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Blood flow thickness – a myth November 26, 2006

Posted by genchan in Health, Japan.
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In Japan, there is a widespread believe that the thickness of our blood flow – whether its swift (サラサラ) or sludgy (ドロドロ) – relates to our health – good or bad. In recent years, this believe has taken roots thanks to TV variety shows showing how blood flows in a medical machine where some peoples’ blood flow swiftly while some others get stuck and become sludgy. It feeds on the simple understanding that clean flow represents good health while sludgy flow (as in the image of mud) shows bad health.

This, unfortunately, has led to money making opportunities in capitalist Japan ranging from food items to health gadgets said to correct blood flow imbalance.

Finally, the truth has come out. A group of prominent doctors on a regular TV program decided to correct this misunderstanding. Put simply, its a myth. A bogus idea probably started by someone to earn money off people’s fears.

According to them, blood flow has nothing to do with our health condition. Blood flow can appear swift when we are relaxed and gets sludgy at times when we are stressed or under pressure. In short, our blood flow fluctuates and is capable of correcting itself. This indeed is good news! It is amazing to think how sometimes we can be fooled into believing something by taking things at face value.

While we are on the subject, be aware of bogus claim that shows blood cells overlapping each other or chapped shape of the cell on a microscope as an indication of bad health/disease. The former is due to the thickness of blood sample on the glass slide making the cells appear overlapping while the latter is due to time – a 20 sec exposure to air could cause the blood cell to die off showing chapped shape on the microscope. 

And while we are on the subject of health, let it be known as well that there is no real prove of a link between blood type and personality. This was made clear by the doctors as well. In Japan, young people especially women tend to assign personality/attitude to the four blood types. Some even go as far as choosing their life partner based on this. Just ask yourself if we can easily categorize 6 billion people on this planet into just 4 blood types, life would be a breeze.

Now, have you ever noticed greenish or blue-black veins (静脈) appearing on the surface of your skin, especially around your calf or behind your knee? It normally affects middle-aged women and is considered a disease by the doctors. This is because if left untreated, it could lead to skin disease and even death. Often, it happens to people who stand a lot (e.g. waiter or hairdresser), experienced pregnancy, etc. Its due to blood pressure flowing badly up. You can see it on your hands as well – it will appear/swell when you put your hands down and disappear when you lift them up above your heart level. So, how do you treat it? Either cut it off or kill it with laser or injection.