Yin Excess
Fullness of Yin


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Yin Excess is all too common. (Sometimes it's called Fullness of Yin.)

Unlike the extremes of Yang Excess, which don't usually last too long, Fullness of Yin can remain in your body for years, even until you die.

However, it isn't usually a killer: it just wears you down. So, for long-term health, you really need to clear it from your system.

Yin Excess Symptoms

The basic form is that of Cold, Full Cold. However, as you'll discover, you can get yin excess symptoms in other ways than from cold.

Cold implies a lack of Yang, which would otherwise warm you up, and many of the other forms of excess Yin also occur because of deficient Yang.

Basic signs of excess Yin, in your system:

  • feeling cold (this happens particularly if the cause is Cold)
  • tightness (but other syndromes also produce tightness, including some kinds of Qi Stagnation)
  • slowness
  • shivering
  • constriction (other syndromes also produce this symptom)
  • stiffness (for example, with Damp invasion)
  • sleepiness (can occur in other syndromes too)
  • listlessness (also occurs in several other syndromes)
  • desire to be covered and kept warm (also Yang deficiency)
  • desire for warm food and drinks (also Yang deficiency)
  • pallor (also occurs in Blood deficiency)
  • desire to curl up (also occurs in Yang deficiency)
  • weak voice (also occurs in Lung qi deficiency)
  • aversion to talking for long (also occurs in Lung qi deficiency)
  • rather weak or shallow breathing (also occurs in Lung qi deficiency)

The patient looks pale, his pulse feels 'full' and a bit slow.

Usually Yin excess develops more slowly than Yang excess. Yin excess also tends to be more common in chronic conditions. (Often signs of Yin excess develop over a period of many months or even years.)

Why is this? Because Yang is the transforming force. Yin is what is transformed: it tends to continue as it is unless transformed.

Once our bodies take on Yin Excess symptoms, they can be hard to shift. They become an impediment to change and often have to be cleared before treatment to strengthen Yang energy begins.

Yin Excess Causes

1. From outside the body

  • Cold exposure (such as from sitting on cold ground, or from exposure to cold air) penetrates through the skin and stops Qi moving along the channels and through the joints. This produces 'Painful Obstruction Syndrome' with acute pain, cramps and stiffness, initially in the limbs. Untreated, or wrongly treated, this can become permanent, leading to chronic medical conditions such as arthritis.
  • Cold can enter via the mouth and nose, leading to Stomach Cold, Cold in the Intestines and Cold in the Uterus. Cold in the Uterus and Intestines can also come from Cold in the channels penetrating up them to enter the lower part of the trunk, harming the Intestines and the Uterus. This form of Yin excess can become permanent, chronically dissipating the health of the body.
  • Cold, in the form of an external pathogenic factor such as a virus or bacteria, can disrupt the working of the defences of the body, overcome its immune force (its Wei Qi and Upright Qi) and produce symptoms of Wind-Cold or Cold-Damp.
Wet Princes Street, Edinburgh
  • Damp can arise from over-exposure to damp, or cold water, including from swimming in cold water for too long, (though it could come theoretically from long exposure to warm water as well), to living in damp environments (think of living 'rough', and of damp basements), and to rain or snow.

2. From Inside the Body

When the body lacks the Yang energy to transform or dissipate these Yin energies before they take hold, you get:

  • Damp. This often combines with Cold to create a variety of Western Medicine disease syndromes from arthritis and fibromyalgia to commonly experienced problems like stiffness.
  • Damp, internally-generated damp, often comes from poor diet or eating habits: eating food that is cold when you are cold or unable to warm it sufficiently inside you to digest it properly, or raw food, sweet food or very greasy food.
Alcohol Supplies
  • From alcohol, which disrupts your digestion
  • Over-eating: a surprisingly common cause of internal Damp. This is eating past the point when you are full, because your metabolism hasn't caught up with the fact that you've eaten enough, and keeps asking for more. Usually, if you can control yourself for 30 minutes, you'll find that the hunger goes.


How do you know that you've over-eaten?

By that feeling of fullness

By the sleepy or tired feeling you get soon after over-eating. (People often take caffeine in the form of coffee, tea or chocolate to guard against this, confusing the body's signalling system.)

By the increase in snot in your nose or mucus in your throat - signs of damp


  • Phlegm: there are many ways phlegm appears, including from invasion by an external pathogenic factor such as wind-cold (eg, a 'bug') which disrupts the Lungs function, from stress and emotional factors which interfere with the movement of Liver Qi, from poor eating habits and wrong foods (as in Damp, above), from weak Yang energy and so on. See our page on Phlegm when it's ready.
  • Oedema: arises from disturbance in the natural workings of the body either from weakness, eg of Yang energy, or from invasion by Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat disrupting the Lungs function, or from Damp combined with Heat or from Spleen Yang deficiency, to name a few. See our page on Oedema when it's ready.
  • Mucus: which can be in the nose, or generated in the genital area when it is often incorrectly called candida albicans.

All these, Damp, Phlegm, Mucus and Oedema are expressions of Yin Fullness. If chronic, they can be hard to shift by yourself without treatment. Western Medicine has quite powerful drugs which may mask the symptoms but usually cause other problems.

I once had a blocked nose - an example of yin excess. See what happened by clicking here!

Other pages on this site that you may find interesting include the following, some of which take you off in slightly different directions, including fish!


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If you live elsewhere, click on BAcC.



Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress by Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott

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.

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