How Do I Choose the Best Yin Deficiency Treatment?

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  • Written By: Canaan Downs
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 27 February 2020
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In choosing a treatment for yin deficiency, it is important to obtain a diagnosis of both the severity and the type of deficiency. Mild cases may be most appropriately treated by diet and lifestyle modification, perhaps accompanied by the administration of yin-building herbal tonics. Cases of greater severity may benefit from more invasive treatments such as acupuncture. Despite their growing popularity in the West, cupping and moxibustion should under no circumstances be incorporated into a treatment regimen for deficiency of yin, as they are believed to have the potential to exacerbate the condition. Acupressure, tui na massage, and qigong exercises, however, are generally considered by traditional Chinese medical practitioners to be safe complementary therapies.


Yin deficiencies are typically understood to affect a particular energetic or symbolic organ system within the body. The most common patterns of yin deficiency are kidney yin deficiency with an excess of heat, kidney and heart yin deficiency, or heart and liver yin deficiency. The herbs most commonly used in the treatment of deficient kidney yin are shu di huang, shan yao and shan zhu yu, generally prescribed together in the medicinal formula Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, also considered to be a specific for elevated thyroid activity. The heart yin tonifying formula Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan is often combined with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan to build heart yin, while Zhi Zi Qing Gan Tang may be used with Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan to treat a deficiency in both heart and liver yin.

The pattern of yin deficiency, for instance, contains within it the diagnosis and treatment of diseases as diverse as hyperthyroidism, rotator cuff injury, hot flashes, and irritable bowel syndrome. Since yin is considered to be the cosmic force that represents the coolness and moisture within the body, diseases that fall within the rubric of deficient yin are usually characterized by heat, inflammation or dryness. Within the yin deficiency illness pattern are a number of diagnostic subcategories, which inform the best course of treatment.

In traditional Chinese medicine, disease is understood in a manner almost entirely different than it is in contemporary Western or allopathic medicine. Where disease in contemporary Western medicine is usually due to causes such as an invasion by pathogenic microbes, a genetic defect, or a mechanical failure in a bodily system, traditional Chinese medicine places the diseased condition of the body within an entirely different cosmological system. Disease is produced by an imbalance in a number of different, animating cosmic forces like "yin" and "yang" that move through and act upon the body. An imbalance in either of these diametrically opposed primordial forces is understood to produce a broad range of symptoms known as an illness pattern.

The diagnostic techniques employed in traditional Chinese medical practitioners are said to take years to learn and even more to perfect. Consequently, self-diagnosis by non-specialists is considered to be all but impossible. It is essential that you obtain a diagnosis from a qualified traditional Chinese medical practitioner in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis, so that you may treat the yin deficiency appropriately.


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