In my previous post, I wrote about whether healthy fats can cause dampness in the body and if you do, how can you get rid of dampness with TCM? If you feel cold all the time or constantly have digestive issues or have that constant brain-fog that affects your ability to concentrate, then perhaps it is a sign of dampness in your body. In illnesses, dampness is described as a condition of stagnation and viscosity and is caused by the disturbance of the water metabolism.
In this post, I will be introducing:
- Acupuncture points for dampness
- Different types of moxibustion techniques
- TCM herbs for dampness
ACUPOINTS FOR DAMPNESS
REN 9 Shui Fen
On the mid-line of the abdomen, 1 cun (1 thumb breadth) above the belly button. Best to use moxibustion for this point. It regulates the water passage and opens up the water passage way. It can be used for water diseases such as edema. Distention of the intestines and stomach, vomiting after eating, swollen abdomen, feeling of “water” rushing up to the chest and causing difficulty breathing.
ST 40 Feng Long
On the front of the leg, imagine a line from the base of the knee cap to the outer prominence of the ankle bone, it’s right in the midway, and it’s 2 finger breadths from the tibia (shin) bone. It is the single most important acupoint on the Stomach meridian to transform phlegm in the body. ST 40 is a Luo point, which is the connecting point to the Spleen channel. So this has a duo effect, treating both Spleen and Stomach. It can clear dampness and phlegm from the Lung and alleviate cough and wheezing, clear phlegm to clear the mind (bye brain fog) so that clear Yang can rise to the head.
SP 3 Tai Bai
On the inside of the foot,slide the fingertip proximally over the side of the ball of the foot. This point is the Shu-stream, Yuan source and earth point of the Spleen channel and has a super powerful action of regulating the Spleen and Stomach. Super-acupoint for Dampness. Used for deficiency of the Spleen and Stomach, heaviness of the body, sensation of being “pressed down” on the bones, diarrhoea, hunger with no pleasure in eating.
“Dampness, swelling and fullness all pertain to the Spleen… and when the Spleen is diseased, damp is generated.” – Essential Questions
SP 9 Yin Ling Quan
On the inside of the leg near the knee, run the finger in the groove behind the tibia bone until it falls in a depression. This point is the He-sea and water point of the Spleen meridian and is an essential point in the treating conditions due to dampness and retention of fluid especially in the lower part of the body. Used for abdominal distention, cold and pain the abdomen (if you put something warm on it and it feels good means it’s caused by coldness), edema, swelling of the lower leg, sudden diarrhoea with undigested food (IBS), difficulty passing urination (water can’t flow properly).
KI 7 Fu Liu
On the inside of the ankle, in the depression 2 cun (3 finger breaths) above the ankle bone, in front of the Achilles tendon. Being on a Kidney meridian, it benefits the Kidneys, regulate the water passage and treats edema, regulate sweating (yup that’s water too), moisten dry tongue and parched mouth by channeling water where it’s supposed to be and regulating urination.
MOXIBUSTION FOR DAMPNESS
It is one of the TCM heating therapy which consists of burning dried mugwort or moxa called “Ai Ye” in Chinese on the acupoints. Moxa are dried leaves that has been pounded into like a cotton like form. We use moxa to warm certain parts of the body or acupoints to stimulate circulation and induce a smoother flow of Qi and blood. This is used to treat conditions associated with Yang deficiencies or coldness in the body. Since dampness is Yin and cold, moxa can move the water and alleviate the symptoms.
There are many types of moxibustion methods.
- Direct moxa: Tiny amount of moxa is placed directly onto the acupoint.
- Indirect moxa: Moxa is placed onto a ginger, garlic (for example on REN 9) or salt (to use in the belly button).
- Needle moxa: Moxa ball is pushed in onto the top of the needle. The heat will travel down the needle and directly onto the acupoint.
- Stick moxa: Moxa rolled up like a cigar and it is moved around in circles or pecking motion to target certain areas.
- Stick-on moxa: Convenient DIY moxa.
