General sensation of heaviness according to Chinese Medicine

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, feeling of oppression of the chest and dizziness in the pattern “Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm”.

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

Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause general sensation of heaviness

In Chinese Medicine general sensation of heaviness is a symptom for the pattern "Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm". Below is a small explanation for it 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, feeling of oppression of the chest and dizziness.

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

Two herbal formulas that might help with general sensation of heaviness

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.

Read more about Xiao Qing Long Tang here

Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Lungs. Transforms congested Fluids.

Why might Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin 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.

Read more about Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang here

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

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 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 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 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 Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with general sensation of heaviness?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat general sensation of heaviness as a symptom, like Zhen Wu Tang or Fang Ji Huang Qi 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

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 Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

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

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 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 Zhen Wu Tang for instance.

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

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