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Dampness is an affliction that is recognized as a significant ailment in Traditional Chinese Medicine. One of the fundamental concepts of TCM is the intimate relationship between the body and the environment. If one’s body can’t cope with changes in the environment, internal equilibrium will be lost, and a person becomes susceptible to disease.

But what exactly is dampness, and how can it affect a person? Let’s take a detailed look now.

What is dampness in Chinese Medicine ? 

What does dampness mean? In TCM, dampness is identified as excessive body fluid that has gathered in the organs or joints. A significant amount of water in the human body can lead to health complications and illnesses. People can experience damp retention in several ways, often because they have been exposed to excessive humid heat, for instance.

It is commonly used to describe a range of underlying health conditions that appear as a result of excessive water retention, including headaches and migraines, painful limbs and joints, internal digestive issues, and even mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders and depression.

What is the TCM view on dampness heat? 

The Yin & Yang principle is used within TCM to articulate the relationship between external factors and internal conditions. It is believed that a person’s Yin and Yang combine to cause too much internal dampness, and therefore cause a health ailment.

In TCM, When the body is hot, the bodily fluids (Yin) are reduced, meaning the Yang energy is higher in comparison. Such an imbalance causes one of many heat symptoms, including itchiness, excessive sweating, dry skin.  Insomnia and anxiety are also frequently seen TCM dampness symptoms.

Learn more about TCM on dampness heat directly from our TCM experts!

How can dampness negatively affect a person’s health? 


As has been mentioned, dampness can cause a variety of health conditions and can affect people differently. Symptoms of dampness in the body vary according to where the dampness accumulates. Let’s take a look at five specific ways damp heat can negatively affect the human body:

Damp heat in the meridian of the liver

If you suffer from damp heat in the liver, it’s most likely to have been caused by poor diet and a range of other lifestyle choices, such as alcohol, unprotected sex, as well as where you live and work. If you have damp heat in the liver, you might experience many of the following symptoms:

  • Appetite loss
  • Stress
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Pain in the hypochondrium (under the ribs on either side, but usually the right side)
  • Smelly and yellow discharges that may be itchy. For women, these are often from the vagina.
  • Bitter and/or sticky taste
  • Inflammation, eczema, redness, sores, pain, and itching around sexual organs
  • Fatigue and feeling heavy in general

Damp heat in the spleen

Damp heat in the spleen makes a person feel very sluggish and tired and presents itself as a feeling of fullness and discomfort. Like damp heat in the liver, the symptoms are many, and include:

  • Bloating
  • Nausea and sickness
  • Weight gain
  • Loose stool with a pungent odour
  • General feeling of heaviness
  • Dull headache


Damp heat in the Gallbladder 

Damp heat in the gallbladder is commonly caused by both negative emotions and living in a damp-heat environment. What’s more, people who over-indulge in fatty and greasy foods may also suffer from damp heat in this area. The most common symptoms of damp heat in the gallbladder include:

  • Hypochondriac distention and pain
  • Gall bladder stones
  • Yellow complexion
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Thirst with no desire to drink
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Dark yellow urine


Damp heat in the stomach 

Most notably, damp heat appears in the stomach as pain in the epigastrium and general bloating. Although the symptoms are similar to those outlined above, they also include:

  • Loose stool
  • Problematic bowel movement
  • Significantly reduced appetite as a result of feeling full
  • Eczema or any other skin disorders and irritations



Damp heat in the bladder

Damp heat in the bladder can be incredibly itchy and uncomfortable. Men will commonly feel stinging in the penis, while women will feel pain in the vagina when urinating. Symptoms of damp heat in the bladder include:

  • Painful urination
  • Unable to pass urine, even though it feels like you’re desperate
  • Urinary tract infections

Why do we need to follow a healthy diet to avoid dampness? 

What causes dampness in the body? As we’ve learned, dampness is often caused by poor lifestyle choices and an unhealthy diet consisting of fatty and generally unhealthy foods. Many of the symptoms we suffer as a result of dampness can be avoided by maintaining a healthy diet and by being mindful about what you eat and how you exercise. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of dampness in the body

What are the most common causes of dampness in the body? 

  • Food: The food we eat is a major cause of dampness in the body. To maintain good health, avoid fast foods with high levels of saturated fats, and ensure you incorporate all of the essential food groups into your balanced diet.


  • External factors: In TCM, we must recognize the role that external factors play on dampness in the body. People who live in particularly hot and humid environments suffer many of the symptoms of dampness. 


  • Internal factors: As well as the environment, dampness can be caused by internal imbalances in the body, and regular exercise and other healthy practices can help prevent dampness from negatively impacting our lives. 

How do I prevent dampness? 

The key to treating and preventing dampness is living a healthy lifestyle. This involves eating nutrient-rich foods from all essential food groups and regularly exercising to ensure good mental and physical health. Other people find regularly attending the sauna helps greatly, as well as other treatments like acupuncture.

Regarding food, you may want to try avoiding an excess of the following into your diet to protect yourself from dampness:

  • Milk products (except yoghurt)
  • Sugar and sweets
  • White wheat flour
  • Refined starch and highly processed products
  • Fermented foods
  • Alcohol
  • Fatty and deep-fried foods


Diet for dampness : incorporate the below for best results 

  • Green vegetables such as broccoli
  • Green tea and other herbal teas
  • Oats and brown rice
  • Roasted and smoked meats and fish

Get personalised advice from our TCM specialists for free!

What are the benefits of improving my diet to avoid dampness? 


Removing fatty foods and others that have a negative impact on your health will help you to feel better generally. But they will also allow you to specifically eradicate the problem of damp and allow you to live a more peaceful and enjoyable life. The benefits of following a dampness diet include:


  • Reduced fatigue: You will stop feeling bloated and tired and will feel more energized during the day.


  • Improved appetite: Instead of feeling constantly hungry or full, you will enjoy food again and strike a nice balance.


  • Maintain a healthy weight: Following a decent diet will help you maintain a healthy weight and enables you to avoid health complications associated with weight loss or gain.


  • Water retention: Your body will be able to retain water and you won’t sweat excessively or have to use the bathroom too often.


  • Clear mind: A healthy body often equals a healthy mind, and you will feel less stressed, angry, and frustrated.


  • Improved motivation: Overall, you will find yourself more motivated to complete tasks and will feel a greater sense of satisfaction when your mind and body are healthy and aligned.


The Bottom Line 

Dampness is a serious affliction that can lead to many underlying health problems and can cause many painful and uncomfortable symptoms that you have to live with. By following a carefully planned, health-focused diet, you can better manage your health and avoid suffering from dampness, ensuring you look after your health and overall wellbeing.

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* These statements on the blog for infertility quotes have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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