We all know that blood is vital to life. It courses through our veins and is pumped around our body day in, day out from the beginning to the end of our lives.
It has been known to be a special fluid throughout the history of medicine, from the ancient times to present day, and despite the advances in medical knowledge we are still learning about it.
The invention of the microscope in the 1600s enabled us to finally see what blood was made of. We could identify red blood cells – the cells responsible for carrying oxygen and removing carbon dioxide - and the white blood cells – the cells of our immune system responsible for protecting us from pathogens. We could also more closely examine the contents of the plasma, the watery fluid that transports the cells through our circulatory system.
We have since discovered that blood is a very complex fluid. It contains many substances that are produced by our body’s trillions of cells or produced by the pathogenic organisms that reside or invade our body.
We can count up the cells within a sample of blood in a laboratory to be able to assess whether the levels are normal or abnormal. We can also test for the most sensitive of molecules in a sample, to uncover specific antibodies, antigens, products of inflammation, pathogenic compounds, liver enzymes, minerals and vitamin levels ……… the list goes on.
The more we learn about the body and understand our own biology and disease processes, the larger the menu of available blood tests becomes.
Do these blood tests lead to reduced disease, or just more complex diagnoses and more prescribing - whether it is pharmaceuticals or nutritional supplements?
There is no doubt that for practitioners of modern medicine, being able to test the blood for clues as to what is happening inside their patients can be extremely useful in determining a diagnosis and pharmaceutical prescription.
Functional medical practitioners also use blood tests to be able to help understand their clients’ complex health issues, that have not been or cannot be resolved medically.
For those of us who believe in a holistic approach, we take a wider view in order to create a complete picture of what is influencing a client’s health.
The solution to our client’s health issues encompasses more than a supplement prescription. It often also includes dietary advice, emotional and mental support, lifestyle changes that mean changes in habits and a movement/exercise prescription.
Why are these complex and nuanced blood test results problematic for a holistic health model?
Time – When you work in the alternative/complementary health field, you spend a lot of time on each client. Whether it is collecting a client’s case history, researching a client’s health conditions or medications, or undertaking an appointment and creating a health plan, it all takes time.
You must then add to this workload the extra time it takes to organise the tests, wait for and then read and interpret the results (if you can) and then explain them to your client.
Results – Tests are being developed and invented all the time - it is hard to keep up with the latest understanding on how they should be used. Tests have varying degrees of accuracy and some tests may return false positives or false negatives.
We can end up putting our faith in tests without really understanding how accurate they are (after all we are not medically trained), what else can influence the results and what the results actually mean in terms of how we make our recommendations to our clients.
We give our power away as knowledgeable practitioners, taking advice from laboratory analysts instead.
Cost –the fact that these tests cost a lot of money cannot be ignored. Clients that are desperate to improve their health will put their faith in these tests if you recommend them, and will believe the cost will be worth it. In some cases it will be.
BUT - this is very important to understand - there is little point in testing just the once. The body is a living organism in constant flux. The blood can change from day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment. If tests are going to be used to map a client’s health you need more than one reference point.
If clients are going to change their diet, take supplements or follow detox regimes – in time you will need to test again in order to check that the protocol is working. Are clients ready to accept this? Are you?
Allopathic or holistic - There is a danger, for the holistic therapist, in entering into the world of blood testing because we can easily end up in a doctor-like relationship with our clients; working in an allopathic model consisting of tests, results and prescription – rather than a holistic one. We become the middle man between customer and product.
Live & Dry Blood Analysis is the modern holistic solution to allopathic blood testing.
There are other ways to use blood to assess health; ways that allow us to gauge a person’s overall health – to see it from many angles and create a broader picture of what is happening within the body, the cells and the organs.
This is because blood affects every cell in our body. It flows through all of our organs and affects all our body’s systems.
Our blood’s plasma is a nutrient delivery system as well as a carrier of wastes. Vital nutrients and water are extracted from our digestive tract and deposited in the blood stream. From there they travel within the blood’s plasma, around the body and diffuse out of the circulatory system and into the tissues.
This is how our cells receive nutrients so that they can function. Additionally, cells release their wastes into the extracellular fluid which diffuses back into the circulation.
Let’s look at some of the blood components seen during Live Blood Analysis, which make it such an incredibly powerful tool for the holistic health practitioner:
When looking at a person’s blood sample under the darkfield microscope, we are able to assess the contents of the plasma. You can see aggregations of waste products – called crystals – which can enter the circulation for various reasons.
Uric acid for example, a by-product of the metabolism of purine which mostly comes from certain foods in the diet, is usually filtered out as the blood passes through the kidneys. Uric acid crystals can be found in the blood, which can signal several things:
The kidneys are not working well, or
The digestion and metabolism of protein is not working well or
The diet contains too much protein.
Fibrin is a clotting cascade protein produced by the liver and circulates in a dormant form ready to be activated in case it is needed to maintain circulatory homeostasis. If it appears in its activated form when analysing live blood it can indicate:
That there is damage in the linings of the circulatory system, or
The liver is stressed and is producing too much fibrin/too little fibrinogen, or
The client is prone to cardiovascular injury
Whatever the reason for the appearance of fibrin in the blood, possible consequence of it are impaired blood circulation, a tendency to create thrombosis and a lack of oxygen reaching cells, tissues and organs. This can affect the health of the whole body!
The blood’s red blood cells do not leave the circulatory system. They spend their whole 120 days of life travelling through the veins, arteries, capillaries and organs – being squeezed, pushed and pulled.
The quantity, shape, size and quality of the red blood cells can reveal a myriad of issues - even whether any damage to them is caused during circulation or whether they were produced abnormally during their production in the bone marrow. Some of the things revealed in live blood analysis are:
Lack of specific nutrients – B12, folate, iron, essential fatty acids
Stress in certain organs like the spleen, the kidneys and the liver
Protein metabolism issues
Lack of oxygen in the tissues
The white blood cells of the immune system travel in and out of circulation and they can all be found in a live blood sample. The quantity, quality, shape and size can indicate several things about our immune system:
· Lack of nutrients – B12, folate, vitamin c, zinc and EFAs
· Allergies, parasites, pollution
· Evidence of pathogens – viruses, bacteria, fungus
· Evidence of possible autoimmune issues and inflammation
As you can see, viewing the blood in its live state can reveal so much - without having to mix it with chemicals, put it through a machine, stain the cells and separate them out!
The above are just a few examples of issues that you can find in a person’s live blood sample, there are more indications found in the dry blood which I will discuss in another blog post!
Using the results of a client’s LBA effectively
The results of blood analysis can be included in a holistic health practitioner’s assessment of the client, taking into account the detailed case history and the blood analysis.
This enables them to build a more thorough picture of their client’s health, which is based not just on theory but also based on their clients’ own cellular health and the state of their blood’s plasma.
Live and dry blood analysis can assess the state of a client’s blood to determine possible root causes of any of their health symptoms, assess whether their routes of elimination are blocked, whether their digestive system is working correctly, the level of burden on the immune system, stress on the liver or kidneys and so much more.
The sensitive and knowledgeable holistic practitioner will know that simply supplementing missing nutrients will not fix the root cause. The results of blood analysis will help the practitioner devise a bespoke protocol for their client that will address the root causes of any nutrient deficiencies, for example, so the body can heal itself.
The holistic health model believes that everyone is unique and this applies to blood too – every client’s blood is a reflection of their uniqueness.