What does the recent deluge of rain mean for us, aside from undried laundry? What does it do to our body? You have probably noticed that you tend to feel more sluggish, moody and tired during wet weather? That is what we call ‘dampness’ in the body in Chinese medicine.
Dampness in Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we place a huge emphasis on the effects of the external environment on our internal body. Our body changes according to the weather as a way to maintain internal equilibrium. When the body is no longer able to cope with the changes, symptoms will start to surface.
Dampness is the condition that we use to describe water retention or swelling in the body. This can manifest as physical swelling such as pitted oedema and puffiness but this is not always the case. Dampness is heavy in nature so it can weigh down the energy flow in the body. In response, you may feel more sluggish and tired. Your bowels may be looser and you could experience phlegm in your chest or nose.
What causes dampness in the body?
In TCM, there are 2 main causes of dampness in the body.
- Excessive humidity in the environment – This includes prolonged raining seasons (such as the weather in Sydney now!) and living in a damp environment.
- Poor digestive system – Our digestive system is in charge of transforming and transporting the nutrients we get from food and fluid to the rest of the body. When this function is impaired, our body’s metabolism is affected leading to an accumulation of wastes and damp in the body.
How can we reduce dampness in the body?
Here are 5 tips for improving your water metabolism and reducing the dampness in your body:
- Keep moving – It is extremely important to keep moving to keep the circulation flowing in the body. It can be as simple as going out for walks and yoga stretching.
- Stay hydrated – It may seem paradoxical to drink more water when your body already has fluid retention. But don’t forget that 70% of our body is water and that our body relies on water to function properly. It is recommended to drink water in smaller and frequent quantities to allow time for the body to absorb the water.
- Sauna – The deep penetrating heat from sauna can help improve your blood circulation and so your body gets rid of the water quicker. It also has many other benefits such as stress relief.
- Food – Some foods are “damp” in nature, such as diary products and sweets. Alcohol and deep-fried greasy foods are also foods to avoid when you have excessive dampness presenting in the body. Warm and cooked food is always recommended for easier and better digestion.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatment focused on improving the digestive system and your overall circulation can be very helpful. As these systems improve, it will naturally facilitate the fluid metabolism to help your body to get rid the dampness faster.
I need some help getting rid of dampness after all this rain! How do I make an appointment?