Residual Heat in the Diaphragm

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Residual Heat in the Diaphragm is a syndrome in Chinese medicine.

It relates to an old disease that was never properly cleared by your body.

Like a remaining pathogenic factor, or a bandit (see below) it sticks around in the form of what is called Interior Heat, doing you no good.

It can make you feel below par, slightly ill, never quite on top of your life.

Then when you might otherwise be able to resist an illness, this residual heat in the diaphragm weakens your immunity just when it's needed, so you catch the bug anyway.

The result of an old battle

This interior Heat is what is left over from a previous battle.

That previous battle occurred when you caught a bug of some kind. You probably had chills and a fever - but mostly a sensation of heat - with thirst and all the other symptoms you can read about under Wind-Heat.

What happened next is that either you never quite got rid of it or, more likely these days, you took anti-inflammatory drugs, probably antibiotics. These may have killed the bug, but the Heat your body had generated to kill the bug itself wasn't used as intended, and now it's sticking around and won't go away.

In earlier centuries, in Great Britain, if the country needed an army, men were forced to become soldiers. They were paid as soldiers and sometimes fought and died as soldiers. So they knew about fighting - but also about some of the less desirable habits that soldiers acquire.

Long before social security and the 'caring' state (is there really such a thing?) when the country no longer needed them, it cast them adrift, often with just the clothes they wore. 

Groups of these men, trained to fight and kill, had to fend for themselves. Not surprisingly, not all settled into cosy domestic life, jobs and families. They were to be found as bandits roaming the country, causing an affray, disturbing the peace, generally making a nuisance of themselves.

If you think of this interioralised Heat, generated by your body to deal with an invader, but unused and unusable, as being like these roaming and dangerous itinerants, you'll get some idea of what happens.

This Heat is said to take up residence in the diaphragm, just under the heart. From there, like a bandit, it harasses passing traffic and sends raids into heart and stomach territories.

Symptoms of Residual Heat in the Diaphragm

  • Your chest feels blocked and full
  • Your stomach area, the epigastrium just inferior to your sternum, feels uncomfortable and blocked up
  • Your stomach sends up sour burps, belches and regurgitations
  • Your sleep is restless with much tossing and turning, often waking during the night, sometimes sweaty
  • You feel anxious, twitchy, fidgety and slightly irritable. Even sitting isn't comfortable or restful
  • Lying down is uncomfortable, because of the extra pressure or fullness in your chest
  • Tongue: red towards the tip, (reflecting the way the Heart is harried) and points of red in the centre (reflecting the presence in your centre of the un-disciplined bandits)
  • Pulse: deep and a bit fast. (Deep because the Heat has been suppressed to a place deep inside, instead of being put to work to push out the bug you caught, and fast because this is a condition of Heat: an excess condition, stuck deep inside.)

What can You do about this?

This condition is difficult to cure without professional help. This is because the Heat is so far in the Interior and not in your heart, stomach or intestines. Instead, according to Chinese medicine, it lies in your diaphragm.

What you should NOT do is try to clear the Heat by taking lots of cold or chilled food. This may cool your stomach, worsening your digestion and reducing your energy, but it won't necessarily clear the Interior Heat syndrome.

You may come across research that seems to be dealing with symptoms like this residual heat in the diaphragm, and some of it will suggest heavy and repeated doses of strong antibiotics.(Why? Because doctors tend to think that any symptoms of Heat they discover in the body must be from infection.)

Quite apart from the deleterious and usually cooling effects that antibiotics have on your digestion and immune system and the increasing resistance bugs have to them anyway, it is doubtful if, according the theory of Chinese medicine, such strong antibiotics would be successful.

See a professional acupuncturist or other practitioner of Chinese medicine!

Click to return to Insomnia from Residual Heat in the Diaphragm.

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