Yin Deficiency: Exhausted – Stress and Apathy

Photo by Abbie Bernet on Unsplash
  • Yin deficiency is what happens when you exhaust your reserves and your ability to relax
  • You can’t slow down
  • You become slightly hyper all the time
  • Body processes are undermined: burnout!

Digging yourself a Hole!

As life speeds up, Yin Deficiency (= empty yin) 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.

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 Empty Yin

For more about overwork and OTHER yin deficiency CAUSES click here.

  • Overwork causes stress.
  • Prolonged Stress, over time, causes Yin deficiency.
  • 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!)
  • Click on yin-deficiency causes  for more reasons for your yin deficiency – empty yin. Believe me, there are quite a few ways to produce this mischief in your self! It’s not just burnout!


Here’s a link to our page on Reviews of our book Yin Deficiency – Burnout and Exhaustion – What to Do!

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
  • Your skin gets dry
  • 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
  • Brain tiredness/fatigue leading quickly to collapse, though when you start doing  something, or after a good sleep, you may think you have plenty of energy
  • In spite of the fatigue, you are probably restless, unable to settle easily, probably from fear or worry
  • With tiredness (qi deficiency) often comes depression; apathy probably, too
  • Wakefulness/sleepless (either you can’t get to sleep, or more likely you wake in the night for no obvious reason)
  • Lack of genital lubricating fluids
  • Pain: if pain accompanies or is caused by yin deficiency, it is usually better for gentle pressure, for holding and massaging. Warmth may not be welcome, or if it is welcome, only in lower parts eg abdomen or low back.
  • Yin Deficiency 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


If Empty Yin goes on for too long …

  • Either your body will already be thin, or you will start losing weight; otherwise unexplained ‘weight loss’
  • Sudden flushes of heat, as in the menopause. These heat flashes – flushes – or ‘power surges’ mean your symptoms are moving towards another syndrome recognised in Chinese medicine, that of empty heat 
  • Yin deficiency frequently occurs with symptoms of infertility and sub-standard sperm count: see also sexual impotence and male infertility.


By the way … 

  • Low thyroid capacity (hypothyroidism) more often accompanies yang deficiency.
  • The Chinese noticed these symptoms of Empty Yin 3000 years ago! Yes, even then, people got fatigue! However, this syndrome is not yet recognised in the Western medical world.


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

person holding cigarette stick and scratching his face: tense from yin deficiency?

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:


Stomach Yin deficiency is often a problem! It represents what happens when your digestion, especially your stomach, can’t do its job. It lacks the fluids – acids and other fluids that protect the stomach’s lining – to be able to digest your food properly. 

So it cannot replenish your reserves. With yin deficiency you’ve run out of reserves, so not having an effective stomach is definitely bad news! 

(How do you know if you have Stomach Yin deficiency? The easiest do-it-yourself way is to examine your tongue, specifically its coating. If you have a patchy coating, or even no coating – it just  looks like raw flesh – you probably do have Stomach yin deficiency. To get this better you MUST change your diet and eating habits or you’ll get more ill and become more susceptible to increasingly serious conditions. Click Stomach Yin deficiency for more.)

What Can YOU do about Deficient Yin?

If you’ve read the causes of Yin Deficiency set out above (see more under yin  deficiency causes), 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 to enjoy life in the slower lane. Let your brain off the treadmill for a while!

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 your fatigue

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! In particular, good sleep recharges your brain.


woman sleeping on bed under blankets: recovering from empty yin

  • 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.
  • More REST. Rest is when your body recovers its ability to repair. (Mostly it is your first deep sleep of the night that actually does the repair.) If possible, give yourself an afternoon rest every day – a ‘siesta’ if you like. But try to keep it to less than 35 minutes, otherwise you may go so deeply asleep that you find it hard to wake up properly.



  • Learn how to meditate. Meditation is a technique (though it can become much more than just a technique!) for calming and steadying your mind. Your brain learns how to settle itself.
  • Once learned, you can even 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.
  • If you’re understanding this page, you’ll realise you must make some lifestyle improvements!
  • By the way, some Long Covid sufferers get these chronic Yin Deficiency symptoms. I haven’t seen enough Long Covid patients to decide which are the main causes for yin deficiency here, but suspect it will be continuing to work when ill, or returning to employment too soon, plus, for some, enervation from fever.


