Pernicious Influences….I love that phrase, for some reason. You know what? I have been writing this blog about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture for a long time. In fact, I write more than one blog on acupuncture and I never had heard this phrase. I mean, I had heard words thrown around in my therapy like “damp” and “hot” but I had no clue what they meant other than what they seem like they mean. However, when a practitioner of TCM discusses a certain issue occurring because of heat or dampness, they are talking about something different, they are talking about the 6 pernicious influences.
In TCM, the basis of health is the movement of your life energy, Qi (pronounced Chee). Within this tradition, they look for the yin/yang balance. When Qi becomes blocked and slowed, you see disorder and illness. Your yin/yang energy is out of harmony and unbalanced. What causes these blockages and disharmony are the pernicious influences.
What are the 6 pernicious influences?
- Cold– it takes your energy and makes your movements difficult. External cold causes fever (ironically), chills, and aches. If cold becomes internal people are tired, pale, exhausted and sleep a lot.
- Heat – heat disorders create a situation in a person that resembles the way a person looks after a workout. They are flushed, have a lot of energy, a dry mouth, and are talkative. When internal, heat can cause boils, abscesses, and delirium.
- Dampness – externally, you can have wide pain, congestion, or stomach upset. Internally, the marker of dampness is mucous.
- Dryness – this pernicious influence usually accompanies heat. But think of dry, cracked, red skin on the outside. If internal, you may see asthma, or a dry, hacking cough.
- Damp Heat – Also called summer heat, or swamp – this is always an internal one of the pernicious influences. It is characterized by fever and total exhaustion
- Wind – If wind attacks the body externally, you will see skin issues, tics, twitches. Internally, you may see a condition as mild as dizziness or as serious as seizures.
It is not necessary to understand TCM when you go to see Leah…but it is so dang interesting. And now you will know what she is talking about when she discusses dampness. You will know it is one of those pernicious influences.