Jue Yin stage (Terminal Yin stage)

jue yin innermost stage
Innermost place - Photo by Puffy Buns on Unsplash


At this Jue Yin stage, (also called your Terminal Yin stage) your defences have reached their next-to-last level of resistance against the inward march of an invading disease: COLD. There’s not much left in your bag of reserves.

The Six Stages of Disease was first written down in AD220 by Zhang Zhong Jing, who based his ideas not just on his own experience and observations but on the thousand or more years of experience in Chinese medicine of his ancestors.

Modern medicine is wonderful at keeping us alive, and in the absence of good Chinese medicine, you may need it if you reach this stage. Otherwise, in the past, you may not have survived.

The Six Stages theory was developed in very different times, when people did not have nice warm central-heated homes. Cold could be a killer and the Six Stages described what happened as it took hold.

Of course, the observations were mainly about cold ‘invasion’, but many of the syndromes of the Six Stages were symptom pictures that could be reached by other means than just ‘cold’ invasion.

This, the Jue Yin stage, the penultimate level, denoted nearly a last-ditch resistance by what Western medicine calls your immune system, but which the Chinese called your zheng Qi.

This Terminal Yin Jue yin stage showed what a practitioner might do to help the patient recover, and the prescriptions from 1800 years ago are still used today because our inherited genes have not altered that much over the years.

Symptoms of Terminal Yin Jue Yin Stage

At this Terminal Yin Jue Yin stage none of the systems in your body really work together.

  • Thirst, but inability to drink. If you do drink, you may vomit it.
  • Hunger but either can’t or won’t eat. If you do eat, you vomit it up again.
  • If given purgatives, inappropriately, to help evacuate the bowels, you will probably get continuous, very draining, diarrhoea.
  • Diarrhoea, strong odour, urgent, burning rectal pain
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sense of ‘air’ or energy pushing up into the chest and heart, making breathing difficult, often with burning pain there
  • Coldness in arms and legs
  • Frequent urination, even a lack of control over urination
  • Tongue: red papillae with little dots, any coating is white and slippery
  • Pulse: wiry, deep, hidden

Note, the Heat and coldness may alternate:

  • When hot, extreme fever, irritability, thirst, yellow urine, fast pulse but limbs may still feel cold. Tongue coating is yellow. Pulse is ‘rolling’.
  • When cold, lack of fever, dislikes cold, limbs feel cold, pale tongue, thin, feeble pulse.
Chinese physician taking the pulse

What is happening here?

This Terminal Yin Jue Yin stage shows a picture of Yang beginning to lose connection with Yin, so unable to regulate it.

You see symptoms of heat – ie Yang rising – above,

  • for instance, the sensation of Qi rising into the chest,
  • with pain and stuffiness there
  • and the thirst (and sometimes hunger) but inability to hold things down, to digest and absorb them
  • The irritability, feverish sensation (despite having cold limbs), thirst, slippery pulse and yellow tongue indicate heat accumulating. However, although it is accumulating, it isn’t being moved to where it’s needed, so the body still feels cold. This coldness of the limbs is considered to be due to extreme Yang not circulating.


but if your symptoms are with cold – Yin – below or inside

  • cold limbs
  • vomiting of any food or drinks taken.
  • This arises from extreme Yang deficiency with Yin excess. Sometimes this is called ‘coldness due to extreme Yin excess’.


In the middle normal activities stop functioning properly, for instance your digestion. This means there is no re-supply of nutrition.


This jue yin stage is not a good situation.

Your Liver energy cannot keep the natural flow of Qi going, nor your Pericardium protect the Heart.

However, it need not be deadly. Zhang Zhong Jing did have prescriptions for it.

What to do if you’re in this jue yin stage?

For this Jue Yin stage, the aim is to clear the Heat above, to warm the cold below – ie dispel the cold –  and to get all parts, upper, middle and lower, to harmonise and Qi moving again.

Acupuncturists might use points like LI4 and Liv3 to send energy down, and P6 and Sp4 to regulate the Blood to bring it into balance with the Yang: perhaps also Ren5Ren 12 and Ren17, where appropriate with moxa.

Classic Chinese herbal recipes for this are

  • Wu Mei Wan and
  • Chai hu gui zhi gan jiang tang.


Your practitioner would adapt such a formula to your particular needs.

What can YOU do about this jue yin stage?

If this situation was reached by the invasion of Cold, you are probably in no condition to do much for yourself.

When Yang separates from Yin it leaves no life behind. You may be in what amounts to a condition of Shock. Seek treatment.

Traditionally, doctors also sometimes observed these symptoms in patient who had roundworms, especially if the parasite invaded other organs.

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.

Jonathan Brand colours

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