Yin Deficiency Exercise

Almost any gentle exercise is beneficial but probably walking is the simplest. A short walk, then a short doze, might be all you manage to start with! This is a lifestyle matter. Later …

  • Try to take a 20 minute walk every day. Eventually you will walk fast enough to get slightly out of breath, so that you can only just carry on a conversation. Of course, take your time! Build up to this gradually!
  • Learn a simple form of exercise that you can do daily. 60 years ago a Royal Canadian Air Force physiotherapist was told to design a 10-minute exercise regime that all its staff could do every day. (Click here for more on this.) It’s got what you need, man or woman, to keep fit without over-straining yourself. You work through it at your own speed so it is correct to begin with very low repetitions – and slowly!
  • A little more extreme is the Nitric Oxide Dump: 4 minutes several times a day that moves your main muscles and exercises your heart. Again, build up to it slowly!


Make Time for Yourself! Especially with Food!

6 Things To Do!

Expresso coffee - a bad idea for yin deficiency!

(1) Vital! Steer clear of over-stimulation.

This includes stimulants like coffee or containing caffeine, herbs like Chinese ginseng – ren shen – [some of my colleagues will disagree with me here! But ‘American’ ginseng – xi yang shen – radix panacis quinquefolii – is better for yin deficiency], and cuisines that are too heating such as curries and roasted meatsThere’s more about coffee here. Actually  coffee often helps people who are YANG deficient, a bit. But this drug is NOT for YOU, if you’re YIN deficient.

Reducing coffee intake leads to a more paced lifestyle.

(2) Take time over meals.

Eat slowly, chewing well before swallowing. Don’t read or work while eating because habitually doing so eventually increases symptoms of empty yin. Again, this becomes a new lifestyle matter.

When you have this yin deficiency condition or ‘syndrome‘, your body lacks the resources it needs to power itself. So, many of your natural body functions that need time – like digestion – don’t work so well. 

In turn, THAT means that you cope less well with eating the wrong diets or eating the wrong way. Check nutrition for more on this. 

(3) 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. In extreme it could increase fatigue. Don’t ignore this risk.

(4) But be cautious about COLD-type foods too …

… because digesting cold or cold-type meals takes energy. You don’t have much of that either! So make sure what you eat or drink is warm to the touch. Cold foods can be another risk.

(5) Yang-type nourishment …

… which you should reduce – tends to be spicy or sweet and includes meat, especially when roasted or fried. Too much yang-type stuff also causes fatigue – in you!

(5) Yin-type foods …

… which may benefit you, tend to be bitter, salty or sour.  Salty foods don’t necessarily taste salty! It’s the name given to a range of foods – I’ll put up a page about this soon. Sour means as in sourdough bread and fermented foods like sauerkraut etc. Take them cooked and warm where possible. Appendix 1 of my book on Yin Deficiency has over 8 pages of foods – nearly 200 of them – classified as to their actions.

(6) Over-eating and Alcohol

  • 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. Then, for a while, you’ll be sleepless, depleting your yin reserves and probably further stressing you.
  • 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.
  • More meals with smaller amounts per meal are usually better and easier to digest when you have yin deficiency. Remember, yin deficiency is a disorder which, like any other, needs some respect! Your body is weary, so don’t push it too hard.


Yin Deficiency Recipes

Celeriac Soup - great for empty yin!
Celeriac Soup recipe below

Yin Deficiency recipes. These are dishes you can cook and which are broadly balanced to help people with Yin Deficiency. So far, there are a few fish and vegetable recipes, but we’ll be adding beef, more fish and other recipes soon.


Other Useful Stuff YOU can DO for your Yin Deficiency and Fatigue

  • Don’t take very vigorous exercise before going to bed. Leave at least 4 hours between finishing your exercise and going to bed. Exercise – yang – makes your metabolism accelerate: that’s not going to help you sleep!
  • Before bed, some people benefit from slow stretches and the directed focus of yoga.
  • Cold showers. Yes. You read that right! Cold showers can help yin deficiency if done right!  But not just before you try to sleep.
  • Too much TV – and phones, tablets etc – disrupts your sleep, especially in the 3 hours before bedtime. You may sleep but it won’t be good! With yin deficiency you must nurture yourself.
  • Read our pages on nutrition and supplements. If you are living a life that is exhausting your Yin energies, you’ll almost certainly need better nutrition.


