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External dampness relates to the season "late summer" - the second part of the summer. The nature of damp is heaviness and turbidity.(1) Being heavy damp tends to “sink” in the lower parts of the body manifesting "turbid" discharges such as turbid vaginal discharge, turbid urine and bowl movement.


Another quality of damp is stickiness. One way to check for dampness is to look at the coating of the tongue. If the coating of the tongue is greasy and sticky then has dampness.


The most typical sign of dampness is lack of energy and sensation of heaviness in the body.


Just like bacteria and parasites thrive in an external damp environment so do they do in an internal damp body environment. Therefore chronic internal dampness may lead to bacteria, yeast and parasite overgrowth, and is the fittest environment for tumors. On the other hand internal dampness is most difficult to clear from all "six evils" because of its heavy nature.


One way of clearing internal dampness is exercising. Exercise promotes the flow of Qi throughout the body, which disperses  dampness like wind that blows a fog away. 


Oxygen is another antidote to dampness. It is said that the damp internal environment is an anaerobic (non-oxigen) environment. Thus promoting a bigger flow of oxygen in the body will naturally  help to clear dampness. Therefore it is very beneficial to do deep breathing exercises: inhaling slowly for four seconds and exhaling slowly for another four seconds. It is best to do that in an oxygen rich environment, such as the mountains.


Foods that dry dampness are foods with diuretic properties such as rye, corn, adzuki beans, as well as celery, lettuce, alfalfa and white pepper. One should avoid eating cold foods directly from the refrigerator, raw foods (as they have cold nature thus will generate more dampness), overeating and late night eating. 



(1)Liangyue, D., Yijun, G., Shuhui, H., Xiaoping, J., Yang, L., Rufen, W., Wenjing, W., Xuetai, W., Hengze, X., Xiuling, X., Jiuling, Y. (1987). Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press

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