resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
The CDC came out with a report in March 2013 that suggests 1 in 50 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum – significantly higher than the 1 in 86 figure that came out in 2007. What does this mean moving forward, particularly for children?
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
Leaving Footprints on Capitol Hill: Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Luedtke (1930-2014)
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Luedtke.
Connecting the Dots
In 2002, I published a book on patient examination procedures that included information on the procedural coding of the recommended examinations. The book should have been published in 2000, but I had trouble finding a publisher. Why?
Help Your Parents Stay Engaged
As much as parents may wish it were so, children do not come with an instruction manual. There's no "how to" that can be followed and no two children are alike, so what works with one generally won't work with the next.
Mind-Body in Motion
A central goal of low back pain treatment involves the correction of dysfunctional movement patterns believed to be responsible for spinal overload.
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic health.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
Unlevel Pelvis in the High-School Athlete: Exploring Causes and Effects
The unlevel pelvis is all too common in the high-school athlete and if not detected, will likely cause a lifetime of musculoskeletal issues. Any provider who doesn't look for this common finding is missing critical information.
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
Let's Speak With One Voice in 2015
For the longest time, the chiropractic profession has attempted to achieve some form of unity. On a political level, this was characterized by an ultimately unsuccessful two-year merger effort between ACA and ICA leadership from 1986-1988.
It's Time to Create a Strong Acupuncture Footprint
Footprints in the sand. Footprints in the snow. Where do these footprints go? Some are big, some are small, but footprints are made by all.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
September, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 09
Yin and Yang Deficiency, Part I
By Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc
It is often said that all of Chinese medicine can be reduced to the fundamental theory of yin and yang. If you practice Asian bodywork therapy, the ability to understand, interpret and apply the concept of yin and yang are essential to one's practice.All anatomy, physiology, pathology and treatment principles boil down to yin and yang. The beauty of yin and yang is that something so simple can be all-encompassing and profound when examined more deeply.
You may remember a past article that presented the basic principles of yin and yang. (Editor's note: See "Got Yin/Yang" in the Dec. 2001 issue, or online at www.massagetoday.com/archives/2001/12/08.html.) Just about every other article I have written has mentioned yin and yang as well, including "Korean Four Constitutional Types, Part I and II" (March/April 2002), in which I discussed taiyang/greater yang and yaiyin/greater yin type of people. That two-part article gave an idea of what someone with an excess of yang or yin might look like from a Korean point of view, but I haven't really discussed in depth how yang or yin deficiency manifests.
It is interesting to see that as people age, they naturally start to get low in their gender-related yin or yang energy. For example, as women age and their yin begins to decline, they go though menopause. They may experience hot flashes, night sweats and frequent waking, which are all symptoms of yin deficiency. Their character also tends to become less yin. Some women grow less meek -- going out, doing more and standing up for themselves. If they become pathologically yin-deficient, they may become agitated, demanding and shrill. This is all relative, I suppose, based on your perspective or proximity to the person (e.g., "Your mother's driving me crazy!" Dad may say).
The opposite happens with men -- their yang decreases and they mellow with age, becoming more yin: easygoing, less confrontational and less combative. It's a good thing this happens to men, because their partners may be going in the other direction! This certainly isn't to the point of being pathologically yang deficient; on the contrary, both men and women may feel more centered, balanced and comfortable with themselves and others as they develop more gender-neutral dispositions.
If yang deficiency develops, men may become sexually impotent, thus the multi-million dollar market for Viagra. Getting up at night to go to the bathroom, cold extremities and lower back pain all point to a possible yang deficiency as well. A man's character may become too mellow, to the point of losing his confidence, becoming listless and apathetic. If he tries to "treat" his boredom with a younger woman, how ironic it would be if he couldn't "perform." It would be safer to get a sports car to prove his masculinity, but better still, he could start Asian bodywork treatments!
Please understand that this is a generalization. We can by no means put everyone in these categories. For one thing, men are not all yang, and women are not all yin. There is a balance of yin and yang within both genders in different proportions. But there is a tendency that you may have noticed for men and women to switch polarities slightly as they age.
