Lazgrane

Strengthening the Blood

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I read that Qi and Blood are closely connected to one another. Qi is responsible for moving blood and ensuring that it does not get stuck and stagnate in the vessels. Meanwhile Blood nourish Qi and provide a solid anchor to keep it from floating away.

 

There are numerous pratices concerning the Qi, but are there any method or pratices concerning the Blood?

 

How could one strengthen his Blood?

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30 minutes ago, Lazgrane said:

How could one strengthen his Blood?

 

Very good question!

 

Its actually of major importance for cultivators! 

 

Blood is strengthened primarily through exercise and diet.

 

The exercise bit is easy - just do some.

 

The diet bit is trickier. Basically meat is the major way of strengthening blood. Beef is best for blood, chicken more for strengthening Qi and pork/lamb/duck etc in between. Pastured and grass fed only is best.

 

If you’re vegetarian and you believe strongly in it, then don’t start eating meat just because of that! You can nourish blood with vegetables too (and in fact meat eaters need to do this too - just meat is not enough).

 

For vegetarian cultivators it’s important to eat large quantities! Dark green leafy vegetables in ridiculous amounts 👍🏻 But also beans, nuts, seaweed, beetroot etc.

 

Spirulina and chlorella are very good too. But again, for vegetarians it must be in big amounts.

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I once had my TCM practitioner advise that I should not consume pork after the age of 50. Unfortunately, his English is not very good. So, when I asked him why all I got was, "Not good!"  Any idea why he would prohibit pork?

 

As a general rule, I know my digestive system is slow. That it takes me a long time to digest meat. So, I tend to eat less ... except for an occasional trip to the bbq joint. I find that I ... my digestive system ... is happier when I consume only 2-3 ounces of meat a day ... some days none. About once a week, I crave salad. I try to listen to what my body says.

 

 

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freeoform's response resonates closely with my own experience. 

 

My teacher Zhou recommends meat for blood strength and usually refers to pork as "Big Qi" food. 

 

My wife and I have found great benefit in making dense bone broths with heavy infusions of various herbs and veggies over the last few years.  Usually we make beef or chicken base, by boiling/simmering the bones of past meals for hours.  Then we'll add veggies and simmer all the lovingness out of them before straining the solids and adding herbs and spices.   The resulting broth/tonics are rich in nutrients and energy, while not requiring much of the digestion process.

 

This has been particularly beneficial for her as she's been dancing with a chronic inflammation issue in her large intestine for much of her life.  I enjoy having the benefit of some lovely broth on hand to sip while at work.  I work in construction and find it wonderful to have a way of getting energy without having to stuff a bunch of solids in my belly while engaging in heavier work.

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Posted (edited)

I've personally found pork to nourish the blood best of all the meats. This was tested when I was a student, where I over studied, and got very strong symptoms of blood deficiency...and when having pork patties in my diet as part of breakfast sandwiches, the symptoms (of liver and heart blood deficiency) went away. Beef, chicken, eggs, etc, didn't really have a noticeable effect for me, but maybe beef if eaten as a steak is good for some reason...ground beef not really. Just my experience.

There are also blood nourishing herbs, which practitioners can help you with. Herbs are stronger than foods, both for positive effects and negative ones, so it's helpful to have a clean diet in the first place so that the nourishing herbs don't lead to phlegm, dampness, and food stagnation. Important to chew foods fully, too. If adding herbs to your foods, as they do sometimes in Chinese culture, I think adding some dang gui (angelica slices) to things like chicken soup isn't a bad idea, but shu di huang (prepared rehmannia, or any kind of it that looks black) is something that's overused even by TCM practitioners...it's super cloying, to the point where some great Chinese practitioners have said that it causes all other herbs to not work properly.

And the most important thing: avoid the things that damage the blood. For instance, "too much looking" damages the blood. I think this would also include "too much thinking", such as overstudying, etc. Staying up late at night, I think, damages the blood...so going to bed earlier and having good sleep is good. Staying hydrated to some extent will help maintain blood levels (you're dehydrated if you experience thirst, or if your pee is anything more than very light yellow).

