Yin Deficiency
(Book also available, see below)

As life speeds up, Yin Deficiency increases and we don't notice. We think we're digging for profit, but actually we're digging ourselves deeper into a problem: the hole gets bigger and deeper!

But holes are empty and even if we eventually find the treasure, we may be so deep we can't enjoy it.

For balance, you need enough yin and enough yang. Click here for more about the concept of Yin and Yang.

Sorry to be boring, but keeping healthy is a balancing act between excess and deficiency. In the West, and increasingly in the East, we're focused on acquiring riches. Obviously we need money, and too little of it is misery. But as your reserves of money increase, at what point will you feel comfortable that you have enough?

If you're like most people, never: you will never feel sure you have enough. So you keep digging, or worrying that you're not digging enough, or not finding enough treasure, or not being paid enough to dig for someone else's treasure.

Yin deficiency is an important syndrome in Chinese Medicine. Western medicine hasn't noticed it so far, though it is very commonly part of many Western defined diseases.

It is the experience of many practitioners of Chinese medicine that if you balance yin and yang, so clearing any yin deficiency, the disease disappears.

Overwork is one of the main causes of this syndrome.

  • Stress is such a big subject that I've written a book about it - 'Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress'You can buy it to read on your Kindle. Or you can get it in softback to keep on your shelf (after reading!)

Basic Yin Deficiency Symptoms

If you are Yin deficient, or suffering from Empty Yin (which means the same as Yin Deficiency), you'll have some of the following symptoms:

  • Dryness in your throat and/or mouth, often at night
  • Dryness in your skin
  • Dry eyes
  • Perspiration at night, in your sleep, when there's no obvious reason for it
  • Noises in your ears: this is called 'tinnitus'
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness leading quickly to exhaustion, though when you start doing  something, or after a good sleep, you may think you have plenty of energy
  • Insomnia (either you can't get to sleep, or more likely you wake in the night for no obvious reason)
  • Lack of genital lubricating fluids
  • If Empty Yin goes on for too long, either your body will already be thin, or you will start losing weight
  • Sudden flushes of heat, as in the menopause: these flashes, flushes, or 'power surges' mean your symptoms are moving onto another stage, that of empty heat
  • Yin deficiency is frequently implicated in symptoms of infertility and sub-standard sperm
  • Tongue: no coating on the surface, and possibly red in colour 
  • Pulse: 'thin' or 'fine', or may be 'floating and empty': these are terms used to describe qualities when the pulse is taken the Chinese way

By the way, the Chinese noticed these symptoms 3000 years ago!

You may also, in time, develop symptoms of Liver Yang excess, a syndrome often noticed in people with high blood pressure.

Yin deficiency in other areas

That's not all, because with these symptoms will almost certainly come one at least of the following, in due course:

What Can YOU do about Deficient Yin?

If you've read the causes of Yin Deficiency set out above, you'll probably already know what you must do. Unless your problem came from fevers or inherited conditions, you have to learn to live a bit more slowly, to learn how to enjoy life in the slower lane.

That's not so easy! When your job goes, or your profits evaporate, and you want to maintain your standard of living, you're forced either to work harder or take a new job - if you can find one.

Then, until your new job position is confirmed by your employer, you have to strain for good performance results, excellent productivity, sales and profits.

Otherwise you must rely on your savings - if you have any.

But you can do some things for yourself.

Apart from getting treatment from someone who understands your situation and can help your body balance itself, you can almost certainly do some of the following:

