Aging & Blood Stasis

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Yan De-xin is one of the leading "old Chinese doctors" in the People's Republic of China today. His theories on blood stasis and aging have revolutionized 2,000 years of Chinese geriatric medicine. Besides being a clinical manual on the treatment of all the most commonly seen geriatric diseases, this book contains the best discussion of the inter-relationship of the qi and blood of any so far in the English language. This book is an important addition to the English language Chinese medical literature.

Yan De-Xin is a famous 'old doctor' whose original theories and clinical work on aging have won him various prizes in China. It is well known that conventionally traditional Chinese medicine ascribes aging itself, and many of the diseases that accompany it, primarily to deficiency and decline, especially of the Kidneys and Spleen, and senility-combating formulas mostly stress supplementation of yin or yang. By contrast, Dr. Yan holds that blood stasis resulting from disharmony of qi and blood is the primary pathological state in old age, reflected by the saying "Life consists of transportation and stirring" and "Life consists of balance". Disharmony of qi and blood includes such patterns as qi deficiency and blood stasis, qi stagnation and blood stasis, rebellion of both qi and blood etc. Once blood is static, other patterns may emerge, for example heat may be generated, fluids may fail to move resulting in the formation of phlegm, or failure of free flow may lead to deficiency, reflecting the theory that blood stasis is itself a secondary cause of disease. Dr Yan states:

we can see that, in the senility of the human body, vacuity is only a symptom, while stasis is its root. Vacuity is the result, while stasis is the cause. The root of human senility consists of static blood ... I have personally observed that, after entering the period of old age, human beings typically manifest marked symptoms of blood stasis. For example, the appearance of skin pigmentation, rough skin, sclerotic opacitis, and senile plaques are all typical manifestations of blood stasis. Among the commonly seen geriatric diseases such as arteriosclerosis, hypertension, coronary heart diseases, windstroke, senile dementia, prostatic hyperplasia, and diseases of vertebrae in the neck, the cause of these diseases and their clinical manifestations are all related to blood stasis.

In this important book, Dr. Yan first lays down the theoretical foundations of his theory with references to many classics, and examines the symptoms and signs of blood stasis according to both Chinese and Western medicine. He then gives 10 primary 'balancing' prescriptions for treating different patterns of blood stasis (for example moving the qi and transforming stasis, clearing heat and transforming stasis etc.) and 4 balancing prescriptions for combating senility and preserving health. The bulk of the book, however, is devoted to prescriptions used in the treatment of various diseases of senility, and here we can see how his theory is carried out in practice. In many cases, standard prescriptions are used, with the addition of relatively small doses of one or two blood stasis herbs such as Chuan Xiong (Radix Ligustici Wallichii) or Dan Shen (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae). In other cases, blood moving is more prominent, for example his prescription for impotence due to damage to Heart and Kidneys includes Dan Shen (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae) 15g, Chi Shao (Radix Paeoniae Rubrae) 9g and Hong Hua (Flos Carthami Tinctorii) 9g. In the treatment of Spleen deficiency diarrhoea, the basic prescription is unsurprising except for the inclusion of Chuan Xiong (Radix Ligustici Wallichii). However an appended note says that if this prescription is not effective, one should add Ge Xia Zhu Yu Tang.

One of the dominant characteristics of aging is loss of flexibility and increasing stiffness in both the body and mind. Recent research has clearly demonstrated the great value of moving and exercising the body to counteract this stasis, and it is no great surprise to see this basic concept emphasised so strongly in the clinical treatment of diseases of aging. Whether moving blood stasis should be seen as quite such a universally applicable principle of geriatrics, or one that should be applied appropriately, will be decided by many years of clinical experimentation with Dr. Yan's theories. Certainly the principle should be absorbed by every practitioner, and we should be grateful to Dr. Yan for his originality and innovation

(Reviewed by Peter Deadman in The Journal of Chinese Medicine 51).

1. The Relationship of Qi and Blood to Senility
2. Master Yan's Diagnosis of the Pattern of Static Blood
3. The Relationship Between the Symptoms of Senility and Static Blood
4. Quickening the Blood & Regulating the Qi as an Effective Method for Combating Senility
5. The Clinical Application of the Balancing Method
6. Formulas for Combating Senility & Preserving Health Based on the Balancing Method
7. Secret Essentials in the Treatment of Commonly Seen Geriatric Patterns
8. Secret Essentials in the Treatment of Commonly Seen Geriatric Diseases
9. Conclusion


More Information

Yan De-xin, Guo-shun, Flaws
Blue Poppy Press, 2000
265 pages

Author Yan De-xin, Guo-shun, Flaws
Publication Date 1 Jan 1970
Publisher Blue Poppy Press
Number of Pages 265
Book Format Softback

An excerpt from Aging & Blood Stasis: A New TCM Approach to Geriatrics

Based on my many years of clinical experience, I have come to the realization that vacuity detriment of the viscera and bowels does not fully describe the causes and conditions of human senility. Through research and observation, I have discovered that: 1) Human birth, growth, youthful vigor, and the decline and debility of aging are all related to the qi and blood. 2) The chief mechanism of senility is loss of regulation and harmony of the qi and blood. 3) This disharmony is mainly due to blood stasis. As an extension of this realization, by applying the balancing method (heng fa), i.e., the methods of quickening the blood and rectifying the qi, one may obtain marked effects in combating senility. As the creator of this heng fa or balancing method, I have developed and refined this method through constant practice. Based on the viewpoint that, "Life consists of transportation and stirring (i.e., movement)" and "Life consists of balance", I have come to the conclusion that "Phlegm and stasis have a common origin" and that "Boosting the qi transforms stasis." Based on these conclusions, I have selected Chinese medicinals to quicken the blood, open the network vessels, rectify the qi, and transform phlegm in the preparation of excellent formulas, such as Heng Fa Chong Ji (Balancing Method Soluble Preparation) and Heng Fa Sheng Fang (Balancing Method Sagelike Formula). Through clinical and experimental research, marked effects have been obtained using this method in preventing and eliminating stasis. Below is a description of the relationship of the theory of qi and blood to senility as well as the theoretical basis and clinical effects of this balancing method.

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