What does your blood say about you? A lot, apparently. Charlotte takes an in-depth look at the red stuff being pumped around our bodies…
I’ve done many things in the quest for wellness, from sweating in infrared saunas and downing matcha lattes to bathing in red wine and eating intuitively. But I felt it was high time I took a real look at what goes on internally, via our blood. Turns out, it’s enlightening.
Approximately seven per cent of our body weight is made up of blood, roughly nine to 12 pints. There are four main different blood groups, (A, B, AB and O) and each can be positive or negative.
Blood is of crucial importance to the body. It transports oxygen, sends waste products to the right places and transports nutrients, hormones and minerals around the body. So if you want to know if you’re functioning optimally, examining blood components feels like a good place to start.
The first thing I did was send off for a Thriva blood testing kit. This personalised health service has a nifty little package that allows you to take your own blood at home. You then send it off to a lab to be processed by a registered GP. It’s super easy and hassle-free, with very clear instructions.
Register your kit online first, filling in a body profile (age, height and so on.) Do the test first thing in the morning. Using the enclosed lancet (no open needles, hardly any pain, and adorable plasters for after) fill the test tube up with some blood droplets. Then you just label it, pop it in the self-stamped envelope and drop it in a postbox.
Three days later, I receive an email saying my results are in, so head online. I’m pretty happy with what I see: my iron, ferritin, Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 levels are excellent. Score for all that sunbathing on holiday.
My lipid profile is apparently “excellent”, too, with cholesterol levels normal. A relief to me, as high cholesterol runs in my family.
The only possible issue is my liver function. While it is largely normal, total protein levels are lower than ideal. It’s very moderate, but armed with this information, I could decide to make certain lifestyle choices, and if anything is alarming, Thriva will recommend further tests, like thyroid function.
Everything is clearly explained and sets out why exactly each vitamin is important. It’s an incredibly easy and trustworthy way to arm yourself with a huge font of information, and the access it offers is brilliant.
Design Your Blood
Feeling more informed about the actual inner workings of my body than I ever have before, I make an appointment with Toni Dicks. This wellness guru runs Design Your Blood, a consultancy service that uses live blood microscopy to enhance how we feel. Basically, if you really want to delve deep, deep, into how optimal blood function is so crucial for our health, you want to meet Toni.
It was when on the brink of burnout and after personal trauma that she came across Terrain Theory, put forward by Antoine Beauchamp (1816-1908). His premise was that if your blood is in balance, you can’t get sick, regardless of what germs come in. By balanced, he meant achieving homeostasis on the pH scale of acid (negatively charged, where disease thrives) and alkaline (positively charged) with optimal balanced pH being 7.365.
Our pH, Toni explained to me, is affected by a few things. Half of these go into the body, like certain medicines, food and liquid and heavy metals such as mercury. She tells me that red wine is less acidic than white, foods with fermented cane sugar are highly acidic, and that we should be drinking 3L of good quality water (pH neutral) daily. The other half of what affects the pH levels of the blood are things leaving our body, through respiration, perspiration and an active lymph system, urination and defecation.
However, even more important than what physically enters and leaves our body is our emotional condition. Stress is crippling, which is why calming treatments like breath meditation and sound therapy have a huge positive affect on the homeostasis of the blood, and could even possibly reduce blood pressure.
Putting this all into practice, Toni takes a blood sample from me and we examine it on screen under a microscope. “You san see pH levels by how cellular activity is organised”, she says. When the blood is alkaline, the cells are separated out with room to move, while in acidic conditions they’re all bunched together and can’t get through the circulatory system.
Mine’s not bad – some nice movement, apparently, but Toni suggests that a probiotic would help me.
Sound therapy + blood
Next, she performs sound therapy, playing crystal singing bowls while I lie on the floor. “Different geometric patterns come out of each bowl”, Toni says. It’s because each is encrusted with different minerals, gems and metals, such as platinum, sapphire and iron. Intuitively, different bowls resonate with different people, depending on their frequency.
The lower, bigger bowls work for me, and Toni actually says when bowls don’t respond to a person’s frequency, they are impossible to play louder.
After a relaxing session in which the sound really resonates, Toni takes another blood sample. Amazingly, while the treatment was short, there appears to have been a slight improvement in my lymph, the fluid in the lymphatic system.
Among other things, blood is an indicator for overall health. While sound baths are by no means a cure all for serious illness, it’s certainly a relaxing stress reliever, which has a knock-on effect elsewhere. There’s a whole world of complementary therapy to be had here.
Main image: Shuttershock