Defining Dampness- A Chinese Medicine Pattern

Dampness is a Yin pathogenic factor and it injures Yang.  Dampness refers to living conditions as well as weather. The characteristics of dampness are sticky, heavy and turbid. It is difficult to get rid of, it slows the spleen function of transformation and transportation down, it moves in and down and causes repeated attacks.  When dampness invades the body it attacks the lower extremities first. It flows upward in the leg channels settle in the pelf ice cavity where it can cause vaginal discharges.  When it settles in the Bladder it cause difficulty, frequency and burning of urination. Feeling of heaviness of the body or head, poor appetite, a feeling of fullness of chest or epigastrium, a sticky taste, urinary difficulty, a sticky tongue coating, slippery or soggy pulse are all characteristics of dampness.

Dampness weights the body down and causes a feeling of tiredness, oppression of the chest, epigastrium or abdomen and it tends to settle in the lower burner.  Dampness causes head aches because it prevents the clear yang from acceding to the head to brighten the sense orifices and clear the brain.  Dampness reflects in dirty discharge such as cloudy urine, vaginal discharges or skin disease characterized by think and dirty fluids.

Dampness is also classified when the head feels heavy and muzzie, eyes are red swollen, eyes oozing fluids, styes. When the mouth reflects ulcers on gums, swollen red lips. When the stomach has a feeling of fullness in epigastrium, after eating, sticky taste, loose stools, poor appetite, soggy pulse. When the lower burner shows signs of excessive vaginal discharge, painful periods, infertility, turbid urine, difficult and painful urination, genital eczema and genital itching.

On the skin papules, greasy sweat, any oozing skin lesion indicate dampness. If the joints are swollen painful, this is also a clear indication of dampness. Dampness can cause several diseases depending on its location.

Dampness can be complex therefore it is divided into two categories Internal and External dampness.

External dampness can invade the bladder, intestines, stomach, uterus or gallbladder. If the invasion involves the channels it can cause acute joint pain.

Invasion of External Dampness in Bladder- painful urination, scanty but frequent, cloudy, feeling of heaviness in lower abdomen. If it is associated with heat, burning pain on urination, dark urine, thrist but not desire to drink and a yellow tongue coating with a slightly rapid pulse would manifest.

If it were the Stomach or intestine, vomiting watery diarrhea with out smell, epigastric pain, feeling of stuffiness of the epigastrium, fold limbs, lack of appetite, this would be an indication of invasion of external dampness in the stomach.  If dampness affected the uterus- indications would reflect in painful periods, excessive vaginal discharge. Gall Bladder dampness would be hypochondrial pain, feeling of heaviness and bitter taste.  When several joints are affected this is called Damp Heat and occurs with a sudden onset.  The tongue will have a thick sticky coating and a slippery pulse

Internal dampness comes from a deficiency of Spleen and sometimes Kidney. Internal dampness is categorized according to acute and chronic conditions.  They affect the same organs and relatively have the   same type of indications.  Chronic dampness in the skin is the main cause of several skin disease, chiefly eczema. They manifest with papules or with skin lesions oozing fluid and with puffiness of the skin.

The Spleen organ is mostly used to eliminate dampness.  SP9, SP6 and SP3 are the main points.

A vegetable based diet, regular exercise and consuming food that dry dampness can help clear symptoms. Turmeric is a great spice to use on food. It dries dampness and moves qi.

Resource:

Foundations of Chinese Medicine, Giovanni Maciocia