Bloodletting is an ancient therapy that works to remove internal and external disharmonies system by withdrawing small amounts of blood at specific locations all over the body.
The primary functions of blood letting include increasing circulation and clearing heat. When blood fails to move properly, due to trauma for example, stagnation can occur which will lead to pain and dysfunction. Pricking the vessels around an area of trauma induces obvious movement of blood from that wound. When blood before to move, local stasis is transformed and circulation is improved. Bloodletting also has a powerful function to clear heat both locally and systemically. In injuries associated with localized heat and swelling, pricking the skin to open the surface of the body allows for the venting of the “evil” heat which will allow faster healing to occur.
Some secondary functions of blood letting include stopping pain and dispersing swelling. In Chinese medicine, where there is stagnation there is pain. Bloodletting and area will quicken and move the qi and blood, which will reduce stagnation, therefor stopping pain. Swellings are areas of blood, fluid, or toxin accumulations. Directly opening the skin around the area of swelling allows substances to exit the body.
Modern research on bloodletting
There has been many studies on bloodletting that show effective for a variety of painful conditions. Some examples include low back pain, frozen shoulder, trigeminal neuralgia, carpal tunnel, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been proven to have a positive immune modulating and cardiovascular effect, with studies that show bloodletting decreases LDL cholesterol levels and improved LCL/HDL ratio, suggesting it may have a preventative effect against atherosclerosis.