In Chinese Medicine, there is a concept called dampness, a condition of deficient Spleen energy. This disrupts the Spleen’s function in transporting nutrients and transforming fluids. Moisture is not able to be transformed which results in a “wet” environment that further contributes to unwellness. There are different levels of dampness that can manifest in different parts of our body. An individual dealing with dampness can have symptoms relating to more than one level.
These levels as described by Dr Lily Choi are –
- skin conditions such as rashes and hives
- muscular level that can be seen s feelings of fatigue and weight gain
- joints and bones, including shoulder and neck pain
- at the organ level, we have inflammation and can manifest as yeast, cysts, and fibroids
- at the body level, dampness can be seen in more serious conditions.
Spleen is the yin organ with Stomach its yang partner in digestion. They are both of the Earth Element and are most sensitive in late summer. Imbalances of the Spleen energy can come from consuming foods such as refined sugars, processed foods, dairy, cold food and drinks, and alcohol. Both of these organs prefer warmth. Excessive sweetness also disrupts kidney energy.
The spleen and stomach are the root of one’s health; if this root is imbalanced, then the whole body is imbalanced. This imbalance can manifest is so many different symptoms that seem totally unconnected, but in fact, have the same root imbalance
Symptoms of Dampness
Some symptoms of Dampness include:
- heavy or fuzzy feeling in the head which can be experienced with a lack of clarity in thinking
- feeling lethargic and tired
- urinary discomfort or cloudy urine
- loss of appetite
- sticky coating on the tongue (may be yellow or white)
- heaviness in the limbs and lower body
- vaginal discharge
- skin conditions that have weepy discharge
- swollen ankles (and general water retention in the lower body)
Ways of Supporting the Spleen & Addressing Dampness
There are many ways to support the spleen. Below are some tips from both Chinese Medicine and Jin Shin Jyutsu.
- address sources of stress and worry. Learn effective tools to reduce their effects and work to shift your mindset and beliefs around these areas. Worry and overthinking imbalance the Spleen energy.
- enjoy warming foods such as ginger tea, dates, broths, and congee and minimize cold foods especially in the morning (unless your Human Design determination is Cold Thirst)
- minimize “damp” foods characterized by its soft and sticky texture as well as wheat, alcohol and dairy
- try foods that remove dampness including cornsilk, barley, and rice
- include earth element foods including what’s grown in the ground such as potatoes
- moderate and regular movement helps to move energy and qi around the body
- explore acupuncture and cupping to address dampness. Moxibustion is also something that is enjoyable and effective.
- support your spleen by holding your thumb regularly and try this hold – right hand on the inside of your right ankle and left hand on the tailbone