Yang Deficiency: Replenish your Life Energy!

Sleepy woman in bed
Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash
  • Your enlivening, energising forces run down
  • You got cold or disheartened?
  • Probably it was your fault!
  • What to do about it! 

Yang deficiency occurs where the creative, transforming energy that maintains life in your body, and keeps all your mental and bodily functions going, just runs down.

Usually this means fatigue: exhaustion!

In a city, if the power is reduced, lights are dimmer, machines work less efficiently, TV pictures are smaller, it’s darker. Things don’t move or happen as quickly. 

Mobiles are slow to charge up, cooking takes longer because the heat isn’t as high, messages are relayed more slowly, decisions protracted, repairs delayed.

Traffic lights are under-powered and misunderstood. Everything is more sluggish.

It’s the same in your body!

Here’s the book!

Yang Deficiency


Find out more here.

Available now on Kindle, also in soft-back from Amazon.


Basic Yang Deficiency Symptoms

  • Your body can’t defend itself properly when you have yang deficiency
  • And YOU may be poor at defending yourself – there’s much more about this and its consequences in my book, see above!
  • Your body can’t keep itself warm properly
  • Feeling of coldness, better for being covered or warmed
  • Poor circulation: cold arms, hands, legs and feet. This often occurs with deep fatigue.
  • Prefer warmth, of weather, clothing, central heating, of food and drink
  • May have low back pain or soreness, along with fatigue
  • May have pale or transparent urine: often copious
  • Digestion may be poor
  • Stools may be loose or contain undigested food (Stomach and Spleen yang deficiency)
  • Tendency to withdraw, to reduce communications
  • Tongue: often pale in yang deficiency, exhaustion and fatigue
  • Pulse: often slow, may be weak
  • Yang deficiency leads to another syndrome: Empty Cold
  • Countries also go through periods of Yang deficiency. If these go on for too long, the country will find itself lacking an effective identity, so becomes easily overpowered or overstretched –  unless somebody realises this and forcibly asserts its identity and boundaries. In so doing, it may lose some friends. (Of course, it could gain others.) Increased Yang usually leads to an element of turmoil in international affairs. If this interests you, may I respectfully (…ahem!…) recommend my book on Yang Deficiency, the second part of which goes into this in more detail.


Mental signs of Yang Deficiency

  • Thinking negatively
  • Low confidence
  • Easily dissuaded from purpose
  • Deficit of ideas
  • Can’t respond positively to encouragement
  • No joy
  • No hope
  • Lack of ‘bounce’
  • Poor levels of decisiveness – can’t decide!
  • Spend too long thinking – pensiveness!
  • Creative powers seem to be all spent
  • Too much self-analysis and not enough action
  • Over-dependence on others

Causes of Yang Deficiency

  • Invasion by Full cold that has injured Yang
  • Long exposure to cold from not wearing enough: don’t ignore this! Many people from fashion consciousness wear too little, especially in winter. They look great – ! – but by continually or frequently exposing themselves to cold, they gradually deplete their Yang energy.
  • Consuming too much ‘cold’-type food or drinks. These are either cold or icy cold to the touch, or raw, or inappropriately cold to the season, or foods with a cooling or cold-increasing effect on the body.


Man heavy lifting. Overdone, this leads to yang deficiency, fatigue and exhaustion.
Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash
  • Physical work that is too much for your constitution. The exertion or load may be too heavy, or have gone on for too long: overwork. That leads to yang deficiency and fatigue.
  • Weight-lifters beware! Work up to heavy weights gradually: don’t over-strain yourself! 
  • Jogging beyond exhaustion does the same!
  • ‘Overwork’ includes any form of physical activity, even if enjoyable and enjoyed, that exceeds your body’s ability to recover properly in the available time. Some athletes permanently injure their Yang energy by training at just beyond their body’s capacity – overworking themselves.
  • Even jogging and running are great, but when you exceed your body’s ability to repair itself properly, you’ll injure your Yang energy.
  • Not giving yourself enough recovery time from even normal levels of physical activity is another way to overwork.
  • Mentally, in impressionable people, bullying may harm Yang. In other words, being bullied can produce or increase yang deficiency.
  • Fear, prolonged, may damage Kidney Yang.

