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Where does dampness come from and what are its characteristics?

Many people nowadays feel that they have dampness in their bodies, which can manifest as symptoms such as fatigue, heaviness in the limbs, abdominal distention, abnormally sticky stools, or even edema. The dampness referred to here is not the external dampness in the environment but rather internal dampness, a term that encompasses the metabolic byproducts within the body. Dampness, originally a liquid, is the waste produced after metabolism and is stored in the body in liquid form. It may also be the result of nutrients not being properly utilized and thus accumulating as waste in the body.

Dampness has one characteristic, which is its yin nature. It obstructs the body's yang energy, leading to impaired and reduced bodily functions. The most typical symptom is fatigue.

Another characteristic of dampness is its heaviness and turbidity. The body's dampness tends to accumulate below the navel or in the lower limbs, resulting in abdominal fullness, heaviness in the lower limbs, and even edema. For instance, many elderly people experience swelling in their lower limbs as they age and their cardiovascular and pulmonary functions weaken. This symptom can temporarily improve with mild activity but often recurs.

The third characteristic of dampness is its tendency to combine with heat over time, potentially transforming into damp-heat. For example, increased secretions in the pelvic area may be accompanied by redness, swelling, or itching.

Fourthly, dampness can undergo transformation. If dampness transforms into damp-heat, the heat can damage yin fluids, causing the dampness to gradually congeal. Substances that were originally able to flow freely may transform into a sticky substance known as phlegm.


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