Face-to-face consultation: checking the amount of oxygen in your blood

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include professional physical health checks. One of these checks is of the oxygen levels in your blood.

Why do we do this?

The amount of oxygen in our blood is affected by such things as smoking asthma or dehydration. We need to know if the blood is carrying enough oxygen throughout your body, but particularly to your brain and heart.

What happens?

We take an estimate of the amount of oxygen in your blood (also called oxygen saturation) by placing a small device (called a pulse oximeter) on one of your fingers. The device shines a light through one side of your finger and a detector measures the light that comes through the other side. Blood cells that are full of oxygen absorb and reflect light differently than those with not enough oxygen. Anything that absorbs light can give a false reading (such as dark nail varnish). Also movement can give a false reading so you will be asked to keep your hand still while the oximeter is clipped to your finger. Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will tell you the result and record your results on a chart.

What do the results mean?

Normal readings are 94-100%. If your reading is below this we may advise that you also inform your GP.

The amount of oxygen in your blood may be related to various factors including your respiratory system. The lungs are the organs that receive oxygen that we breathe in through our nose and mouth.

According to Ayurveda, the lungs are an important site of kapha dosha, the force in the body which is governed by the elements of water and earth. Most disorders of the respiratory system are a result of imbalanced kapha dosha.

From an Ayurvedic view, oxygen is closely related to the subtle force of prana (vital life force). Breathing exercises which increase oxygen would also increase prana and vice versa. It is said that in the form of oxygen, prana takes its energy, or that oxygen is a manifestation of prana and that prana is most easily sensed in breathing. But prana is considered more subtle than the breath or the oxygen contained in the air. Prana is not oxygen, but is in oxygen (and also food). Prana is a life force that is in all things.