Yang Deficiency in other areas

The Organ energies of the body, the Zang-fu, most susceptible to Yang deficiency are:


Tired Man: yang deficiency, probably from too much coffee! Can lead to deep fatigue!
Photo by Hutomo Abrianto on Unsplash

What can You do about it?

  • Rest! Make time between bouts of physical activity. Get plenty of sleep  – little naps are good.
  • Warmth. If you recently suffered from cold exposure, or had an illness that caused full cold in the interior, you must allow yourself time to recover before you resume former levels of activity.
  • Be careful if the day seems mild but there is a breeze. The breeze makes the mildness colder on your skin. For example, if on holiday in a warm climate you decide to relax over a drink in the cool of the evening, be careful when there is a breeze! It may feel wonderful, but it is cooling and if you are Yang deficient, you may not cope well with it.
  • Consume nothing that is cold, icy, or raw. Ensure everything you consume is warm and warming. Chew all foods very thoroughly before swallowing. If circumstances allow, and the only food is cold, icy or raw, try to take a warm drink (eg green tea, but even a little warm water will do) both before and after eating.
  • Eat nourishing, warming foods. It is usually better to eat well within your stomach’s limits rather than to over-eat and stuff yourself. Try to eat 5 small meals a day rather than 3 big ones.

Also … Acupuncture treatment

  • Your acupuncturist may prescribe a Chinese herbal recipe that suits you.
  • There’s a whole big theory backing up what he does!

And … Ginger

  • Add a little ginger to what you eat. Ginger, from fresh root, (not from ginger powder which is reckoned in Chinese medicine to be too heating) helps your Spleen Yang and Stomach perform better. Put a thin slice in a mug and pour boiling water over it: leave for 10 minutes, then sip the warm gingered water from time to time. Or add small ginger slices to a vegetable stir-fry, soup or stew. Your Stomach and Spleen represent your digestion which, if you have deep fatigue, you must nurture carefully.
Ginger tea, a great way to help your digestion to reduce yang deficiency which may reduce fatigue!

What Else for Yang Deficiency?

  • Avoid physical exhaustion. Take gentle activity, only slowly building up to what you did before. Yang deficiency and fatigue need careful nurturing!
  • As your body ages, be even more cautious.
  • Sex? Less: or practise abstinence for a while! In some people regular sex can be very draining when they already have Yang deficiency. This especially applies to Men. (Why? Because, simplifying a bit, semen comes from Jing, which is the root of both Yin and Yang. Women, on the other hand, are born with all the eggs they’ll need, but may use Jing up during an exhausting pregnancy or if they have too many heavy periods: but not during sex – presumably unless they always completely knacker themselves!)
  • Enjoy plenty of warm sunlight. (Warm – not HOT! Treat yang deficiency like a small plant: it needs warmth and moisture to grow.) Don’t let yourself burn, however, and realise that over-exposure to heat can drain both Yang and Yin energy (Yang, because it tires you; Yin because it dries you).


And Physically, what to do …

  • Try giving your eyes a sunbath: take off any glasses or shades you are wearing. If possible take out any contact lenses, though this is less important. Then, with your eyes closed, face the sun and, still with eyes closed, look towards the sun for 10 minutes daily. (Do not open your eyes while they are facing the sun!)
  • Don’t talk or sing for too long at a time. Don’t shout. These lead to more yang deficiency – and fatigue.
  • Let others take important decisions until you feel better.
  • Don’t stand for long, especially if you are carrying anything, and avoid walking very slowly for long periods. So, no leisurely window-shopping! 
  • No dawdling as you wait for friends: go and sit somewhere or arrange to meet them where you can sit while waiting. (And make sure it’s warm!) Hint! You could read my book on Yang Deficiency while you wait! … KindleAmazon.
  • If possible, avoid worrying and fearful situations or stimuli.

