TCM terminology: Dampness

Poor digestion, chronic inflammation, swelling of the joints and limbs, acne , cysts, tumors, low energy, foggy mind, lack of motivation, sudden weight gain.

If you relate to any of the above signs and symptoms you may be suffering from a common phenomena we call “Dampness” in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Dampness is both a pathogenic factor and a disease type in TCM. It refers to the build up of sticky, poor quality fluids in the body much like phlegm and mucus.

As a disease type when these poor quality body fluids appear they can have lasting effects on our health. The sticky nature of dampness in our bodies inhibits organ function as well as circulation of nutrients and waste products.

Much like the oil in your car when it has not been cared for, the dampness inside your body will begin to congeal and get stuck effecting performance, increasing toxicity and eventually seizing your engine.

Dampness can manifest either from internal or external sources.

Internal factors:

Appear in the body when organ function is weakened.  Typical organ imbalances that lead to dampness in the body are that of the lungs, spleen and liver.

Contributing Factors to Internal Dampness

Poor life style habits such as lack of fitness and bad nutritional practices, as well as the state of your constitution are all contributing factors to the buildup of dampness in the body.

External factors:

-Rich foods such as fatty meats, deep fried foods, sugars , dairy , alcohol and coffee, all processed foods.  When consumed in abundance, can overload your organs and lead to a build up of dampness in the body.

-Prolonged use of pharmaceuticals / antibiotics

-Humid environments + weather patterns will contribute to a patients damp related symptoms. (ex arthritis)

-Exposure to toxins and pollutants.

-Recreational drug use

When a patient exhibits these sings and symptoms in the clinic we will use a combination of treatment and life style protocols to help rid the body of this disease type.

Recommended therapies:

-Acupuncture: improves circulation and organ function to help drain damp from the body

Massage therapy: Physically improves circulation and drainage of damp factors from the bodies tissues.

Herbal therapy: There are many herbal formula in TCM that address dampness and assist in it’s elimination from different organs.

Life style habits that eliminate dampness:

Diet : Eating a balanced whole foods diet, minimize or eliminate intake of dairy, sugars , processed foods, bad fats as well as raw and cold foods.

Cleanses: Certain elimination diet protocols, Mono meals, Juicing , Congee (rice porridge) and Soup Broth can help to eliminate dampness.

Sauna: Heat therapy is great for the body in general. In the case of dampness it help to increase circulation and dry out the dampness.

-Exercise: Intense exercise is great at improving circulation and eliminating toxins from sweating.

Gentle exercise and stretching: Tai chi, Qi Gong, Dao yin and Yoga are all great ways to gently allow the body to improve circulation and detoxify. **Esp. recommended for chronic suffered with weak constitutions.


All of the above mentioned protocols are great tools to help eliminate dampness from the body.  Keep in mind that because of the stuck sticky nature of this disease type, it can take a while to fully resolve symptoms. Rule of thumb the longer the progression the longer the treatment plan.

As always prevention with a balance of both therapy and healthy life style choices will always give the best long term results.

Good luck on your journey!

J.P. Brunelle R.Ac

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