Examples of Yin Excess

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Here are just a few Examples of Yin Excess. The first one occurred to me! If you come across other examples, use the form at the bottom of the page to add your own.

Not sure what Yin Excess is? Click on this line.


Examples of Yin Excess

Blocked nose

This blocked nose is an example of Phlegm. When suppressed, the phlegm was pushed inside and obstructed the movement of Clear Yang upwards to the head, making me dizzy and somewhat muddled.


I once had a blocked nose after a cold.

Someone suggested I take a well-known medication that I was told would clear it.

I took it.

What happened?

There was good news and there was bad news.

The good news was that my nose did indeed clear and I could breathe through it easily.

The bad news was that I immediately got vertigo and felt as if the room was reeling round me.

When the vertigo wore off, my nose blocked up again, but at least the vertigo had gone.

Being somewhat obstinate, I took the drug again.

Again my nose cleared, but again I got the vertigo.

As the vertigo cleared, the nose filled up.

I decided not to try it again.

Had I been driving, I doubt that I’d have been safe.

This is a common pattern with orthodox medicine when it suppresses a natural symptom: if successful, the symptom goes but is replaced by something deeper or more serious, or more chronic.

Only when the latter clears does the original symptom return, showing that this was indeed a form of suppression.


Steroid Injection

Photo by Wasswa James on Unsplash

The result of the following steroid injection would also be understood as Phlegm, but with some Damp.


A patient had been coming to see me for arthritic foot-joint pain. The acupuncture I gave helped her energy and general health a lot. However, the arthritic pain in her foot, arising from an old injury, did not change much.

After a break of about 5 weeks because I was away, she returned again, a little embarrassed. Before she told me what had happened, soon after she sat down, I took her pulse. This was very much slower than usual, being about 40 beats a minute as against her normal of about 68. She was also rather slow-thinking and seemed rather unsure of herself.

With a bit of prompting she explained that about a week before seeing me a cough she had caught while I was away and then got rid of had returned, deeper and harsher than before, and much harder to bring up and spit out the phlegm.

The day before the cough returned she had let her foot be injected with a steroid. Pain was just starting to return but after the injection and during that first week she had been completely pain-free.

Her pulse was much slower than usual, as I said, but also showed almost no pulse at all in the Stomach pulse position, and signs of considerable damp in her Spleen pulse position.

Where she’d been injected was on the Stomach channel over the painful area in her foot.

My Diagnosis

I diagnosed that the steroid injection had blocked the Stomach channel and this was also blocking the Spleen channel which is the next channel after the Stomach channel as well as being the Stomach zang-fu’s partner in the Earth phase. (Sorry, bit of techinical stuff there – makes sense if you are an acupuncturist, quite a few of whom read these pages.)

So there she was, after an injection, with blocked channels. The Spleen and Stomach channels have intimate connections with the Lung zang-fu, and her cough was deep and hard, with phlegm that was difficult to raise.

I treated her to help clear damp and phlegm and to stimulate Spleen and Lung zang-fu. With the needles in place she lay there for about 20 minutes, dozing.

I removed the needles and re-took her pulses. Firstly, even after the 20 minute rest, her heart beat had returned to her normal speed of about 68. If you know anything about the effect of rest, you’ll realise that it is very unusual for a pulse apparently to speed up during rest.

Secondly, the Spleen and Stomach pulses were nearly back to normal again.

Then, at a following appointment she said that after the treatment her cough had become much more productive and then gone.

Her foot? Well, there was some pain, better than originally but not as good as during the week after the injection.

What did I make of this?

That this was a case of suppression and that the action of the steroid had been like the effect of Cold but without actually getting cold.

In other words, after the steroid injection she had less pain, but other, more vital signs of health, had deteriorated.

For example, she knew she was finding it harder to concentrate, that she had been feeling heavy and slow even after a good night’s sleep (very unlike how she normally felt after a good sleep), she had less energy, and of course, her cough and phlegm had returned, harder to shift: all signs of Excess Yin.


These two kinds of examples of yin excess are just a start. I hope you, the reader, will be brave and add your own, using the form below. Examples of yin excess you might think of could be from over-eating (what about after Christmas meals?) or from getting ‘flu. If you’re not sure, have another look at yin excess.


Want to Understand More?

Before you condemn Western – orthodox – medicine, do remember the enormous benefits we enjoy from it. They use it in China almost as much as we use it in the West. However, sometimes it does things that appear to improve health but have a long-term contrary effect.

To understand more, click and read the following links:


Primary and Secondary Effects

Some of the problems arise because Western medicine either doesn’t understand, or seems to discount or at least ignore, the difference between the primary and secondary effects of medications.

It arises partly because we tend to want our doctors to do more and more, rather than less.

Sometimes a small stimulus works better, allowing your body to adapt first before pushing it again.

Pumping too much stuff into ourselves, whether it be food, cold, injections or even ideas, can lead to examples of yin excess.

Click for more about Primary and Secondary Actions.

Jonathan Brand colours

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