Time - the enemy of yin deficiency! Instead, make it your friend, with rest.
  • Think about how to reduce the time you spend rushing around. We’ve all got the same number of hours per day. Try to enjoy relaxing with some of them!
  • When travelling, schedule time for relaxing body treatments such as rejuvenating exercise, aromatherapy, therapeutic massage, polarity therapy, bowen technique, shiatsu.


Make friends with Time

  • Spend time pottering about: preferably in boats, otherwise just looking around! What about nurturing some plants on your window-sill or garden patch? Or take up drawing or painting?
  • Don’t read exciting books before going to sleep.
  • Spend more time with friends who know how to take life easily.


Yin Deficiency Menopause

  • The change in a woman’s hormones during her menopause means the loss of some and as her body adapts it can produce some symptoms of yin deficiency, usually temporary
  • If a woman is already yin deficient before it, her yin deficiency menopause might occur earlier or develop more symptoms of empty heat, flushing, heart tachycardia, anxiety, wakefulness and night sweats


Yin Deficiency Supplements

  • Western medicine doesn’t recognise yin deficiency as a disease so there aren’t any medically accepted supplements for it, as such.
  • However, they are edging towards the kind of thing needed in terms of Western nutrtion, with minerals and vitamins. Minerals would include zinc and magnesium, for example. Add probiotics for gut health, and you’ve made a start.
  • Chinese and Asian herbal sources start with a famous formula called liu wei di huang wan. However, this is not nutritional but seeks to alter the way your body works so it enables itself to utilise foods better. Importantly, you should recognise that (what? he’s already gone to order it without more ado?) s!cptuslont pwrnqbl$ which, translated from the language known as Rrushnforth means you need to get it adapted for your particular health needs otherwise it won’t work, could even make you worse so you’ll waste your money, get poorer, take longer to recover and spend the rest of your life ruing your rash behaviour in not reading this sentence to the end. (Very economical language is Rrushnforth, I think you’ll agree.)



Of course, consider acupuncture.

acupuncture for yin deficiency
Acupuncture – an important way to treat yin deficiency.

Your acupuncturist may be a fund of good advice as well as being able to re-set your body! (If he or she has no idea about which points to use, nudge him in the direction of our page on Kidney Yin deficiency, where we’ve put some suggestions for Kidney Yin Deficiency points.)

  • For a longer-term change, see someone who practises 5 Element acupuncture who may be able to steady the way your metabolism works and help you towards a less-fraught way of life.


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 if you have empty yin.

Through Amazon you can buy the softback edition, and since 2017 it’s been available in a 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 also available 
A final thought! Yes, there’s also a syndrome called Excess Yin!
Jonathan Brand colours

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More pages to read if you’re Yin Deficient

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Your Questions!

Yin and yang

  • How do you know if you are a yin or yang? Yin and yang are aspects of the same thing. Everyone alive has both. But you can have too much of either, and too little of either. This page is about too little yin. To find out more about yin and yang, try reading our page on ‘what can yin and yang offer man‘. After that try ‘balancing yin and yang‘ or perhaps ‘yin and/or yang‘. Each approaches yin and yang from a slightly different angle.
  • Is yin or yang more powerful? At different times one or other will be more powerful. When you are resting or asleep, yin is more powerful. When you are yelling at your football team, yang is more powerful, also when you have a fever. When your body is chilled from being stuck immovable in snow, yin: read our page on External Cold and Heat. When trying to deal with being over-heated or caught in a heatwave, yang. If you’re always cold, try our page on how to warm up if you’re always cold!
  • Which is the good one yin or yang? Neither. Or both! When you are resting you need a surplus of yin; when active, you need more yang. To fight disease you need more yang, but that relies on their being adequate body resources, which are yin.


Caffeine and yin deficiency

  • How much is too much? That depends on your metabolism. For me, two cups together – once a week! For you? … Read the page on coffee to get some advice on this. Then check the remarks about yin deficiency above.
  • Why is it bad for you? It isn’t – in small quantities. If you take too much it over-stimulates you. See below, under ‘over-stimulation’.


