Returning to a Sense of Lightness – Nourishing the Energy of the Spleen
Many of my patients want to understand the process of how acupuncture works. In this post I’ll talk about one clinical sign in particular: Dampness. Dampness almost always relates to the energy (or lack thereof) in the Spleen organ network.
During an acupuncture treatment, we assess the balance of qi (energy) throughout your body. One sign of an imbalance is the presence of what is translated as Dampness. Dampness is evident in the assessment of the pulse (meridian pulses) and tongue.
“Dampness comes from the failure to burn off or transform moisture in the body. It is nearly always associated with a weak Spleen, often with a weak Kidney and sometimes with a weak Lung. Dampness can lodge in a specific part of the body or affect us more generally. As the word suggests, Dampness can make us feel heavy and tired.”*
Dampness may manifest in different ways – bloating with water retention, edema, a muzzy head, heavy limbs, or actual phlegm in the sinuses or lungs (a stickier kind of Dampness).
Depending on your constitutional type, you may be more or less prone to dampness. Things that aggravate Dampness include: rumination (overthinking harms the Spleen), a sedentary lifestyle, over consumption of processed sugars or simple carbohydrates.
Specific acupuncture points such as Spleen 9: Yin Mound Spring, can help resolve Dampness and clear excess moisture out of the body. Regular movement throughout the day can also help with dampness. Clear expression and meditation, processing experiences or emotions that have been long held or buried also helps release Dampness. The process of feeling lighter is both literal and figurative in Chinese Medicine.
Specific foods can also help resolve and clear dampness in various stages. Eating at regular meal times and eating mindfully also helps to support and nourish the energy of the Spleen and Earth element.
Wishing you clear qi and good health!
(*quoted text and specific foods listed from: “Helping Ourselves: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics”, Leggett, 1994).
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