Fluid retention

Unique tools to prevent and manage lymphatic fluid retention at home.

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If you suffer form water retention then this article is for you.

We are going to do talk about fluid regulation, a bodily function that when impaired can cause water retention or Lymphoedema, or what in Chinese medicine is referred to as dampness due to a lack of Yang energy.

We will explain to you  how to prevent and treat it, using both, eastern and western approaches.

Despite the fact that over the last century east and west medical communities have tried to correlate Chinese medicine with western medicine through research or comparison, in reality they are very different medicines and are based radically on different concepts.

Efforts continue to bring the two systems closer together but perhaps a more effective goal should be not so much substitution, but rather synergistic mutual understanding between these medical systems. 

Let us approach it this way.


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But why does water retention actually happen?

When no trauma, injury, surgery or disease are involved, water retention can happen purely because of constitution. Inherited traits can make us susceptible to certain symptoms and even diseases.

Inherited traits

We all carry an ancestral heritage that gives genetic and bioenergetic characteristics.

Categorising these inherited traits in Chinese Medicine gives us information about how to create strategies for treatment.

As an example, if one of your parents are tall and slim  and has a more fibrous or knotty kind of body then they would in Chinese Medicine be referred to as a Wood type.

On the other hand if you are short, have a type of stocky body mass and retain water in your legs, like your other parent, then you would be an Earth type of body.

Generally speaking, a fibrous and knotty muscle kind of person has little moisture in the body, this is called Yin Essence deficiency.  So with treatment we need to stimulate Yin energy, Yin points, do Yin practices to bring balance into this persons health.

Where as a stocky kind of body which retains unnecessary water within body layers, in this case, lacks Yang energy, so we need to stimulate Yang points and follow Yang practices in order to bring balance into this persons health.

Needless to say that people with the respective body types mentioned above, when in severe Yin Deficiency or severe lack of Yang Energy will have their whole psycho-unit compromised, affecting also the way they feel, experience and interact with life.


Why Yin and Yang to regulate fluid retention?

Given what we just explained about how fluid retention can be a predisposition due to your genetics and your particular family body type you might think that you’re just stuck with the problem!

But you can do something about it!

You have some amazing body mechanisms that perhaps you did not know about and which can help you manage fluid retention, improve your health and consequently your life.

It all starts with Yin & Yang!

Yin makes the body to cool off, to condense, to ground, to increase fluid.

Yang makes the body to move within, to heat up, to light up, to distribute and transform body fluids.

Yin and Yang both balance each other.

Now you need to know how to get them to flow!

Stimulating the meridian system

The meridian system serves as a channel through which bio-eletricity, vital energy or “Chi ” flows, flowing through our entire body, from our internal organs to our extremities and vice versa .

By stimulating different acupuncture points manually or using targeted exercises along the meridians, Chi flow can be guided in order to generate more Yin or Yang energies within which allows for the release of various biochemical signals that positively affect systems in our body in various ways.

The lymphatic system and San Jiao

We know that lymphatic system plays a vital role in fluid regulation.

From the Chinese medicine view, another mechanism, which is not a physical organ itself, but a multi-structure vitally important in the removal of wastes and closely involved with immunity as well as the metabolic processes in the body, is the SAN JIAO.

Also known in the west as Triple Burner or Triple Energiser.

The San Jiao is the connection pathway between various organs and systems and it ensures that Chi, heat and fluids are able to flow between the 3 different energisers and throughout the body in order for it to function normally.



Triple Burner

Our body’s fluid is derived from food broken down by our digestive system and is processed by different organs to moisten and nourish the viscera and the body.

In particular, the most important organs for water metabolism are:

  • the kidney in the lower energiser
  • the spleen in the middle energiser
  • the lung in the upper energiser

With the help of the diaphragm, the lungs work like a pulsating pump activating the flow of vital energy, blood and body fluids.

The upper energiser (which also includes the heart) disperses nutrients, fluids and Wei Chi to all parts of the body and that it is why it has such importance regarding immunity too.

The ancient medical Chinese book Elementary Questions (Su Wen) explains:

“The Triple Burner holds the office of the sluices; it manifests as the waterways.”

When the communication between the sluices that connect the three energisers with each other and with the rest of the body is impaired, imbalance will occur.

Prevention & treatment methods for fluid retention:

Fluid retention is of Yang imbalance. To prevent and treat this condition we use the following tools to care for the body. Sometimes people also have a combination of stiffness in the neck and legs which is of Yin imbalance so we need to combine the treatment tools to gain balance.

Tools to boost fluid drainage:

We recommend a holistic physical therapy and treatment programme that combines eastern and western techniques to stimulate drainage and restore fluid regulation including –

To do at home:

  • self massage
  • point stimulation
  • diet guidance
  • deep breathing
  • Chi Gung Yang set

Check out the videos and advice below!

Professional lymphatic drainage treatments:

  • Have a specialised therapist working on you using acupuncture and, or, lymphatic drainage massage.
Book a private lymphatic drainage treatment

5 self massage techniques to try at home!

Join Holistic Physiotherapist Aline Tisato to learn how to relieve fluid retention in your upper body in 1 minute!

Freeing the constriction of breathing muscles on the rib cage and diaphragm to perform deep breathing from the upper energiser all the way down to the lower energiser connecting with the Ming Men to activate Yang energy and movement.

Releasing constriction on the rib cage to activate the pulsating action of the diaphragm.

Tool No. 4 - Stimulating REN 6 technique

Purpose:  To generate fluid regulation throughout the body.

Finding the Qihai:   From the centre of the belly button down, place the width of the two forefingers (index and middle finger) and right there, at the middle line of the body is your REN 6.

Technique:  Lay down on a mat with the tennis ball located at the Qihai while you maintain your whole body completely relax.

Guide your breath gently but deeply from your nose all the way down to the tennis ball from 3 to 5 min.


  • The Qihai, known in the west as REN 6, is located in the REN MAI channel it means the ‘Sea of Qi’ can harness the dormant energy of your body, so greatly enhancing its capability. It regulates the function of Qi and its circulation, thereby dispelling weakness and Dampness (excess fluids).


Stimulating lymphatic Drainage in the leg's Pumping Inguinal Lymphatic Nodes with the refine alignment and the spiralling healing properties of Chi Gung Yang Set.

Diet guidance

To clear Damp in the body you need a healthy spleen energy.

You get that partly from having a healthy kidney function, especially kidney Yang energy.

For that to happen you must know foods that cause and clear Damp.

Check out this blog post by Dr Lauren Keller for more information:

Traditional Chinese Medicine & Dampness.


Recipe tip…

Drinking ginger tea is a recommended way to reduce dampness in the body.

Recipe:  Simply cut about 2 – 3 cm’s of ginger, peel (if you prefer to, leave the skin), slice and steep in a pot of hot water.

To make a cup just reduce the amount of ginger to your taste.

We just keep filling up the pot all day!


Need diet information? Contact us.

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