Dryness and yin deficiency

  • What are the causes of this? Lots of reasons for it in Chinese medicine.
  • Yin deficiency, which this page is about, is not the first reason.
  • More likely is poor nutrition: not enough of the right fats in the diet, for instance, and possibly too many of the wrong foods in your system.
  • Also, eating too many dry foods that don’t have enough moisture in them – frequently a problem in ‘fast’ foods and junk food
  • Cold is a frequent cause in cold weather;
  • Poor lungs – your Lungs look after your skin in Chinese medicine:  cigarette smoking; atmospheric problems; chemicals in the environment or on the skin, and that includes some medications, either over the counter (OTC), or prescribed, often have a drying effect.
cracked brown soil - dryness us often a symptom of yin deficiency
Dry soil – Photo by Markus Spiske

What does dryness mean?

For example:

  • increased thirst,
  • mouth or throat dry
  • dry skin, sometimes thicker skin too
  • dry stools,
  • dark urine,
  • dry scalp
  • dry eyes
  • dry sexual areas
  • Deeper in your body it could mean arthritis (inflammation of your joints), caused by inadequate fluids leading to a lack of lubrication. This could come from poor nutrition, including eating too many heating foods – foods that over-heat and so dry your body. Also, as mentioned, you get dryness from eating foods without enough moisture in them, meaning your body has to supply the fluids to digest them, so reducing your overall fluid content, (thereby leading to deficient yin).


Incidentally, lack of good moisturising nutrition leads to Blood deficiency. With deficient Blood, you easily get Blood Stasis (https://www.acupuncture-points.org/blood-stasis.html) which can also lead to thicker, drier skin.

Yin deficiency and Fever

  • What temperature is a sign of a fever? It depends who you ask! But over 38.5C is probably accepted by most people as indicating fever.
  • Having a fever does not mean you are yin deficient. A fever in reaction to an acute infection, such as a cold, may be a sign of health: your body produces the fever to burn out the bug. Usually this works fast – you often see this in your child who produces a sudden, almost alarming, short fever then goes to sleep and recovers completely after just a few hours. Congratulations – you have a healthy child! (Please don’t always resort to anti-inflammatories like paracetemol or Calpol! There’s really often no need, and they work against your child’s metabolism by preventing it from producing the energetic fever it needs to clear the bug quickly. If you always prevent that fever, your child’s body will accumulate detritus, even a ‘remaining pathogenic factor‘, and go on to present you with low-grade symptoms and eventually lower vitality which nobody can explain. Its constant attempts to produce a fever are blocked which gradually diminishes its reserves, potentially leading to earlier development of – guess what – yin deficiency!)
  • Having a disease which gives you many fevers or a continuous very high fever, especially if with much overtiredness and perspiration, could lead on to your becoming yin deficient.


Fullness and Emptiness

  • What is empty Heat? Well … there’s also Empty Cold: we’ve got a page on them both – Empty Heat and Cold.



  • What is meditation used for? To steady your mind, to help you manage your body and your emotions, to lead to a calmer more stable life; less susceptible to life’s slings and arrows. Your mind, when directed, can help heal  your body. Eventually it may help you understand or plumb life’s meaning. We’ve got a page on an easy-to-learn method, used worldwide even by ‘advanced’ meditators and widely praised: meditation.



  • What is nutrition and why is it important? It’s what food provides for your body to function. You need the right foods for your particular needs, water, and knowledge of how to prepare, cook and eat them. You need oxygen from air which you inhale to assist the process of digestion, and time for your body to do it. If you choose the right foods – and eat them the right way – they’ll keep you healthy and help your body fight disease. In the West, science explains the necessary ingredients for health in terms of minerals, vitamins, protein, carbohydrate and fat. Two thousand and more years ago, people lacked modern scientific analysis machines so they used common sense and experience to work out what was good, or not. We can use their vast experience to keep us well. To get you started, read our page on nutrition!
Good nutrition for yin deficiency
Photo by ja ma
  • Which nutrition is good for health? First reduce foods that harm you. Then choose foods that help. Cook them properly and chew them well.