Think of it like this: if there's a hole in your garden hose, less water will come out of the end because it'll be leaking out of the hole. You can add more water into the hose by turning it up, but that'll just cause more to leave the hole (such as increasing blood through herbs). Alternatively, you can plug the hole completely so that the water isn't leaking out of the side of the hose (addressing the actual cause of the blood deficiency). So, the "hole" isn't a hole in your arteries or something, but is a metaphor for whatever is decreasing the blood. Take care of what's decreasing it, and really you don't even need to "turn up the faucet" or eat meat or take blood nourishing herbs...it'll go back to normal levels, because it won't be getting decreased through lifestyle.

Edited to add: also, look up what the hun (the spirit of the liver) does. For instance, planning ahead, imagination, daydreaming (or we could assume, spirit traveling), insight, etc. I think those things use up our blood to an extent, more or less...whereas basically being embodied and not thinking, and not looking outward so much, doesn't drain the blood.

Edited by Aetherous
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6 minutes ago, Aetherous said:

Take care of what's decreasing it, and really you don't even need to "turn up the faucet" or eat meat or take blood nourishing herbs...

 

That’s certainly true for most.

 

For people who’re heavily involved in the internal arts you generally need a lot more blood nourishing than normal. It’s extra gas in the tank.

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31 minutes ago, freeform said:

That’s certainly true for most.

 

For people who’re heavily involved in the internal arts you generally need a lot more blood nourishing than normal. It’s extra gas in the tank.

 

I can totally see that as true. And I think there's nothing wrong with having an abundance of blood.

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4 minutes ago, Aetherous said:

nothing wrong with having an abundance of blood.

 

In cultivation we’re generally using it up and mobilising blood to a great extent - and we convert it to Qi.

 

I wonder whether too much blood nourishing without cultivation or at least physical exercise might be too stagnating?

 

That would be a question for the medicine practitioners.

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, freeform said:

I wonder whether too much blood nourishing without cultivation or at least physical exercise might be too stagnating?

 

Blood itself, in Chinese Medicine, doesn't cause stagnation (it's a "vital substance" in TCM, and is not a "pathogenic factor"), although it can stagnate for one reason or another and then be called "blood stasis"; I haven't heard of this ever being from having an abundance of it. I think the blood "is the mother of" qi, which then naturally moves the blood, so having more of it is a good thing...it would be more so when a person is blood deficient that the blood would stagnate, because the person would lack the qi to appropriately move the decreased amount of blood they have. I guess we could think of it similarly to how a creek trickles along slowly (the water is slightly more stagnant) compared to a full and rushing river.

If someone ever were to use the term "blood excess", it would be referring to things like "heat in the blood" or "cold" causing the blood to stagnate... but the physiological substance of blood isn't the problem, so in terms of amounts of blood being negative, I think there's only "blood deficiency" as a pathological issue. With pure blood, the more the merrier...in fact, with full blood, our jing is protected.

Often times, we find the blood is deficient when there's also blood stasis, at the same time...this can sometimes be because both patterns are truly simultaneously present (it's definitely the case where someone had a traumatic injury that caused bruising, which is blood stasis, while they are also a full time medical student whose blood is constantly being depleted from studying too much)...or it can be because, of course, when a normal level of blood is stuck in one place it's not abundant in another place and appears deficient there. I also mentioned in the first paragraph of this post about how blood deficiency can lead to the blood stagnating.

The potential byproducts of blood nourishing herbs, for instance dampness and phlegm, definitely cause stagnation. It's good to have really clean digestion so that our bodies can handle the strength of herbs.

Edited by Aetherous
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On 3/24/2019 at 4:33 PM, Aetherous said:

It's good to have really clean digestion 

 

This could be a topic all on its own ;)

 

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Seems like we need to clean / heal the organs that affect the blood quality first.

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Just a correction... I said you need exercise to nourish Blood... actually that’s not strictly true. Stillness nourishes Blood. Blood houses the Shen.

 

However exercise nourishes Qi and Qi nourishes Blood (but blood also nourishes Qi)...

