As someone interested in health and vitality, you may have heard about live blood analysis, but you may think that it is expensive, painful(!) or that you have to travel abroad to have it done. There are, in fact, many practitioners in many countries, including the uK, who use this observation technique. As someone aiming to optimise their health, you might find that live and dry blood analysis is an effective way to see if the path you are following and the choices you are making are really delivering the results that you are seeking.
One of the questions I am most often asked during consultations is ‘why is this test not more commonly used or more readily available?’ Part of the answer may be a lack of knowledge and understanding of the origins and process of the practice. So with that in mind, here are some history, explanation and factors to consider in deciding if live blood viewing is for you.
The first microscope was invented in the 1590s. In the 1600s,a Dutch tradesman called Anton van Leeuwenhoek polished and refined lenses sufficiently to observe phenomena such as bacteria and the movement of blood cells for the first time.
Researchers such as Claude Bernard, Antoine Béchamp and Louis Pasteur used microscopes to observe blood and other micro-organisms in the 1800s. Their discoveries led to the refinement and development of both the light source and the objectives (viewing lens) of microscopes.
In the early 20th century, dark field microscopy (1903) and the Nobel Prize-winning phase contrast viewing (1923) were developed. These two methods of obscuring the light source of the microscope allowed micro- matter in the plasma (fluid surrounding red and white blood cells) to become apparent. Researchers such as Gunter enderlein and Gaston Naessens exploited these possibilities and observed elements in living blood that had not previously been visible.
Different types of blood tests
As Pasteur’s theory that germs (bacteria, viruses, and so on) cause disease gained followers, the philosophical perspective that blood could be accurately observed and analysed as a static medium seemed appropriate. Drying and staining blood allowed different bacterial forms to be identified, and the number and size of red and white blood cells to be counted using microscopes.
This is the basis of the most widely used blood tests today. The complete blood count (CBC) or full blood count (FBC) that is used in most hospitals and doctors’ surgeries gives a static, quantitative (number-based) snapshot in time.
This information is, of course, useful
and valid in assessing important
markers of health, but it can, and
arguably should, be complemented by an observation of blood in its
living, moving form. One reason for this is the ability to observe the
activity and phenomena that occur
in the plasma that surrounds the red and white blood cells. Another is the intellectual connection of the observer that blood is a dynamic medium that is constantly changing. This can only help to reinforce the link between diet and lifestyle choices and improved wellbeing. Live blood observation also allows the quality and interaction of blood cells to be observed, unlike examination of dried, stained samples.
Dried but not stained
Having explained some of the benefits of using live blood viewing, it is important to point out that many complementary health practitioners using the observation method also look at non-stained dry blood drops.
As the search for answers to questions about body functionality and physiology through magnification continued, european researchers in the 1920s started observing patterns appearing in drops of blood that were allowed to dry on slides. unlike the high magnification used for live blood viewing, they observed these drops at lower magnifications of two and four times. As the practice developed, a correlation between disruptions in the matrix of coagulated dried blood and states of health imbalance started to emerge.
Some people using this technique have attracted controversy, particularly when they have suggested a diagnostic capability. To state that patterns visible in these clotted blood drops imply the presence of a disease is inappropriate. Commonly accepted bio-chemistry principles can, however, be used to explain why disrupted patterns may arise in these samples.
To read more about:
- Current views of live and dry blood analysis
- The role of the microscopist/practitioner
- The impact of eating raw, living plant- based diets on your blood
- Some important considerations in selecting a blood microscopist
- Where to look for a blood microscopist
- Case Study
Subscribe to Get Fresh! magazine here
Gareth Edwards BSc Dip ION mBANT is a CNHC- registered nutritional therapist practising in south london and at the Hale Clinic. For more information, go to www.food-for-life.co.uk