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puffy face in the morning

Puffy Face !

Struggle with a bloated face in the morning? You’re not alone.

Puffy Face in the Morning? Debloat a Puffy Face with Chinese Medicine

Struggle with a bloated face in the morning? You’re not alone. This challenging condition affects a large number of people. Facing the same frustrating issue every morning can be disheartening; nor does it help your confidence throughout the day. However, despite its prevalence, it’s not something you have to put up with.

Chinese medicine provides a unique and holistic insight into this condition, explaining the underlying causes and how to combat morning facial bloating. Only by understanding the causes and applying time-tested techniques and remedies can you reduce face bloating and start your day with a clearer, more confident appearance.

Learn the most common causes of a puffy face in the morning and explore the science-back, tried-and-tested remedies advocated by traditional Chinese medicine.

6 Causes of Puffy Face in the Morning According to Chinese Medicine

Diet, sleep patterns, stress, and more can make your face appear swollen and bloated. But what’s going on under the surface? According to Chinese medical practitioners, it’s all about internal manifestation and balance.

The body is an interconnected network of energy pathways, organs, and substances that prefer to be in a state of balance and harmony within the system. Internal manifestations of imbalance, or internal disharmonies, arise when the body’s vital energy (called Qi) alongside other essential bodily substances are disrupted or out of balance.

Such disturbances can be caused by several different factors, including:

1. Fluid Retention

A puffy face in the morning is commonly seen as a sign of fluid retention caused by an obstruction in the flow of Qi and bodily fluids. Usually, fluids in the body are regulated and evenly distributed. However, any disruption to this balance leads to fluid accumulation.

Because the face contains delicate tissues with an extensive network of blood vessels, it’s more prone to experience swelling.


  • Puffiness or swelling in the face, especially around the eyes and cheeks.
  • Feeling of heaviness or bloating in the facial region.
  • The skin may appear stretched or tight due to excess fluid accumulation.

2. Poor Circulation and Toxin Buildup

When circulation is poor, blood and lymphatic flows are blocked. Waste products normally dispelled via this system begin to build up, causing inflammation and fluid retention. TCM believes that when Qi and blood circulation are impaired, it can lead to fluid accumulation and puffiness, especially in the facial area.

Poor circulation can result from a poor diet, such as one high in salt, processed foods, and alcohol. Symptoms are less specific than for other causes. Look for fatigue, tiredness, confusion, brain fog, and nausea.

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3. Spleen Qi Deficiency

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the spleen manages the transformation and transportation of bodily fluids. The spleen relies on its Qi to perform this responsibility. However, if there is a Qi deficiency, then it can no longer metabolise fluids correctly. The result is an accumulation of fluids that often manifests as facial puffiness, particularly noticeable during the morning.


  • Fatigue or low energy levels.
  • Digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or loose stools.
  • Weakness in the limbs or muscles.
  • Reduced appetite or cravings for sweets.

4. Dampness

Dampness refers to the excess accumulation of fluid-like substances in the body, impeding normal functioning. This fluid accumulation behaves similarly to the other causes, triggering a bloated face in the morning. There’s also a more generalised sense of swelling, heaviness, and puffiness throughout the body.


  • Heavy, swollen sensation in the face and body.
  • Excessive mucus or phlegm production.
  • Feeling of lethargy or mental fogginess.
  • Digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhoea, or greasy stools.
  • Joint pain or stiffness, especially in damp weather.

5. Kidney Imbalance

The kidneys play a crucial role in regulating fluid balance in the body. In TCM, kidney deficiency or imbalance can lead to fluid retention and may contribute to facial puffiness, particularly around the eyes and cheeks. Facial puffiness occurs, most often in the morning, due to the body’s horizontal position during sleep.


  • Dark circles or puffiness around the eyes.
  • Lower back pain or weakness.
  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Feeling cold, particularly in the lower back and limbs.
  • Sexual dysfunction or irregular menstrual cycles in women.

6. Emotional Disturbances such as stress

TCM associates certain emotions, such as anger, stress, and anxiety, with imbalances in the liver system, which can contribute to qi stagnation and fluid accumulation, resulting in a puffy face.


How to Reduce Puffy Face in the Morning

So, how do you decrease facial bloating? Chinese practitioners have several potential solutions that work in some surprising ways.


How Acupuncture Helps?

Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the flow of Qi. The treatment is proven to boost blood flow in the skin and muscle. Acupuncture aids in reducing morning facial puffiness by stimulating specific acupuncture points to improve circulation, promote lymphatic drainage, and balance the body’s energy flow.

By targeting key acupuncture points on the face and body, acupuncture helps to alleviate Qi stagnation, which can contribute to fluid retention and puffiness. Additionally, acupuncture encourages the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters, which can reduce inflammation, promote relaxation, and support the body’s natural detoxification processes.

According to a 2003 paper, acupuncture increases skin blood flow, and the intensity of the needling affects the flow. Meanwhile, a 2016 systematic review found that of the seven studies identified, four reported significant increases in blood flow. Greater blood flow reduces fluid retention and soothes redness and inflammation.

Furthermore, a 2019 study reported that acupuncture triggered collagen production, increasing the strength and vitality of the skin.

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Moxibustion involves burning an herb (mugwort) near the skin to produce heat, which is believed to invigorate the flow of Qi and blood. Doing so also dispels pathogenic influences such as dampness and  promote detoxification, leading to a reduction in facial swelling and a refreshed appearance upon waking up in the morning.

This therapeutic heat helps to invigorate Qi circulation and promote the movement of fluids, thereby addressing underlying imbalances contributing to facial puffiness. By applying moxibustion to relevant acupuncture points, particularly those related to the spleen, liver, and kidney meridians, it can enhance organ function, improve lymphatic drainage, and reduce fluid retention.

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Diet and Lifestyle

Diet is a critical component of Chinese medicine. As the old saying goes, you are what you eat. So, how can you use diet and lifestyle to reduce face bloating? Here are some tips:

1. Eat Warm and Nourishing Foods: Consuming foods that support spleen and kidney function is vital, as these organs are integral to fluid metabolism in TCM. Opt for warm, nourishing foods like soups, stews, cooked vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to enhance fluid regulation in the body.

2. Limit Cold and Damp-Producing Foods: Avoid foods that are cold, raw, or damp-producing, such as ice-cold beverages, raw salads, dairy, and fried foods. These can exacerbate fluid retention and dampness, contributing to puffiness.

3. Stay Hydrated with Warm Liquids: Drinking warm liquids can promote circulation and support fluid metabolism. Herbal teas, especially those like ginger, dandelion, or green tea, are beneficial as they stimulate digestion and help reduce fluid retention.

4. Maintain Regular Sleep Patterns: Consistent and restful sleep is crucial for overall health and can help minimise morning facial puffiness. Ensuring a regular sleep schedule supports the body’s natural rhythms and processes, including fluid balance and detoxification.


For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you with puffy face in the morning, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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