 

Not sure this simplifies matters though :)

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2 hours ago, freeform said:

 

 

Not sure this simplifies matters though :)

All good models of living systems are non-simple. 

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Can anyone experience the blood ?
Can anyone experience qi rising from the blood ?

And say something about it to help us also experience it ?

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On 3/24/2019 at 4:39 AM, Lazgrane said:

I read that Qi and Blood are closely connected to one another. Qi is responsible for moving blood and ensuring that it does not get stuck and stagnate in the vessels. Meanwhile Blood nourish Qi and provide a solid anchor to keep it from floating away.

 

There are numerous pratices concerning the Qi, but are there any method or pratices concerning the Blood?

 

How could one strengthen his Blood?

 

Are you Chinese, European, Hispanic...?

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On 3/24/2019 at 3:39 AM, Lazgrane said:

I read that Qi and Blood are closely connected to one another. Qi is responsible for moving blood and ensuring that it does not get stuck and stagnate in the vessels. Meanwhile Blood nourish Qi and provide a solid anchor to keep it from floating away.

 

There are numerous pratices concerning the Qi, but are there any method or pratices concerning the Blood?

 

How could one strengthen his Blood?

I find Taoism correctly links bone to blood to general health.  There is the practice of Bone Breathing.  Where you slowly visualize each bone lighting up.  Putting attention on something tends awaken it a bit, and our blood marrow creates the healing white blood cells.  Not that its a miraculous cure but it may be a worthwhile immune boost. 

 

Giles Marin has a nice audio version, done with a slow french accent- https://www.chineitsang.com/product-page/the-bone-dreaming-meditation-cd  32 minutes of lighting up your bone structure, very relaxing too, he even hits the teeth.    You can probably find other versions of it on the web somewhere. 

 

 

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There’s a practice i sorta know that is jokingly called bone massage, it helps strenghten the bones and sets marrow to work which in turn yields fresh and healthy blood iirc.

 

Only way i’ve encountered it is through what is commonly mistaken as ”conditioning” exercises such as iron palm, iron arm, iron shirt, iron body etc.

It hurts pretty much at first but after some time there’s a shift or transformation in the tissues subjected to the process. Of course its not just ”massage”, there’s also loosening exercises, dit da jow (depending on school and teacher), rest, eating and of course real, regular massage.

 

Iron Rings Kung Fu training (a set of iron rings worn around the wrists) and ”body tapping/slapping” are also related to this or can yield similar effect.

 

I don’t recommend (at all) doing this unless you have a teacher to show you and monitor your initial progress, doing it right is easy when you’ve figured it out but the figuring out takes time and costs pain and swelling and has a high risk of injury.

Consider yourself warned.

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Qi can be like oxygen or food nourishing the blood. Good eating and breathing practices should do the trick :)

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12 hours ago, thelerner said:

There is the practice of Bone Breathing. 

 

Yeah. This is actually a very advanced practice in Qigong. It’s what you move onto once you’ve completed the soft tissue transformation stage (Yi Jing Jin)...

 

As one can probably imagine the actual classical version of the practice is not based on visualisation. That’s a complete over simplification from Mantak Chia. 

 

I have done some, but prematurely - it’s incredibly painful, but using only attention (Ting) and active release (Sung) in the correct manner. Not ‘hard Qi Gong’ (which is only really necessary for dedicated martial artists).

 

I hadn’t transformed my tissues to the  right extent and so it caused quite a bit of trouble for me. Luckily I had a teacher that could see. Otherwise it’s quite common to generate cancerous growths doing this practice incorrectly or at the wrong time.

 

It did create an enormous amount of Qi though. Even though I was leaking Qi all over the place (due to incomplete Yi Jing Jin), I could stay up for days without sleep, do extreme amounts of practice and keep up a full time job and an active social life...

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4 minutes ago, freeform said:

I can see that different traditions use the same name for different approaches, in this case the bone marrow ". 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

Yeah. This is actually a very advanced practice in Qigong. It’s what you move onto once you’ve completed the soft tissue transformation stage (Yi Jing Jin)...

