This Lesser Yin stage, (also called the Shao Yin stage) as disease tramples over your body’s defences on its way to the core, is one of the Six Stages of Disease, described 1800 years ago by Zhang Zhong Jing.
Far from being mythical hocus-pocus, his prescriptions are used by practitioners of Chinese medicine the world over, to this day.
In Chinese medicine, the Shao Yin level involves the Heart and the Kidney energy organs (zang-fu organs).
Obviously, (to me, if not you) when a disease penetrates to this level, it gets serious.
Mainly this involves at first your Kidney energy. However, because Kidney and Heart have a special balancing relationship in Chinese medicine, if one is long affected, after a while the other will follow.
Fortunately, modern medicine is good at keeping us alive, but even so, when your body is being kept alive at this lesser yin shao yin level, its energy is frail and susceptible to potentially life-threatening developments from adverse circumstances.
Lesser Yin stage (Shao Yin stage) symptoms come in two forms:
Both mean that at this lesser yin stage your body’s ability to regulate its reaction to cold and heat is severely compromised.
(Compromised? What does this little word mean? It’s much used by medical professionals to mean something terrible might happen to you and now they’ve told you they’re not responsible: “you’re gonna die, so there”. Well, take heart. The ancient Chinese offer hope!)
When that happens, your Heart’s viability is compromised.
The aim is to ‘expel’ the cold and to strengthen, or warm, the Yang.
An acupuncturist might use the following points with moxa: Bl23, K3 and 7, Ren4, Ren6 and Ren8, St36, Du20 (to pull up the Yang). However, see an professional for this treatment. It needs to be adapted to your particular needs.
The classical herbal recipe is Si Ni Tang. However, this contains aconite which is banned in some countries. (A great pity, because, used therapeutically in the right doses, it is a life saver. Still, you can take it in homoeopathic dilutions, which may help.) If so your herbalist will have to use a milder recipe. Chinese ginseng might be used.
At this stage, you will not really be up to doing much for yourself.
The aim in this Lesser Yin stage is to nourish, or support, your Yin energy and thereby to cool the heat and calm the Shen (your ‘spirit’).
Acupuncture points might include Ren4 and Ren6, K3, K6, Sp6. Moxa would be inadvisable. Make sure you get a professional acupuncturist to treat you. Don’t do it yourself.
The main herbal recipe for this is Huang Lian E Jiao Tang.
Of course, it is possible to ‘acquire’ Kidney Yin and Kidney Yang deficiencies in other ways than from invasion of Cold. As you age, you become increasingly Kidney deficient.
Indeed, one might say that by definition as Kidney Qi diminishes over time, you age, although there are other factors involved in ageing, such as Blood stasis.
With diminished Kidney qi you become more susceptible to this lesser yin shao yin stage problem.
However you get here, when you reach this Lesser Yin stage as a result of invasion of Cold, you will be in a serious condition.
From Cold invasion, this stage could be reached by a child, an old person, or even by a healthy 20-year old. It’ s always serious because Cold can kill. The ancient Chinese knew all about this, even if we, in our centrally-heated houses, offices and cars, can’t imagine what they were talking about!
Cold demolishes your Yang energy. If I were stuck, with few clothes, inside an icebox, I would quickly reach this Lesser Yin stage, probably without many or any of the intervening stages. If you are younger than me, fitter than me, stouter and stronger constitutionally than me, you might take longer.
But if the cold didn’t let up, you too would arrive at the same predicament, probably that of Kidney Yang deficiency, pretty soon.
Neither the Yang deficiency nor the Yin deficiency stage on this page is indicative of a long and happy life. You do need good treatment.
Since the Kidney supports the Heart, the Heart energy can fail, either by going too fast, or by going too slowly to keep going.
Your doctor would probably prescribe a number of different treatments, to calm you, to steady your heart-beat and control your blood pressure.
He’s probably not as good as Chinese medicine at controlling your Kidney deficiency, however, that being your fundamental problem.
When you regain relatively normal health, I strongly suggest you seek professional help from an experienced acupuncturist with knowledge of Chinese medicine syndromes. He or she will check your pulses and tongue, assess your situation and may be able to improve your chances for the future.
Once you’ve had one of these attacks, it’s easier to suffer another. That could be fatal. Please take this advice seriously!
Why should you bother? Because, although you didn’t get ill in the orthodox ‘malaise’ way, you were still seriously ill! That takes it out of you and a good treatment or two may put you back to where you were before, and possibly even better.
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.
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