Chapter 16: Arteriosclerosis
Arteriosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries. If they harden in your chest, which is known as cardiosclerosis, you will experience chest pain or pressure. If the arteries leading to your brain harden, you may experience weakness in your limbs, slurred speech, or difficulty speaking. Unless treated, this may lead to a stroke. The hardening of the arteries going to the kidneys means you will develop high blood pressure or kidney failure. Hardening of the arteries leading to your genitals may cause difficulties having sex. Remember, our arteries need to be flexible so they can do their jobs. People who die from arteriosclerosis have arteries that are the consistency of stretched piano wire.
In order to survive, your arteries have to be flexible. The “uptake breathing function” (inhalation) is closely related to arteries and blood flow. Therefore, proper breathing is necessary to help your blood move effortlessly within your body. To avoid health problems, your arteries must have the ability to contract and carry blood. When your heart pumps, your arteries should contract in a harmonic rhythm, perfectly synchronized with the heart. This harmonic relationship has been with us since birth. In fact, the rhythm starts in the womb. This explains how 5.5 litres (a little over 5 ½ quarts) of blood in a person weighing 150 pounds can be pumped throughout our bodies in 46 seconds. Our body learned to function this way from conception. In someone with developing arteriosclerosis, it can take a minute or more for blood to pump throughout the body because their arteries are not as supple anymore.
The heart works extremely hard, and pumps blood every 0.4 seconds. It beats 100,000 times a day and supplies all of our cells with 2,000 gallons or more of oxygenated blood a day! Think of how much work it already does. If it has to work harder because our arteries are in poor condition, it will eventually wear out much faster than it should. Poor arteries and sticky blood cause a person’s heart to give out.
Healthy arteries also equate to good blood pressure. If our blood takes longer to go throughout our bodies, then this is indicative of a heart problem, a blood vessel problem, or both. They go hand in hand. These problems can be from a number of sources, including, but not limited to, poor eating habits, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, or a sedentary lifestyle. Exactly the opposite habits are what lead to a long, healthy life.
Poor habits, like the ones previously listed, will lead to less blood supply in our brains. In turn, all kinds of health problems may develop. For example, a stroke occurs if blood circulation in the brain is lacking. In turn, brain cells can die from the lack of oxygen associated with poor blood flow in the brain. In the end, you can be paralyzed or even die. These problems can be avoided with simple lifestyle changes.
You must limit the cause of poor blood flow. As I mentioned before, one of the biggest contributors of poor blood flow is having too much cholesterol and triglycerides in our blood vessels. As you now know, this is caused by the over-consumption of animal products, which contain an excess amount of cholesterol and triglycerides. Our bodies can only handle a certain amount of cholesterol. If we put too much into our bodies, the blood will not carry it away because cholesterol and triglycerides are heavier than water, and they will sink to the bottom of our arteries. The blood vessels harden.
Think of an artery as a river. Small marble-sized rocks in the river represent cholesterol and triglycerides. Because of their small size, the river current easily moves them downstream. This is like our bloodstream moving a healthy amount of cholesterol and triglycerides throughout our bodies. But, let’s say we eat too much meat products and dairy products. Now, bigger, basketball sized rocks represent this extra cholesterol and triglycerides. They lay at the bottom of the river. The river current cannot move them down stream. Get enough big rocks in the river, and it has a hard time flowing properly.
The volume of water in the river does not decrease, even with the extra debris. Eventually, the river overflows the banks because too many big rocks make it impossible for all of the water to travel downstream. This equates to too much fat in our blood vessels clogging up the bloodstream; the excess material cannot be moved downstream. This is what leads to arteriosclerosis.
Even though this happens, blood vessels can often be healed and maintained through exercise and a healthy diet. Unfortunately, not all of our blood vessels are so easily healed, especially once the hardening has finished.
An example is when arteries in our brains harden. This causes our minds to act very strangely. Our mind-set becomes very loose, and the brain wanders. Our brain cannot pay attention to what we are doing or follow discussions with other people. We become forgetful, and may even start to forget who we are. In an extreme case, our loved ones become a distant shadow in our memories. The name for this is dementia.
With dementia, the arteries in the brain have hardened to the point that no blood can flow through them. Instead of the river flooding, it has dried up. With this drought of blood flow in the brain comes disjointed thoughts and forgetfulness. Sometimes the person remembers bits and pieces of their past, other times, nothing. The blood cannot nourish the brain, which means no oxygen gets through. The brain becomes a useless organ.
Thankfully, we do have medicine to help with arteriosclerosis, but it has to be taken the rest of the patient’s life. There is no medicine that will truly cure this disease; it can only control the symptoms. This treatment is accomplished by thinning the blood or calming the heart (meaning your heart does not pump as hard as before). Unfortunately, a weak heart is not a healthy heart.
So, what can we do if we have arteriosclerosis? What will help improve your blood vessels? The first step is eating a healthy diet of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Now, it is permissible to eat meat, but in limited quantities. Do not make meat the main dish of all of your meals. Remember, the meat from animal products contains a lot of cholesterol. The second step is to practice Darimar Ki-Gong breathing exercises, which will be explained in the following chapters. This way of breathing helps Ki energy flow throughout our bodies. Well-regulated Ki energy helps to “unstick” the blood in your vessels and keeps your body healthy and in harmony. What is the final step? Exercise! I’m not saying you need to exercise 16 hours each day, but you need to be active. You also need to know how to exercise properly. If you are going to jog, jog with somebody who does it a lot. They may be able to teach you something about it. For example, they may suggest how to breathe or how far you should run each time. It is also easier to maintain a good exercise routine when you exercise with others. A proper diet, Ki-gong breathing, and good exercise will ultimately lower your triglycerides and cholesterol. This is not only what you want, but also what you need in order to live longer.
Notice the markings on Grand Master Jang’s back – those are from Boo-Wang. This technique acts to draw out impurities in the blood. Some members of the US Olympic Team used this technique to draw out impurities and improve their metabolisms, Columbus, OH 1999.