Hey, we agree 😁. Although I would say you should also have done the channels and Organs first. 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

As one can probably imagine the actual classical version of the practice is not based on visualisation.

We agree again. Not bad on a forum. 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

 it’s incredibly painful,

You are probably doing something more power-related that what I do. 

4 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

It did create an enormous amount of Qi though. 

Most likely something more power-related. In my practice it is more about shifting perception, the old story about bodhidharmas five students that understood five levels from skin level to bone marrow level. 

And the result is closer to von Krankenhaus' model of Qi as a movement between two poles. 

And now I feel that I am starting to rant, and I lack english words to express this further. 😞

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53 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

Hey, we agree 😁.

 

Yup :) - you’re doing a Shaolin based art, right?

 

I believe that most Qigong without the Shaolin influenced principles is basically empty...

 

55 minutes ago, Mudfoot said:

You are probably doing something more power-related that what I do.

 

Not sure what that means to be honest.

 

It may well be different though.

 

The approach I learned is not widely taught to be honest - and probably for a good reason!

 

The Yi Jing Jin principles I learned are also very painful when they fully develop (when you’re Sung enough) :rolleyes:

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26 minutes ago, freeform said:

 

Yup :) - you’re doing a Shaolin based art, right? 

Yes. 

Quote

 

Not sure what that means to be honest.

(Darn...)

As I was taught: We start really low level, with a focus on the physical body (and not so hard focus on that either). So when we start noticing sensations on the skin level, they come spontaneously and not as a result of focus. Then we direct attention to it. 

Then we add methods for the tendons, first the physical aspects and (procedure as above). 

 

The point of this (this is a returning theme) is that you do not crash in to the next system or level with a wave of power, instead you "trickle" in to it and let it develop slow and in its own time. 

 

Does that make sense? 

 

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Hard Qi Gong isn’t just for martial artists though, just running a low intensity version of those exercises with the gradual building up will yield results physically, energetically and on a mental and spiritual level as well, if done right with someone who has trained successfully in internal work too.

 

But yes, tendon and connective tissue work is an absolute prerequisite or else it will only be destructive. Yi Jin Jing or Luohan Gong (i do believe their goal is the same) will also give good results on body, blood, jing and qi, which in itself gives a certain degreeof clarity of spirit and mind. Lots of people disregard these exercises as they’re often treated as lowly ji ben gong or beginners stuff... many legit non-standardized or diluted martial arts have them and even though it’s freely and casually taught to newbies it’s like hiding gems in plain sight, those exercises are way deep and beneficial.

 

They do wonders for the blood and help transport waste away by means of lymph circulation as well.

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40 minutes ago, Rocky Lionmouth said:

it’s like hiding gems in plain sigh

 

Indeed. The Ji Ben Gong exercises are often the most important but also the least exciting - because they take a long time, are very repetitive and when you do them right they are very uncomfortable.

 

And you’re quite right about aspects of ‘hard qigong’ being quite useful in some circumstances. But as you say you need a good teacher because it’s incredibly easy to go from release and opening to packing in stagnation - so easy that I’ve rarely met a ‘hard Qigong’ practitioner that hasn’t built stagnation into the interior of their body. A lot of it has to do with the mental approach to the exercise too...

 

But they’re not strictly necessary - you can make the same transformations using Ting and Sung. Although it’s difficult.

 

2 hours ago, Mudfoot said:

Does that make sense?

 

Yeah - thank you. That’s pretty close  how I was taught too... focus on the physical (not energetic) - then develop Ting and Sung to a high degree.

 

Once you develop the correct qualities of Ting (absorptive awareness) and Sung (active release) and they’re applied at the same time in the correct way, the simple, relaxing looking, flowy exercises become quite painful and uncomfortable. It’s not a case of powering through a certain stage, but more to do with your body physically transforming inside in the correct way - and that always hurts in some way.

 

People are often surprised just how painful and uncomfortable authentic Qigong can be... It’s very much like bodybuilding - except you’re building a Qigong body! (Which is not that flattering to be honest :D )

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