  • More sleep: get to bed early at least three times a week. By 'early' we mean actually be in bed by 10pm, and put the light out by 10.30pm. Then aim to get up after allowing 8 hours for sleep, even if you don't get 8 hours straight through. Also ... It won't hurt for you to retire to bed for several hours at weekends in the afternoon. You have to recharge your batteries!
  • And if you snore, see what can be done about it! Snoring means you are using up energy which should be used to help repair and rejuvenate your body. Click here for a page about snoring.
  • Learn how to meditate. (Opens in a new window.) Meditation is a technique (though it can become much more than just a technique!) for calming and steadying your mind. 
  • Once learned, you can meditate while walking up and down in an airport departure lounge, or on a railway station, or while waiting to pick up your children from school.
  • Learn a simple form of exercise that you can do daily. 60 years ago a Royal Canadian Air Force physiotherapist designed a 10-minute exercise regime that all its staff could do every day. (Click here for a downloadable pdf of its essentials.) It's got what you need, man or woman, to keep fit without over-straining yourself. You work through it at your own speed.
  • Try to take a 20 minute walk every day, during which you walk fast enough to get slightly out of breath, so that you can only just carry on a conversation.
  • Avoid foods that may overstimulate your Yang energy. These include stimulants like coffee and those containing caffeine, herbs like Chinese ginseng, and foods that are too heating such as curries and roasted meats. There's more about coffee here. (Actually  coffee often helps people who are YANG deficient, a bit. But not you, if you're YIN deficient.)
  • Take time over meals. Eat slowly, chewing well before swallowing. Don't read or work while eating.
  • When you have this condition or 'syndrome', your body lacks the resources it needs to power itself. That can mean many of your natural body functions, like digestion, don't work so well. 
  • In turn, THAT means that you cope less well with eating the wrong foods or eating the wrong way. Check nutrition for more on this. 
  • Also, don't eat too many HOT-type foods, as these tend to increase heat in your body. Being yin-deficient, your body is not good at coping with too much heat.
  • But be cautious about COLD-type foods too, because digesting cold or cold-type foods takes energy. You don't have much of that either.
  • Don't eat large meals, or meals with alcohol, or drink alcohol, late in the evenings before bed. Everyone is different, but you should not rely on alcohol to help you sleep, because as your body metabolises it, it  will create heat and prevent replenishing, restful sleep.
  • Also, eating a large meal when you are tired is a disaster for your yin-deficient body. It just hasn't got the energy for it.
  • Yin Deficiency recipes. These are dishes you can cook and which are broadly balanced to help people with Yin Deficiency. We hope you'll add your own suggestions to the recipes in due course. So far, there are a few fish and vegetable recipes, but we'll be adding beef, more fish and other recipes soon.
  • Don't take very vigorous exercise before going to bed. Leave at least 4 hours between finishing your exercise and going to bed.
  • Cold showers. Yes. You read that right! Cold showers can help you if done right!
  • Too much TV can disrupt your sleep patterns, especially during the hours immediately before bedtime.
  • Read our pages on (food) nutrition and supplements. If you are living a life that is exhausting your Yin energies, you'll almost certainly need better nutrition.
  • Spend some time thinking about how you can reduce the time you spend rushing around.
  • When travelling, schedule time for relaxing body treatments such as rejuvenating exercise, aromatherapy, therapeutic massage, polarity therapy, bowen technique, shiatsu.
  • Spend time pottering about: preferably in boats, otherwise just looking around!
  • Don't read exciting books before going to sleep.
  • Spend more time with friends who know how to take life easily.
  • And of course, consider acupuncture. Your acupuncturist may be a fund of good advice as well as being able to re-set your body via acupuncture!

Book specially written about this:
"Yin Deficiency - Burnout and Exhaustion - What to Do!"

If you enjoyed this page, I hope you'll also enjoy the book that I've written. It's not too long, but packed with information for you.

Through Amazon you can buy the softback edition, or it's available in a newly (2017) re-formulated version for Kindle that is very much more accessible than the original (2014) version. 

The book contains

  • an introduction to help you understand Yin and Yang from a different point of view (takes a little while to get your head round it!), and
  •  more on how to help yourself.
  • 'Western' diseases that often have this deficiency
  • A chapter with more on the mental symptoms
  • Lots more on the physical symptoms
  • A section on Nutrition for Yin Deficiency
  • More suggestions for exercise
  • Recipes for Yin deficiency
  • Softback version via Amazon - click the Amazon box or here 
  • Kindle edition available on Kindle Unlimited (ie 'free' if you subscribe to this)

ALSO available, the book on YANG Deficiency!

(Some people have deficiency of both Yin and Yang!)


Booking Consultations with Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott
Please note: during this Covid 19 pandemic, consultations with Jonathan can only be done by Telephone or Skype

Click here to see when Jonathan is available, or to BOOK your appointment online. 

Alternatively, ring him on 07950 012501 or freephone (only free to telephone within the UK) 0800 298 7015.

Click here to get back to our Home page from this Yin Deficiency page.

Click here for Yin Deficiency CAUSES ie What causes Yin deficiency.

Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott Books

All the books in the 'Chinese Medicine in English' series should be fully accessible on Kindles and Kindle apps. (Or you can buy the softback print editions, of course.)

('Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine' published 1986, was never available in a Kindle version.)

Request! Please!

If, having read one of my books you can write a review - preferably positive - that would help others decide whether to read it.

You can put your review on Amazon or, on this site, here.

And if you think it was terrible?

Well, let me know so I can improve it for the next person. (Ideally let me know before cursing it in public!)

Here are some of the books I (Jonathan) have written.

Subscribers to Kindle Unlimited can borrow the first four for 'free'.

Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress

Yin Deficiency - Burnout and Exhaustion

Yang Deficiency - Get Your Fire Burning Again!

Yuck! Phlegm! How to Clear Your Phlegm ...

Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine

Published 1986 and, amazingly, still selling. Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine was apparently used back then by at least one acupuncture college to help students understand Chinese medicine! See Reviews.

Seven Reviews so far for Yuck Phlegm. (Despite the lurid cover, it explains the five main types of phlegm and what works best for each type. I hope it's easy to read and will be much more useful than all the websites on the subject.)

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