And Mentally?

  • Uplifting ideas
  • Great music
  • Inspiring literature
  • Fun with friends
  • Laughter – humour – belly laughs
  • What works for you?
  • Try country walks
  • Dancing to cheerful music

Yang Deficiency Diet

Easy, you might think! Just eat lots of yang foods and job done!

Not all food is good for yang deficiency!
Think before you eat! Photo by Alex Guillaume

Well, no. Not so easy. 

First, make sure you don’t have excess yin factors slowing you down. They are like a huge boulder on your back, constantly exhausting you.

To understand click on yin excess.

Then click on examples of yin excess.

Yin excess could also come from living in a highly negative environment, which constantly undermines you and depresses your spirit.

  • This could be someone telling you you’re good for nothing, have no future, are always disappointing them – and so on. If that’s your situation, try to get out of it as soon as possible.
  • It could also come from a philosophical or religious tyranny that insists you restrain  yourself, usually so you live in accord with the tyrant’s view of life.
  • Well, my advice is to get away. Follow your own dream.


Clearing phlegm, for example, might be your priority, not eating lots of yang foods – if phlegm is your problem!

And what if you don’t do anything about clearing out the excess yin in your life?

Well, you’ll probably make a little progress and then exhaust yourself.

In fact, increasing yang might increase the yin excess, at least in theory.

Anyhow, Let’s Move On …

… let’s assume you’ve cleared the excess yin which was holding you back. 

There’s something else you must do! This is to reduce any medication, drugs or foods that over-stimulate yang but don’t feed or increase it. Lots of social drugs do this, and so does caffeine. Read our page on coffee! This is particularly important if you are not only yang deficient but yin deficient too. So that’s another page to read: yin deficiency!

First, that might be all you need to do.

Like a sports car which has been dragging around a huge, heavy caravan, when the latter is left behind, the sports car powers away.

sports car, unconstrained by a caravan, powers forth!
Photo by Roberto Nickson

Job done! No need for a special yang deficiency diet – your body already has everything needed.

In fact, eating nothing but yang foods might produce excess yang which you don’t want either!

But what if you DO need a diet for yang deficiency?

OK – you’ve got rid of the yin excess in  your life, but still not much change.

Right, now you need to read – carefully – the page on nutrition, and preferably the books mentioned there.

Then you’ll consider kidney yang deficiency.

After that you’ll read up on Kidney yang foods.

By then, you’ll probably be


That way, your Blood will remain strong in Yin and able to support the extra Yang you add.

That’s because, for health, you need  plenty of yin energy to store, accommodate and make yang.

photo of silhouette photo of man standing on rock
Photo by Aziz Acharki

(This whole site always comes back to balancing yin and yang!)

Yang Deficiency Treatment

Well … you’d expect us to say acupuncture, this being an acupuncture focused site. Acupuncture however, whilst great for mobilising your body’s Qi to create the circumstances for Yang creation, should be an important accessory here.

  • Moxibustion over the appropriate acupuncture points, and other treatments that are warming, are initially more important than acupuncture on its own. Hot stone treatment, warm baths, warm friends and surroundings will help.
  • Having said that, there are some amazing ways, using acupuncture alone, to increase yang in the body. Indeed, I’ve sometimes found people beginning to glow from the treatment when previously they were always cold.  And it can lift fatigue.
  • When arranging to have an acupuncture treatment, ensure you’ll have eaten beforehand. By eating, I mean proper food, good nutrition, not just a coffee. The energy acupuncture uses comes from food so there’s no point getting acupuncture treatment when suffering from fatigue and exhaustion due to fasting.


What about other problems?

