What is Dampness in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

With all of this rain let’s talk about Dampness! In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we look at the body in its relation to nature and the environment. We each have a constitution we are born into. When we overburden and tax our bodies we can be prone to outside influences weakening us and causing symptoms to develop. These are referred to as the “6 evils” or 6 pathogenic influences. They are:

The 6 Evils (TCM):

  • wind
  • cold
  • heat
  • damp
  • dryness
  • summer heat

…and each presents with characteristic symptoms.

Damp symptoms often make someone feel heavy. It can lead to pain (usually dull and dispersed) and achy joints. Dampness often affects the lower body but can manifest in the lungs when first contracted. It’s associated with sticky secretions in the body, water retention, indigestion, and diarrhea. A person with dampness will have a hard time in humid situations and often has difficulty losing weight.

Damp can combine with heat to in the body leading to symptoms like oily face, frequent acne breakouts, thirst and bitter taste in mouth, sense of heaviness in the body, difficult, sticky bowel movements, dark yellow urine and thick vaginal discharge.

Damp can also combine with cold to create symptoms like achy joints in cold wet weather sticky or sweet taste in the mouth, excessive throat secretions (usually clear in color) sweating, chest stuffiness, preference for sweet and greasy foods, and a thick tongue coating.

Ways to help and prevent dampness:

  • Regular acupuncture treatments, moxibustion and cupping
  • Avoid greasy and sweet foods, cold drinks and alcohol
  • Eating aromatic foods like onions, ginger, garlic can help break up dampness in the body
  • Regular exercise with light sweating
  • Using a sauna 1-2 times a week

Contact us for a consultation.

Written by Sarah Rose Vogel, LAC, MSTOM, CMT

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