  • Does over-stimulation feel good? Usually, yes! For a while, depending on your constitution and metabolism, of course. You may think it’s the drug or excitement that is powering the feeling! It’s not – the energy comes from your body and the chemicals it produces. Once you’ve exhausted your body’s resources, you’ll feel worse. Then, if you’ve been over-stimulated too much or too often, you may get yin deficiency, the subject of this page. Make sure you read our page on the causes of yin deficiency!
  • What does over-stimulation feel like? Pleasant to start with then increasingly overwhelming, even terrifying, as you go to pieces. Take tickling! Most people enjoy being tickled a little – often a sign of familiarity and love. But if you are very susceptible to it, it quickly overloads you and you become desperate for it to stop. At some point it becomes stressful and, in a way, painful. Same with many caffeine-type drugs. They boost you for a while – and you may feel great at this stage – but with more and more of it, you become hyper, and your body shakes or trembles, you may become breathless, perhaps feverish, you become hysterical, cannot sleep. Eventually it destroys your ability to calm down. Not pleasant!


Yin deficiency Neurological symptoms

These aren’t listed as such in the literature, but one can surmise they might include symptoms or conditions like the following:

  • Various kinds of neuropathy, such as tingling, burning, numbing or twitching extremities are more likely to be due to either Blood deficiency or Blood stasis than Yin deficiency
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease – though this also has a high incidence of Blood deficiency rather than yin deficiency
  • Migraines if due to Liver or Kidney yin deficiencies. Read more under Migraine and Headache
  • Transverse myelitis
  • Motor neurone disease
  • NB Although head injury and stroke are considered neurological at least in part, they don’t mean you are yin deficient.



Russian Blue cat sleeping on whit textile
Good sleep is a prerequisite for recovering from yin deficiency. Photo by Alexander Possingham
  • How can I get good sleep at night? It may take practice and lifestyle changes. Read our page on sleep problems.
  • How much sleep do adults need? Everyone is different. Margaret Thatcher apparently did fine on four hours, but I would say that this was because of mental over-stimulation from the exercise of power. As you will have read above, over-stimulation is a cause of yin deficiency, and not long after she lost power she began to develop signs of yin deficiency. (Here’s another link to our page on the causes of yin deficiency.) At least, so it seemed to me from the pictures of her, and from the Meryl Streep film of her final days (“The Iron Lady”) and what I saw on TV. Also, age plays a big part in how much sleep you need. As a baby, apart from eating, most time is spent asleep. Adults need between 6 and 9 hours. Teenagers need more (mostly in school hours, I’m told! No, forget you read that here!) As you age, you may manage on less, but desire more. If you are training as an athlete, you need more, to repair your body. Really, it depends!



  • Can I reduce stress quickly? Well, you may or may not be able to reduce the stressor – whatever is causing the stress – but you can certainly learn ways to manage and reduce your body’s reaction to stress. Exercise is a great way, so is meditation. Exercise uses up excess bodily energy causing stress, and meditation helps you control your mind.
  • What are the common signs of stress? Almost any symptom can be a sign of stress. Have a look at our page on Strain and Chinese medicine.



  • How long does tinnitus last? Acute tinnitus, say from hearing a loud noise like an explosion, may last only a few days. When I was about 12 I spent a day learning to shoot clay-pigeons. We did it all morning and all afternoon. No ear protectors! I still have the remnants of tinnitus. But they are probably accentuated by increasing age. Read our page on tinnitus.


Tiredness, Fatigue and Exhaustion

    • Can these make you sick? Yes, definitely! Especially if they go on for too long or become chronic!
    • Can you get sick from overworking your body? Yes, although physical over-strain more commonly causes yang deficiency.
    • What can cause this? Mostly, this happens from over-doing it and not getting enough rest or sleep. But there are lots of other reasons, ranging from disease, accident, surgery and medication to emotional overload and work tension. It’s a big subject! Also read our page on Qi Stagnation, already mentioned above. Or try our page on Qi Deficiency – How to Overcome Tiredness.
    • When should you worry about tiredness? When you don’t recover from it within 48 hours – even with rest, or it gradually worsens over time. Tiredness often indicates your body isn’t repairing itself fast enough, so you become susceptible to disease.
    • Why do you feel so tired all the time? Are you getting enough rest? If, despite plenty of rest you remain tired, then your body isn’t repairing itself and you may need advice or treatment.


