General sensation of heaviness

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > General sensation of heaviness

General sensation 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 general sensation 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 general sensation of heaviness is often associated with absence of sweating, coughing of copious thin and white sputum and feeling of oppression of the chest in the pattern “Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause general sensation of heaviness.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of general sensation of heaviness we’ve identified four 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 general sensation of heaviness.

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause general sensation of heaviness

In Chinese Medicine general sensation of heaviness is a symptom for 4 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Ephedra (Ma Huang) is the king ingredient for Xiao Qing Long Tang, a formula used for Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm

Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is when, often due to a stagnant Qi, the Body Fluids are retained in the chest and Lungs.

In addition to general sensation of heaviness, other symptoms associated with Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm include absence of sweating, coughing of copious thin and white sputum and feeling of oppression of the chest.

Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm is often treated with Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Xiao Qing Long Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear wind-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm here

Stephania Roots (Fang Ji) is the king ingredient for Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang, a formula used for Wind-Damp

Wind-Damp

Pulse type(s): Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to general sensation of heaviness, other symptoms associated with Wind-Damp include edema.

Wind-Damp is often treated with Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Stephania Roots - Fang Ji - as a key herb). Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang 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: "Diuretic, clears Excess fluid and removes edema".

Read more about Wind-Damp here

Painful Obstruction with Qi and Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Slowed-down (Huan)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

In addition to general sensation of heaviness, other symptoms associated with Painful Obstruction with Qi and Blood Deficiency include numbness in the extremities, difficulty in moving and stiffness in the neck shoulder and upper back.

Painful Obstruction with Qi and Blood Deficiency is often treated with Juan Bi Tang, a herbal formula made of 9 herbs (including Notopterygium Roots - Qiang Huo - as a key herb). Juan Bi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dispel wind-damp", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies and harmonizes the Protective and Nutritive Qi".

Read more about Painful Obstruction with Qi and Blood Deficiency here

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

Spleen Deficiency with Dampness

In addition to general sensation of heaviness, other symptoms associated with Spleen Deficiency with Dampness include edema and diarrhea.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Spleen Deficiency with Dampness is associated with health issues such as Vaginal Itching.

Spleen Deficiency with Dampness 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 Spleen Deficiency with Dampness here

Four herbal formulas that might help with general sensation of heaviness

Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Diuretic, clears Excess fluid and removes edema. Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Calms External Wind.

Why might Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang help with general sensation of heaviness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind-Damp' of which general sensation of heaviness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Wind-Damp include edema.

Read more about Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang here

Juan Bi Tang

Source date: 1178 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and harmonizes the Protective and Nutritive Qi. Dispels Wind. Eliminates Dampness.

Why might Juan Bi Tang help with general sensation of heaviness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Painful Obstruction with Qi and Blood Deficiency' of which general sensation of heaviness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Painful Obstruction With Qi And Blood Deficiency include numbness in the extremities, difficulty in moving and stiffness in the neck shoulder and upper back.

Read more about Juan Bi Tang here

Xiao Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Warms the Lungs. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Xiao Qing Long Tang help with general sensation of heaviness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm' of which general sensation of heaviness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm-Fluids Above The Diaphragm include absence of sweating, coughing of copious thin and white sputum and feeling of oppression of the chest.

Read more about Xiao Qing Long Tang here

Wu Ling San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination,. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Promotes Qi transformation function. Drains Dampness. Clears edema.

Why might Wu Ling San help with general sensation of heaviness?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Spleen Deficiency with Dampness' of which general sensation of heaviness is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Spleen Deficiency With Dampness include edema and diarrhea.

Read more about Wu Ling San here

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

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

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general sensation of heaviness as a symptom, like Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang or Juan Bi Tang for instance.

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

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 Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with general sensation of heaviness?

Because Cinnamon Twig is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general sensation of heaviness as a symptom, like Xiao Qing Long Tang or Wu Ling San for instance.

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here

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

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general sensation of heaviness as a symptom, like Wu Pi Yin or Wu Ling San for instance.

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

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 Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with general sensation of heaviness?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general sensation of heaviness as a symptom, like Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang or Juan Bi Tang for instance.

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with general sensation of heaviness?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general sensation of heaviness as a symptom, like Juan Bi Tang or Xiao Qing Long Tang for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Spleen and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here