  • Also, if there is any sign of Full-Cold, or Damp, or Phlegm, (each of which is a form of excess Yin), as well as Yang deficiency, then the Full-cold, Damp or Phlegm must usually be cleared first before addressing the Yang deficiency.
  • Otherwise, your fatigue won’t shift.
  • But don’t think you’re being overcharged for unnecessary treatments! By clearing the Yin obstacle, your Yang energy will naturally begin to recover, just as the tectonic plates under Northern Europe are rising now that the 3 Kilometres of ice-age snow has gone. (Mind you, they seem to be taking their time.)
  • Perhaps you’re suffering from Long Covid? Read up some ideas from Chinese medicine about chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • And for a more philosophical look check out Lockdown, Yin and Yang.


What about ‘do it yourself’ yang deficiency treatment?

  • Don’t try to treat this deficiency yourself. Get expert help. Why, especially here? Because your body is made up of both Yang and Yin energies. Strengthening Yang will affect Yin. Too much Yang-enhancing treatment, especially with herbs, may produce symptoms of heat or over–excitement of Yang before Yin has had a chance to catch up. If that happens you may begin to drain your Yin energy as well. Then you’ll end up with deeper fatigue and exhaustion.

Let Someone Else Help You Assess Your Yang Deficiency

  • Let someone else judge when best to stimulate Yang and when to stimulate Yin. For example, you may think you have Yang deficiency, but your friendly neighbourhood acupuncturist might realise that you also have Yin deficiency. If Yin deficiency predominates, tonifying Yang first with moxa or Yang-tonic herbs might be counter-productive.
  • Also, in advising you which foods or herbs are best for you, your acupuncturist will have to decide how strong your digestion is: no point suggesting strong tonics (which can be heavy and cloying) if you can’t digest them. Read our page on Nutrition to begin to get a feel for all this.
  • It is seldom correct just to strengthen Yang and to ignore Yin (and the reverse applies too.) In strengthening Yang, you affect your body’s ability to digest food, to perspire, to think creatively, to warm up and cool down. Each of these also has roots in your Yin energy.


So get expert help. See a member of the British Acupuncture Council.


Once you’re better from yang deficiency, fatigue and exhaustion?

Did you over-strain yourself physically because you don’t normally take any form of (or much) exercise? Then do try to take up something physical that you know you can keep up and that will improve your physical capability.


XBX - 5BX plans - a great way, carefully, over time, to reduce yang deficiency and to combat fatigue


60 years ago a Royal Canadian Air Force physiotherapist designed a 10-minute exercise regime that all their staff could do every day. It’s got what you need, man or woman, to keep fit without over-straining yourself. You work through it at your own speed.

I used it for years and found it kept me fit to run for buses and up stairs, able to lift heavy objects and generally just feel comfortable in my body. (But I also do some yoga.)

Another possibility, easy to do, taking hardly 4 minutes each time, is the Nitric Oxide Dump. Do it very cautiously to start with.


An Even More Heroic Method

The following is really good for stimulating Yang if done regularly. But you need to do it right, and you must not do it if illover-tired, after major loss of blood, if exhausted or chilled.

It’s called a cold shower! Click here for how to do it right!

Then please read our page on Yin deficiency because you’ll find some of it applies to Yang deficiency too.

And again, what may seem obvious, please don’t let yourself become over-exposed to cold! Make sure you keep warm.


An Unashamed Plug!

So many people are interested in Yang deficiency!

How do I know? … Because this page has become the single most visited page on my site (ahead even of Qi Stagnation, which used to be the busiest page!), with many thousands of new people reading it monthly.

If you want to find out more about it, my book on the subject may help. It goes into much more detail than on this page and as readers write to me about it I shall improve it. Personally I think the part of the book dealing with political affairs is the most interesting, but of course there’s lots more about the physical side too.


Other pages to read…


Return from Yang Deficiency to Yin and Yang.

Jonathan Brand colours

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