsi Wu Tang is a classical formula that can help address deficiency of blood. This mixture is comprised of Shu Di, Bai Shao, Chuan Xiong, and Dang Gui. There are other potent herbal remedies that are just as good as Si Wu Tang that help create more good-quality blood. One such formula is Decoction of Angelica Tonify the Blood or Dang Gui Bu Hsue Tang, a mixture that’s actually only made up of two herbs: Wang Chi (Huang Qi) and Dang Gui. Based on the symptoms presented by the patient there a number of different formulas available that can treat specific types of anemia. They include herbal remedies that have been widely tested and have been proven to work against various kinds of anemia. They include:
• Sheng Hsue Jiao Nang
• Hsue Bao Hau Jia
• Ye Hsue Jing
• Yi Hsue Sheng
• Zhang’s Anemia Formula
• Zhou’s Anemia Formula
Tui Na Massage for the Treatment or Anemia
The Chinese have used Tui Na massage therapy for thousands of years to treat a lot of health conditions. The foundation of this therapy is the same as acupuncture’s. Tui Na massage, like acupuncture, involves the activation of the energy channels meridians to regulate the circulation of qi, and restore balance to yin and yang in the body. Some practitioners of Tui Na focus on foot and hand massage to regulate the flow of qi throughout the body and boost the creation of blood in the spleen.