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:
The Greater Yin stage (Tai Yin) channels are those of the Spleen and the Lungs. Normally, therefore, you get symptoms of Spleen and/or Lung deficiency, with symptoms appearing along their pathways.
Commonly, it is the Spleen that is more 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! At least, that’s my experience. Maybe it’s different in your country?
Typical herbal recipes start with Li Zhong Tang. (This contains ginger to warm, ginseng to energise, atractylodis for digestion and licorice to integrate. Note: ginseng on its own won’t do the job.)
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 just get used to living at this level of low-energy.
Almost certainly they 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. You may know people, often older people, like this.
This being the Greater Yin stage (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 chill they had a few years ago!
Besides, over-the-counter medicines successfully vanquished the cold that they thought they were getting, so what’s that got to do with it?
Eventually, they need stuff for asthma, but doesn’t everyone?
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, increasingly inauspicious for vibrant, healthy life.
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.
The other big theory about how our bodies defend us against disease is the Four Levels theory which describes what happens when a ‘warm’ or ‘hot’ disease attacks us.
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