Key Learning Points
I used to get Stomach Damp-Heat a lot, until I worked out that it nearly always followed eating the wrong foods.
Now you may be someone who can eat what are, for me, the wrong foods to your heart’s content and you may never notice a problem.
But, just possibly, one day, you’ll notice the symptoms, perhaps caused by different circumstances. Then I would advise you very quickly to reduce your intake of the ‘wrong’ foods. If you don’t, your unpleasant ‘damp-heat’ symptoms will last and last.
(This syndrome is also called Damp-Heat in the Stomach.)
I once had a patient who came for treatment for sinusitis. I told him about the foods which I thought were his problem, and I did treat him once, but he never came back so I didn’t know whether I’d helped.
Years later, at a party, we met. He recognised me (I’m sorry to say I didn’t recognise him) and he told me that as soon as he corrected his diet, all his symptoms went: for good. So I still don’t know whether the treatment I gave, as opposed to the advice, did any good!
By the way, if you want to read about the important functions which the Stomach performs, according to Chinese (as opposed to Western) medicine, click Stomach.
Read about these two factors separately under Damp and Heat.
You won’t necessarily get all Stomach Damp-Heat symptoms! Even a few of them will probably be enough to diagnose this syndrome if you see an acupuncturist. The main ones are usually those in bold.
In the West, we don’t tend to think our emotions can affect us physically. But they do, mightily. Whether you dismiss them as psychosomatic is your problem!
In Chinese medicine, everything is interconnected and emotions can certainly affect physical symptoms, and vice versa.
The emotions that upset the Stomach and can lead to Damp-Heat in the Stomach are
But the main ones are frustration and anger. This could arise from home or at work. It could develop over a long period.
In Chinese medicine, this is Qi Stagnation. It’s very common and very important. If it’s affecting your whole life, 5 Element acupuncture may help.
What you eat makes a huge difference to your health. If you are sensitive to the following foods, they may quickly produce in you the symptoms described above.
Some people notice symptoms when they eat even the smallest amount; others have to eat lots in one go; still others notice symptoms only if they eat even a moderate amount but they eat it consistently, regularly. For many people this is the most difficult variation, because they eat other things too and don’t realise which food is the specific cause of their problems.
Here are the main culprits, though for you, (yes you!), these foods might be no problem, and something else might be what causes you to have Stomach Damp-Heat.
Note! Your body needs oils and fats! Without them it soon gets ill. It needs fats both unsaturated (eg in seeds and nuts and fish oil) and saturated – as found in many meats.
It does not need trans-fats, which make it ill. Some fats are essential for your health, specifically the unsaturated so-called Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats.
For more on this read the excellent – and very readable – book by Udo Erasmus: “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill”.
Too much oily, fatty, rich food can cause Gallbladder Damp-Heat. You definitely don’t want that either.
Although on its own warm, humid weather doesn’t cause Stomach Damp-Heat, it can certainly exacerbate the symptoms, and make it harder to clear.
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Like the compost heap in the picture the inside of your body is a warm, damp place. Consequently any pre-existing damp in your body can be transformed into Damp-Heat by your metabolism’s natural warmth and humidity.
This is more likely to happen if you are subject to the above causes. Anger, in particular, can heat you up, but too too much fatty, rich food won’t help.
Stomach Damp-Heat is not always easy to remove, even by eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones, or by avoiding situations that anger and frustrate you.
People who live in cold climates are naturally drawn to eat oils and fats by their metabolism/appetite and they need the fats for health. So they can become more susceptible to Damp-Heat.
Just like a thick, humid fog, Stomach Damp-Heat blocks things up and Qi cannot flow properly. In particular, in the Stomach Damp-Heat disrupts Stomach Qi from flowing in its natural direction.
This can cause nausea as Stomach Qi, which should flow downwards, instead goes upwards. It also blocks up the natural needs of your body, making you sometimes feel thirsty or dry-mouthed but without a desire to drink.
Several other syndromes, if they already exist in your body, make Stomach Damp-Heat more likely:
In Chinese medicine, there are three parts to the treatment for Stomach Damp-Heat. That means there are three things to do:
And make sure you eat the right oils! Udo Erasmus’ book “Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill” explains how important oils are for your metabolism.
The right oils are very unlikely to cause Stomach Damp-Heat.
The wrong ones, especially if you take too many of them, certainly will.
If you find giving up the ‘wrong’ foods very difficult, go and see your acupuncturist. Often, when a particular energy organ is out of balance, it makes itself even worse by craving the wrong foods. Your acupuncturist may be able to ‘re-set’ your Stomach so that you find you don’t crave the wrong foods.
Of course, nothing is perfect and you will need to exercise some self-control, but you’ll find that easier after the treatment.
If you eat the right foods, including the right oils (together with enough vegetables and protein) your skin will look luminous and you’ll feel great!
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