Damp is an insidious bastard. It works its way in, silent and sneaky. Before you know it, you're filled with it, and you can barely get out of your own way! Yesterday we talked about how heat can infiltrate our minds and bodies; today it's all about dampness. Damp is a term we use for when the fluids of the body aren't being processed correctly, leading to a buildup that can settle in and make itself at home in pretty much any area of the body. This, in turn, can lead to an a wide array of mental and physical issues.
If dampness invades the entire physical body, it causes weight gain, sluggishness, and a lack of motivation. Think of how you feel on a foggy, rainy day. Now imagine that fogginess and sogginess being inside of you. You would feel heavy, bloated, and slow. You would be more comfortable just sitting around, rather than engaging in movement. Your thoughts might be a bit confused, rather than clear and concise. This is what happens when there is an infestation of damp.
If the dampness attacks specific areas, it leads to heaviness and dullness in whatever part of the body it festers in. If it settles into the head, it can manifest into a sense of heaviness and slow thinking, or into a dull headache that feels as if a band is squeezing the head. This type of headache generally tends to either be stimulated or worsened by damp weather. Dampness in the head can also cause sinus pain, or a stuffy nose. From an emotional standpoint, dampness can muddle the thinking, making it hard to think clearly. In the extreme, it can lead to mental impairment. If damp attacks the digestive system, it can cause vomiting of fluids, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. With internal issues, damp usually transforms into damp-heat. Damp-heat of the intestines causes bloody, painful diarrhea. Damp-heat in the lower burner of the body can bring on sores, painful and burning urination, or a host of other issues. If it is hot and oozy, think damp-heat!
Pain caused by dampness is heavy, usually severe, and stays fixed in one place. Arthritis falls into this category: the pain is concentrated in one place, the afflicted area is stiff and hard to move, and damp weather usually makes it feel worse.
The true evil of dampness is that it is a self-propelling cycle. It weighs you down and resists change. That person who feels sluggish and weighed down could dissipate some of their dampness by moving, but the sluggishness makes the person want to sit still. That lack of movement creates more dampness...and so it continues. Fortunately, acupuncture and herbs are wonderful options for getting rid of this dampness.