Dampness is one of the six pernicious influences on the health of the body within the Chinese medical framework. Dampness is like Cold, but may be distinguished by heaviness and protraction whereas Cold is sharp, sudden and intense. The nature of Dampness is to sink and accumulate. It appears as swelling and a sense of fullness and heaviness, locally or throughout the body. because of its tendency to collect and coagulate, Dampness easily causes stagnation and obstruction of circulation. Secretions are cloudy, thick or sticky rather than clear and watery.
As an external influence, Dampness obstructs the movement of Qi, producing fullness of chest or abdomen and incomplete urination or defaecation. It causes stiffness in the joints and heaviness in the limbs. The lower body is especially affected. The Spleen is especially sensitive to Dampness; signs of a distressed Spleen are loss of appetite, indigestion, nausea, diarrhoea and swollen abdomen. Spleen dysfunction may allow Fluids to accumulate, creating a state of internal Dampness, which is distinguished from external Dampness by arriving less suddenly and with less acuteness. Mucous (tan) is a form of internal Dampness.