Feeling of heaviness according to Chinese Medicine

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Feeling of heaviness can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like feeling of heaviness here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here feeling of heaviness is often associated with dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath in the pattern “Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause feeling of heaviness.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of feeling of heaviness we’ve identified five herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat feeling of heaviness.

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause feeling of heaviness

In Chinese Medicine feeling of heaviness is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine

Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Soggy (Ru)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

Phlegm in the Lungs (a synonym for "Substantial Phlegm") is the sputum that collects in the Lungs and is spat out during bronchitis or other Lung diseases.

In addition to feeling of heaviness, other symptoms associated with Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs include dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath.

Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".

Read more about Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs here

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to feeling of heaviness, other symptoms associated with Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation include nausea, irritability and loose stools.

Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation is often treated with Ping Wei San, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Black Atractylodes Rhizomes - Cang Zhu - as a key herb). Ping Wei San belongs to the category of "formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Dampness".

Read more about Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation here

Water Plantain (Ze Xie) is the king ingredient for Wu Ling San, a formula used for Yin Excess

Yin Excess

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Excess Yin is a Full Yin state pattern. Its symptoms are like those of the Cold and Damp Heat Pernicious Influences such as Edema. It is a result of over-exposure to cold environments and bad diet.

In addition to feeling of heaviness, other symptoms associated with Yin Excess include nausea, loose stools and poor appetite.

Yin Excess is often treated with Wu Ling San, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Water Plantain - Ze Xie - as a key herb). Wu Ling San belongs to the category of "formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes urination,".

Read more about Yin Excess here

The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine

Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Slow (Chi)

In addition to feeling of heaviness, other symptoms associated with Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs include dizziness, feeling of cold and coughing.

Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs is often treated with Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Poria-Cocos Mushrooms - Fu Ling - as a key herb). Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that warm and transform water and dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms and transforms Phlegm-Fluids".

Read more about Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Phlegm

Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

The concept of Phlegm is much wider and important in Chinese Medicine than in the West. Broadly speaking, Phlegm is a substance produced when the body fails to handle Body Fluids properly.

In addition to feeling of heaviness, other symptoms associated with Phlegm include dizziness, nausea and fatigue.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Phlegm is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Menopausal Syndrome or Morning Sickness.

Phlegm is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm here

Five herbal formulas that might help with feeling of heaviness

Er Chen Tang

Source date: 1148 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).

Why might Er Chen Tang help with feeling of heaviness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Phlegm in the Lungs' of which feeling of heaviness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Phlegm In The Lungs include dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath.

Read more about Er Chen Tang here

Ping Wei San

Source date: 1051 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Dries Dampness. Improves the Spleen's transportive function. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Ping Wei San help with feeling of heaviness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Obstruction Of the Spleen By Dampness with Liver Qi Stagnation' of which feeling of heaviness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Obstruction Of The Spleen By Dampness With Liver Qi Stagnation include nausea, irritability and loose stools.

Read more about Ping Wei San here

Wu Pi Yin

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Reduces edema, diuretic. Regulates and strengthens Spleen Qi.

Why might Wu Pi Yin help with feeling of heaviness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Yin Excess' of which feeling of heaviness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Yin Excess include nausea, loose stools and poor appetite.

Read more about Wu Pi Yin here

Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Warms and transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Strengthens the Spleen. Resolves Dampness.

Why might Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang help with feeling of heaviness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Cold-Phlegm in the Lungs' of which feeling of heaviness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Cold-Phlegm In The Lungs include dizziness, feeling of cold and coughing.

Read more about Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang here

Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang

Source date: 1732 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Dries and dissolves Phlegm. Strengthens the Spleen. Smoothes the Liver and calms Liver Wind (antispasmodic).

Why might Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang help with feeling of heaviness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm' of which feeling of heaviness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm include dizziness, nausea and fatigue.

Read more about Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang here

Acupuncture points used for feeling of heaviness

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat feeling of heaviness

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with feeling of heaviness?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of heaviness as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Ping Wei San for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with feeling of heaviness?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of heaviness as a symptom, like Wu Pi Yin or Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

Why might Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi) help with feeling of heaviness?

Because Tangerine Peel is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of heaviness as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Ping Wei San for instance.

Tangerine Peel is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and regulates the Middle Burner Qi. Dries Dampness and disperses Phlegm from the Lungs and Middle Burner. Reduces the potential for Stagnation caused by tonifying herbs.

Read more about Tangerine Peel here

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with feeling of heaviness?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of heaviness as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang for instance.

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention.

Read more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes here

Why might Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with feeling of heaviness?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat feeling of heaviness as a symptom, like Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang or Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Conditions associated with feeling of heaviness

Menstrual cramps Scanty menstruation Absence of menstruation