In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are six factors from the environment that contribute to illness and cause imbalances in our body. They are:
We, as part of nature, constantly contact with these natural factors. Under normal condition, our body can adapt to the environmental changes, however, if the harmonious relationship between human beings and nature is broken, an imbalanced body will become unable to adapt itself to the changes, leading to the occurrence of disease. Under such condition, the six natural climatic factors become pathogenic factors. These factors can be either external (exogenous) or internal (endogenous) and both are interrelated. External factors are often the cause or triggers of internal factors.
Associated with late summer, Earth element, Stomach, Spleen, dampness is predominant in late summer but also can be encountered in other seasons. It is not just edema or excess water, as many westerns might associate it with. Imagine a very humid greenhouse with molds and steam. That’s what dampness feels like. It permeates everywhere due to fumigation and frequently causes disease. Sometimes drenching or living in a damp area can result in disease of dampness. The characteristics of dampness in causing disease are:
Endogenous dampness results from the spleen. Usually failure of water to transform due to dysfunction of the spleen may produce the endogenous dampness, which accumulates into phlegm and retention of fluid to further result in conditions like edema, heaviness, indigestion, obesity, metabolic syndrome, poor skin, etc.
To recover from dampness invasion, we need spleen-friendly, lifting, light foods and herbs.