These days, as the temperature drops, many people start to suffer from a variety of aches and pains. Symptoms like severe vertigo, headaches, nausea, and indigestion accompanied by water sounds in the abdomen may appear, and a person may find themselves visiting several different clinics or trying many different treatments. If they have gastrointestinal disturbances they might be merely diagnosed with reflux esophagitis, or lack of nutrition, poor blood circulation, or general neurogenic problems. Yet the patient’s ailments may continue to increase. This is what we call disease without cause.
In Eastern medicine we refer to this as “Tan Yin syndrome”, which can be translated as “phlegm fluid retention” in English. This illness involves an accumulation of bodily fluid mixed with various waste products resulting from an abnormality of water metabolism. Our bodies need to take in about 2L of water per day. After being involved in various metabolic processes in the body, this water normally gets discharged through excretions. But for certain reasons, sometimes this water is retained with other waste products as a thin liquid (fluid), or gets “boiled down” by our body heat into a sticky state (phlegm).
Nasal discharge is an example of visible phlegm. But while phlegm circulates throughout our body along with the qi circulation, it can easily become stuck or stagnant, giving rise to many types of disease (invisible phlegm). Thus there’s a saying that “9 out of 10 illnesses are due to phlegm”. For example, we may experience coughing when phlegm is in the lungs, nausea when it’s in the stomach, fluttering in the chest when it’s in the heart, vertigo and dizziness when it’s in the head, a cold sensation when it’s in the back, congestion when it’s in the chest, fullness when it’s in the upper abdomen, diarrhea when it’s in the intestines, swelling when it’s in the meridians, and numbness when it’s in the limbs.
The typical symptoms of Tan Yin syndrome include: dizziness, fluttering in the chest, shortness of breath, water sounds in the stomach area, aching or numbness in the limbs, expectorated phlegm, nausea, dark circles under the eyes, difficulty losing weight even with fewer meals, etc. These may be accompanied by other symptoms such as sight disturbances, feeling of paralysis in any part of the body, abnormality of sensation, the feeling of something stuck in the throat, acid reflux, an icy cold feeling in the back, nodules in the wrist or neck, chronic fatigue, obesity, schizophrenia, depression, dementia, and fainting.
Causes of the generation of Tan Yin include: weakness of the spleen and stomach, improper dietary habits (e.g. drinking alcohol, overeating, irregular meals, too many cold drinks and/or raw vegetables), overuse of medication, lack of exercise, and more. The treatment for Tan Yin is acupuncture, moxibustion and herbal medicine. But first of all, limit your intake of cold and raw foods, and get more exercise. Then you need to be treated by a medical professional.