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The Greater Yin stage is the fourth of the Six Stages of disease caused by invasion of Cold. I bet you know some people with it or something like it. It's not that uncommon these days, even in people living in warm, central-heated houses.
The Six Stages of Disease is a very old theory of how disease penetrates the body, how the body responds and what to do about it. It was first written down in AD220 by a brilliant doctor called Zhang Zhong Jing, and his theories and prescriptions are used to this day by people practising Chinese medicine.
Some or all of the following occur in this Greater Yin stage:
Commonly, it is the Spleen that is more often affected.
Spleen Qi deficiency symptoms are very much those of this stage, with the addition of Cold, because the 'Six Stages' theory explains the progress of Cold through the six different levels of the body's defences, listed below.
But you can get Spleen Qi deficiency other than just through the invasion of Cold into your system.
If your immune system has been forced back to this Greater Yin stage by the invasion of Cold, it will have happened in one of three main ways:
Your Yang energy is depleted, hence the cold, heaviness and slowness. At the same time, you cannot digest properly, because of Spleen and Stomach deficiency. Also, there may be signs of Damp.
Treatment aims to clear Damp, then warm, and stimulate Spleen and Stomach Qi.
Acupuncture points might include Sp9 and St40 (both dispersed), St25, 36, CV12, Bl20 and Sp5 or 8 or 6 and possibly 17 tonified or equal, and the use of moxa. However, I strongly advise you to get someone professional to do it because they will adapt the treatment to your needs. Besides, if you are ill, you don't necessarily think straight!
Typical herbal recipes include Li Zhong Tang.
I see lots of people who survive indefinitely at this Spleen deficiency stage, with Cold and Damp. They don't have great energy, they lack enthusiasm and bounce: they have got used to living at this level of low-energy.
They probably don't eat well, they don't have the energy to exercise much, and they gradually habituate themselves to low expectations in life.
They are susceptible to rapidly worsening conditions if their body gets severely challenged. Modern medicine is good at keeping us alive, but usually does so with medication.
This being the Tai Yin stage (Lungs and Spleen) they often have respiratory and digestive problems. So they tell me that they habitually take medicines for asthma and their digestion, and not to worry about them because those symptoms are 'under control'.
Instead, they want me to 'fix' their energy levels, or their depression, or their sinus problems (some examples). They don't see their problem as being anything to do with the underlying Spleen and/or Lung deficiency, let alone to do with that cold they had a few years ago, so successfully vanquished with medications.
Suppose their condition came about because their body couldn't resist the invasive march inwards of a virus, say even 'just' a cold-virus?
From the fact that whereas before at the Yang levels they had good signs of fever and heat but now they have just coldness and tiredness, you can see that at this Greater Yin stage their body is being easily pushed backwards, like a small child threatened by a big bully.
In some cases, if they get the wrong or no treatment, their condition can worsen and recede to the next stage, the Terminal yin Jue Yin stage. This becomes increasingly inauspicious for life.
What are The Six Stages as Cold penetrates?
Note that this is not the order mostly used since antiquity, but makes more sense to me. For nerds, I'm with Giovanni Maciocia on this one.
If you live in the Edinburgh area of Scotland, where the author of this site (and of the books described below) works, click on Edinburgh Acupuncturist.
If you live elsewhere, click on BAcC.
Please note! The Kindle editions are less easy to read!
I'm gradually improving this, but 'Qi Stagnation' and 'Yin Deficiency' still remain to be re-edited.
Although the paper editions cost more, they are much easier to read and to refer back and forth to the contents and index.
Here are some of the books Jonathan has written:
Still only one comment, though personally I think this is my best book so far.
Published 1986 and, amazingly, still selling. Was apparently used back then by at least one acupuncture college to help students understand Chinese medicine!
No comments yet: just published. (Despite the lurid cover, it explains the five main types of phlegm and what works best for each type. I hope it's easy to read and will be much more useful than all the websites on the subject.)
3000 years of Chinese being stressed, and at last, here's a book showing how all that experience can help you!
By the author of this website, it explains in simple English how to use stress to improve and enhance your life.
NB You can also order 'Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress' from your bookseller.
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