- Moxa box: Place moxa in the box and place the box on larger areas such as the abdomen, lower back or waist.
They even have a non-smoke version for those allergic to smoke or to be used in clinics with smoke alarms.
HERBS FOR DAMPNESS 💧
All the herb below are used tonify the Spleen to dry dampness. Most will promote urination, treat edema and diarrhoea. The main differentiating actions are in bold and I’ve added one emoji on the subheading that best describes the herb. In TCM, there’s this treatment principle that states “利小便实大便”, meaning to promote urination to solidify the stools. So by peeing it out the excess water, the stools become firmer. Yup, you need the water to be flowing in the right places!
Zhu Ling 🚽
- Zhu Ling is better at promoting urination than Fu Ling and Ze Xie.
- Zhu Ling cannot calm the Spirit like Fu Ling.
- Zhu Ling cannot cool deficient heat like Ze Xie. Zhu Ling is much better for damp heat in the lower regions of the body.
Che Qian Zi 👀
- Good for clearing damp-heat. Relief painful or difficult “hot” urinary dysfunction.
- Good for clearing Liver heat. Brightens the eyes, reduce red, pain, or swelling eyes.
- Good for dissolving phlegm in the Lung. Stops cough with lots of thick yellow sputum.
- Che Qian Zi is like chia seeds and will float and stick to the pot, or be difficult to strain so it’s usually packed in a cheesecloth.
Tong Cao 🍼
- Promotes Lactation
- Mu Tong is similar herb but it’s much more bitter and powerful. Toxic in high doses.
Yu Mi Xu 🌽
- It’s the hairy part of the corn. Next time you buy a corn cob, keep the hair and let it dry to use for tea.
- Good for edema due to nephritis, swelling, painful urination.
- Good for diabetes too.
Yi Yi Ren (Coix seed or Chinese Barley) ⛈️
- This barley is delicious and can be taken as tea or a sweet porridge by adding chinese red dates and Chi Xiao Dou (read below).
- Great food for strengthening the Spleen and at the same time getting rid of dampness.
- Good for stiff joints, muscle spasm and pain due to wind-damp obstruction in the meridians.
- Good for acne, pimples as it can clear heat and expel pus.
Chi Xiao Dou 🔥
- It is a red bean. However unlike the azuki beans that we are used to, Chi Xiao Dou is smaller and thinner. It has a slightly sour taste and can strongly promote urination and drain excess water. Don’t over consume as it might dry you up.
- Clears Damp Heat and relief mild jaundice.
- Good for skin problems such as carbuncles, furuncles, sores as it can disperses blood stagnation, reduces swelling & toxins and clear pus.
Try making this Barley Red Bean Soup . Use Chi Xiao Dou instead of the normal red beans, skip the sugar and less candied winter melon.
Ze Xie ♂️
- Drains Kidney deficiency heat . Hot flushes, night sweating, hot palms and soles of the feet, dry cough especially at night are signs of deficient heat.
- Good for male – spermatorrhea, premature ejaculation, and nocturnal emissions associated with Kidney fire due to damp heat.
- Not suitable for people with Yang deficiency (cold).
Fu Ling 💤
- Common herbs for all Spleen deficiency with dampness.
- Good for edema due to any etiology.
- Calm the spirit to treat insomnia and anxiety.
- Good for fatigue, low appetite, loose stools, dizziness, palpitation due to dampness and those with thick and greasy tongue coat.
- No. 1 Spleen tonifying herb!
- Good for stopping spontaneous sweating which refers to sweating for no reason when no one else is sweating.This is caused by Wei (defensive) Qi deficiency – low immunity.
- Stabilizes pregnancy and calms the baby 👶 – Good for “restless baby” due to lack of Spleen Qi and undernourishment. This is usually accompanied by scanty vaginal bleeding during the 1st trimester and lumbar soreness.
Chinese Medicine says that “there is no place that the phlegm cannot reach”, ” the hundred diseases all pertain to phlegm” and “strange diseases all pertain to phlegm”. It’s time for some self care or get it checked out by your TCM physician.