This depends on how strong they are constitutionally, and how much they take care of themselves over their lifetime. Stress, drugs, overwork, environment and poor diet can contribute to depletion of yin or yang. This doesn't only pertain to growing older; anyone can become yin or yang deficient at anytime. In future articles, I'll address other causes, along with symptoms and treatment.
The symptoms of yin deficiency are mostly -related, but of small magnitude. This is called because the heat is not caused not by excess yang, but insufficient yin. So if you look at the first drawing below, you will see that it is only because there is less yin that the symptoms appear yang. An excess heat condition will give you symptoms showing the heat is predominant, whereas the heat caused by yin deficiency will be fairly mild in comparison.
Notice in both figures that the horizontal line signifies "normal balance." In the case of yin deficiency, the yang is not excess, meaning, above normal. Instead, there is only more yang, because there is relatively less yin.
The second drawing shows a true full-heat condition -- yang consuming yin.
In this instance, you see symptoms such as a rapid pulse, which signifies heat, but it's also thin or empty, which indicates yin deficiency. If it were rapid and full, it would indicate excess heat. With an excess heat condition, the tongue is deep-red, but with yin deficiency, it's red or even light-red. You will also notice that due to the depleted yin, there will be patchy areas or no coating. A full heat will cause the face to be all red, but with yin deficiency, only the cheeks will be red (called "malar flush" in Chinese-English). A full heat will cause someone to be hot all of the time all over his or her body. On the other hand, yin deficiency will cause mild heat, mainly in the afternoon or evening, night sweats and/or warm hands, feet and chest (called Five-Centers Heat).
Yin-deficient people find that they are thirsty but they don't really feel like drinking a lot, or they take small sips. They want to drink mostly in the afternoon or at night. Those with full heat want cold drinks and have a dry mouth all of the time. Both will have scanty dark urine and suffer from constipation (from being dried up), but those with full heat may have pain as well.
Emotionally, heat causes restlessness, but yin-deficient people experience vague anxiety and are not really able to pinpoint why in particular they feel edgy. They could even be defensive. A person with an excess heat condition is much more obviously agitated, and sometimes arrogant. Any heat will cause difficulty falling and staying asleep, but yin deficiency heat keeps people waking frequently during the night or early morning, whereas with a full heat, their sleep is extremely restless and dream disturbed.
All of these are general yin deficiency signs and symptoms. A person doesn't have to have all of them to be considered yin deficient. Become familiar with them in contrast to an excess heat and then look more deeply to figure out which organ is involved and what the etiology could be.
Yin Deficiency/ Empty Heat Excess Heat/ Full Heat Principle Signs and Symptoms Afternoon, mild fever High fever Night sweating Feeling of heat all day Five Centers Heat Hot all over Scanty, dark urine Scanty dark urine Dry stools, no pain Constipation, pain Thirsty with no desire to drink, or just small sips Thirst for cold beverages Dry mouth and throat at night Constant dry mouth & throat Mentally restless but tired, vague anxiety, fidgety Extreme restlessness, agitation or manic behavior Defensive Offensive or arrogant Waking frequently at night Dream-disturbed and very restless sleep Red line inside eyelid Red eyes Mild red, painless spots Red skin eruptions, burning pain Overextended Driven Complexion Red cheeks/ Malar flush Whole face ted Tongue Red with little coating, or peeled Red with yellow coating Pulse Rapid, thready, empty, floating Rapid, full Treatment method Nourish yin Clear heat
There are five common types of yin deficiencies, and three types of excess heat/fire. You will find others described in texts. In part 2 of this article, I will discuss what I see most frequently in my practice. The beauty of making yourself familiar with the general symptoms for a large category like yin deficiency is that all you then need to memorize are a few key symptoms for each organ/meridian, instead of a long list for each different pathology. In the next issue, I will be able to discuss many syndromes in fewer words, because now you know the basics!
This series of articles is only the tip of the iceberg. For a list of schools that offer in-adepth programs in Asian bodywork therapy, go to www.aobta.org. For information on the national ABT exam, go to www.nccaom.org.
Click here for previous articles by Barbra Esher, AOBTA CI. Dipl. ABT & Ac. (NCCAOM), LAc.
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