Yang Excess


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Yang Excess, like Yin Excess, describes a state our bodies reach when trying to change or overcome something with power.

It can be a moment of jubilation, but in Chinese medicine it represents a powerful push to deal with an intolerable situation.

Words that describe Yang and in some cases excess Yang are:

  • Heat
  • Tension
  • Excitement
  • Changing
  • Transforming
  • Fever
  • Euphoria
  • Rage
  • Apoplexy
  • Elation
  • Orgasm (actually the moment of temporary Yang excess is just before orgasm, which dissipates the excess)
  • Success

As you can see, they cover quite a range! Also, none of them lasts long, or not very long. The body - and mind - can't maintain Yang excess for long: it's exhausting!

But the theory says that if the symptoms of yang excess do their job, there will be a change to a more satisfactory situation, no matter how pleasurable or painful the actual moment of yang excess was.

The theory also explains that yang excess transforms into symptoms of yin. After the orgasm comes rest; after euphoria, tranquillity; after fever, cooling; after success, satisfaction; after excitement, boredom: after tension, relaxation: after change, stability.

Of course, if the situation cannot resolve in those ways, and yang excess continues, then it leads ultimately to destruction, exhaustion, death. Think of mania that tears itself apart; of continuing fevers that destroy health; of never-ending war that exhausts the combatants; of elation and euphoria that turn you crazy.

Causes of Excess Yang

Since this site is more about physical than spiritual or mental matters, it tends to concentrate on physical causes of disease. But emotional matters can strongly affect how your body reacts - see what happened to me further down the page.

Mostly, excess Yang is accompanied by Heat.

Where does this Heat come from?

1. Other pathogenic factors

From other pathogenic factors that, over time or when treated the wrong way, turn into Heat.

For example, wind, cold, dryness, damp, all of which are pathogenic factors that can be of external or internal form, can all turn into heat as the body tries to resolve the challenges they pose.

Why? Because your body strives to clear them by 'turning on' its full power, in combat as it were. Of course this can also happen by mistake as a result of medication or in reaction to other treatment.

2. External Pathogenic Factors

If the pathogenic factor is external, it's easier to see this process and to understand it.

Children and young healthy adults can often produce high fever in reaction to even mild 'bugs' such as colds or coughs (classified as, for example, Wind Heat or Wind Cold in Chinese medicine).

Their bodies, exuberant with energy, 'pile' into the invader without hesitation: sometimes to the alarm of parents, because the fevers produced can rapidly go very high.

3. Wrong Diet

The wrong diet/nutrition can set the process off.

Someone who eats too much hot-type food (usually this is spicy, fatty and meaty food, lacking compensatory cool foods like vegetables and fruit) or alcohol (which is also heating), can begin to produce symptoms of heat, such as eczema or a hot rash.

If they keep eating the wrong foods, their diet will ultimately affect their behaviour, leading towards what you might call a kind of mania: certainly rather excitable behaviour, often unreasonable.

4. Emotions

Emotions. Who would have thought that emotions can be so heating, but they can!

  • I got very angry last year about a situation that was largely out of my control but for which I was responsible.
  • Everyone agreed with my point of view (well ... I was telling them the story, so of course they agreed with me!) and eventually I went to a colleague for acupuncture.
  • The diagnosis was Liver qi stagnation, beginning to turn into Heart Fire.
  • Fortunately the treatment helped me calm down and take the appropriate action (I resigned, much to the consternation of the other parties) and I felt much better.
  • But this goes to show that even those of us who are supposedly knowledgeable can be affected by them.
  • Your emotions can be powerful causes of disease!

What Happens to your Yang Excess?

If you are healthy and balanced, your body will exteriorise the symptoms. That means that if the cause is a relationship or situation, you'll deal with it assertively which will lead to effective changes. 

If your body has produced symptoms, those will also be exteriorised as a rash or a fever, or eczema or some other sign of heat such as offensive and urgent bowel movements.

These can be embarrassing and unwelcome, but this is how your body is designed: to keep the problem as far from the centre as possible. You don't want a rash on your liver organ for example!

If your body can't exteriorise the problem, either because of impossible circumstances, or because of infirmity or age, then the Yang Excess will start to interfere with your Zangfu organs.

The basic symptoms common to all kinds of excess Yang are:

  • Thirst
  • Urine is dark and may be scanty
  • Feeling of Heat

Which zangfu organs are most likely to be affected?

  1. Lungs. Here you may get a cough, for example, or difficulty breathing. Your energy may suffer. Your skin will probably be affected. You may sweat more. With excess Yang, your mucus membranes and skin may get dry.
  2. Heart. Symptoms here include palpitations and a sense of loss of control. Sleep may be disturbed.
  3. Liver. Many kinds of tension appear, with headaches. Anger and frustration with depression, are common.
  4. Stomach. Difficulty thinking, nausea, vomiting, changes in appetite.

So, if you notice any of these happening, head for your nearest experienced acupuncturist! Or seek help from someone who can give you objective and helpful advice.

Remember, it's all too easy to get medication from your doctor. Taking medication to quell excess Yang is not a good idea, except in absolute emergencies. Medication is often suppressive - it's supposed to be! So first read our page on Suppression.

From Yang Excess return to Yin and Yang.

Go to Balancing Yin and Yang.

Go to the 8 Principles.

What about Yang Deficiency?

And Yin Deficiency?

What about Yin Excess?


Find an Acupuncturist!

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Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott Books

Please note! The Kindle editions are less easy to read! Although the paper editions cost more, they are much easier to read and to refer back and forth to the contents and index. But ... there is no paper edition of Yang Deficiency as yet.

Here are some of the books Jonathan has written:

Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress

Yin Deficiency - Burnout and Exhaustion

Yang Deficiency - Get Your Fire Burning Again!

Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine



3000 years of Chinese being stressed, and at last, here's a book showing how all that experience can help you!

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For the Latest Reviews of 'Qi Stagnation', click here!

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