Yin deficiency vs Anaemia

woman in white dress sitting beside man in black suit


  • Yin deficiency and anemia are not always the same thing.
  • With yin deficiency there may sometimes be pinkness around the malar bones on the face, arising from yang energy rising, unconstrained by yin. With anaemia, there is usually pallor.
  • Anaemia suggests a syndrome called ‘Blood deficiency’ but isn’t exactly the same thing, because Blood deficiency is a rather bigger concept. To understand more, read our page on Blood.
  • However, as Blood deficiency is a form of yin deficiency, if your anemia is diagnosed as Blood deficiency, then yes, YOUR anemia IS a form of yin deficiency! Well Done!
  • But quite a few people are anaemic without being yin deficient.  They become anaemic for all sorts of reasons, ranging from poor nutrition and various diseases to vitamin B12 deficiency, any of which might or might not be part of yin deficiency.


Yin deficiency Balance

  • This is a nonsense. Yin and yang are always varying, with one or the other preponderant at any moment. 
  • For yin deficiency to be in balance you’d have to have yang deficiency too. Many people are deficient in both: they live lives at a lower level of energy and achievement. You couldn’t say they were healthy or in ‘balance’.


Yin deficiency weight gain

  • Weight gain with yin deficiency, while not impossible, is rarer than weight gain with yang deficiency. That’s because yang burns yin, so lacking yin you’ll have relatively more yang that will tend to make  you thinner.
  • But of course it’s possible and would probably occur with an overall deficiency of both yin and yang, but slightly more of yang than of yin deficiency.
  • (Too many yins and yangs? I sympathise – it can be confusing. I once heard a great Chinese teacher, Dr John Shen, say it took 10 years to train a Western doctor, then five minutes for him to write a prescription. Conversely, he said, it takes 5 minutes to explain yin and yang, the fundamentals of Chinese medicine, but 10 years to understand how to apply and use them properly.)

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8 Responses

  1. I have read so many content regarding the blogger lovers but this paragraph
    is genuinely a fastidious paragraph, keep it up.

    1. Thanks hgf – Yin deficiency is a big problem and growing bigger worldwide what with water shortages and global warming. For some of us during lockdown, it reflects perhaps a lack of resilience. We’ll have more on this anon. Best wishes Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott

  2. Dear Jonathan,
    Thank you for your website and for clearly explaining some difficulty concepts/theory. I would like to purchase your books but Amazon will not ship to Australia (& I’m not a fan of kindle or reading with a device). Is there a supplier in Australia you can direct me to?

    Best regards,

    1. Dear Natasha

      We have an arrangement with a company called Ingram, (also trading as Lightning Source) who supply many booksellers around the world. I am emailing you separately about this. Best wishes Jonathan

  3. Dear Jonathan,

    In your book “Yin Deficiency”, on page 97, you said a small meal before sleep may help Yin- and Blood-deficient people. Can you tell me the reason/mechanism explaining that? By the way, your book is very helpful. Thank you.

    1. Dear Don-hi

      With deficient Blood or Yin you are more likely to wake during the night, because Blood is the anchor or comfortable bed in which your Shen rests. If the bed is deficient, Shen cannot rest properly and wakes. A small meal (there are many kinds of such small meal: which is best for an individual depends on his upbringing, health knowledge and self-awareness) helps the body to maintain Blood quality through the night, helps the Shen to remain dormant.

      Such a small meal should not include very yang-type food! So, no foods that heat or stimulate (for more, see hot foods). For example, no garlic, no coffee, hot spices and curries. It should be easily digestible, and be well chewed before swallowing. Reduce carbohydrates that burn up too fast: this includes refined white bread. For some, warm milk may suit, for others some nuts. Or try almond butter on rye-bread or an oatmeal biscuit – just some ideas.

      Glad you like the book, and it’s been useful – thanks for letting me know!

  4. Dear sir, I appreciate this informative site and I plan to check out your book. I have been diagnosed with extreme Yin and Qi deficiency with damp heat, which has been tricky to treat. My last acupuncture treatment (with a new provider) prompted a very unpleasant feverish feeling for more than a week, and I am thinking this was the heat being aggravated. How would you approach an entrenched, long standing damp heat with longstanding severe Yin and Qi deficiency (that seems to be both constitutional and lifestyle induced)?

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