Using the acupuncture terms we need to look more closely at our energy of ‘YANG QI’.  It is what is behind our circulation (to understand why pain is a feature in our lives), digestion (to understand what to do to encourage a well and normal gut and hence life), metabolism (so as not to be run by low thyroid function and a life of difficulty), immune system (so we know how to protect ourselves without positioning with chemicals as vaccines and how to get well when we do fall ill) and our ability to be strong and happy in our lives.

We can be too focused on just the physical side of being a person – and we all know there is more to us than just our bodies. I am redressing the balance through speaking firstly of energy, as this is what we are all powered through.

The energy signature gives the instructions to the physical; so without knowing how this energy model works, we are flying blind in most endeavours by pretending it is not there because we cannot see it. This is as unhelpful – just as medieval peoples arguing that the earth was flat; that the sun revolved around this planet and that there were no microscopic organisms (hence no need to wash hands) as they were not visible to the naked eye; so they did not exist. We now know there is more to the world and reality than what we may be able to perceive personally. Here I am suggesting a new way of looking at life — so you can help yourself. This is an extensive section, as biomedicine is really no help at all when you are just a bit unwell, but still need to know how to rescue.

What does Yang do?

Allows normal, dynamic life processes to occur, independently of any interruption or interference from us as healers or as inhabitants of the body.

*This roughly corresponds to the Western concept of ‘metabolism’.

*Yang Qi allows us to transform food and fluids, digestion.

*Yang Qi circulates everything, circulation.

*Yang Qi keeps us warm, temperature control.

*Yang Qi keeps tissues, organs, blood / babies in place, structural

*And Yang Qi protects us from all aspects of harm, immune/protection.

How to enhance your Yang Qi

vEat regular, warm, nourishing moderate-sized meals eaten in harmonious, calm and unhurried environment.

vLive with an absence of extremes in any sphere of life.

vAvoid cold penetration, which directly wastes Yang Qi Exercise often and well as adequate movement ensures freely flowing circulation.

vSleep early in the night, awakening with the sun.

In a state of wellness

If we look after ourselves, everything is provided automatically. The seasons, the time of day/what we are feeling and doing with our energy is automatically adjusted — and the dynamic flows of energy should be happening without our being aware.

When there is too much load on the body, it starts to break down — giving us HELP!!! messages. Often we ignore these messages as they are either not loud (painful) enough to stop us, or we choose to just silence them with some form of painkiller — hence the making everything far worse by using ice. Heat is the body’s way of dealing with stray attackers (kill them by fire), except that we are now trying to stop the healing. It may not be ice directly — cold can come in other ways and yang is still expended unwisely.

This usually happens insidiously, so you do not notice very minute increments of cold and thus very small calibrations of the lessening of how much energy you have, and how unwell you feel. This all is usually blamed on other things that are happening in your busy life, and without the framework to make sense of the cold invasion; it just happens and is called ‘bad luck’.

YET — the catching colds/being cold and miserable all increase in the colder weather and it is just seen as a ‘bug’
thing that will blow over when the weather warms up.

Cause of disease

In Chinese medicine, we are seen to get ill/imbalanced when the dance between the inner and the outer has broken down.
We are designed to bend with conditions, so if we don’t have the resilience to do so — on any level — we become unwell.

The key contenders here (once the spirit is weakened, through unhappiness especially) are external climatic forces (either seasonal or microclimatic — as in what you are wearing or what you have exposed your body part to), and the inner climatic — emotions that are either unexpressed/unresolved/suppressed or are being wallowed in.

The free movement of all aspects of self needs to happen for wellness to continue.

To hasten illness – waste your Yang Qi

vHave immoderate/irregular life style, especially exposure to cold (external or internal) through consumed fluids and foods, especially when very hungry or exhausted.

vConsuming damp-producing foods/fluids, (often cold/chilled/raw and /or sweet) which slow the Spleen Yang Qi’s ability to transform and to assimilate the raw materials eaten into pure essence.

vAllowing damp energy to form, either through living and being in damp conditions, or by immoderate eating choices as above, which in turn obstruct the clear digestive process.

vBecoming slothful and lethargic (consequence of damp setting in), creating sluggishness.

vAllowing any blockage to lodge on any level, distorting the orderly essence transformation and circulation processes. To live well, thoroughly enjoying life, we need strong yin.

What also wastes Yang Qi?

Use of cold, overuse, exhaustion, and insufficient rest. Cold stops all circulation, interfering with a well
self-healing, self regulated body system. Cold that has entered from any source tends to lodge in tissues and remains, with the Yang Qi trying to neutralize it until we can provide the appropriate conditions for its permanent exit. The cold energy that is accumulated thus impairs the body’s normal functioning and
creates pockets for dis-ease to fester over time.

What next?

These cold ‘splinters’ can manifest as generalised or ‘arthritic’ aches and pains; menstrual cramping; lumps and
masses of any description and a generally sluggish metabolism, that is seen to be a part of ‘ageing’.

All through life, small doses of cold energy exposure (worse if tired or rundown when experienced) – whether it be from drinking cold milk, to cool the heartburn; the breeze slept under; the cool showers to cope with the summer heat, all add up, to create a residue of cold, trapped energy that interferes with the body’s innate wisdom, giving rise to ‘problems’ that were unknowingly self-created.

What happens when Yang qi is wasted?

Common life experiences, especially tiredness, weakness and degenerative and ‘ageing’ conditions can collapse the body’s ability to hold tissues and blood (and babies) in place (causing later prolapses, and internal hernias).

For women especially:

*Cause her holding energy to fail (creating stress or serious urinary and faecal incontinence, or/and
uterine over bleeding, both after the birth, and throughout the remainder of her menstrual life during periods and subsequent deliveries).

For everyone:

*Energy blockages lead to loss of sexual feeling/desire/ability to orgasm.

*Accelerate the ageing process, especially as digestion is flawed.

*Everything is harder as it is slower and less efficient.

When we become relatively depleted in Yang Qi

*We feel the cold easily.

*We ‘catch’ everything that is going around.

*We can’t digest/assimilate food well.

*We have fluid accumulations.

*We can’t get motivated, and we lose our oomph.

*We start to pack on weight and cellulite, and can’t lose it regardless of effort.

We become colder. It is as though our furnace has forgotten how to do the job. We have less energy, as more is used up trying to keep warm.

We are less nourished. We are less able to keep well nourished, as our ‘oven’ temperature is set too low. The kitchen oven can only cook at a useful temperature also. We reach for warm and often sweet things to try to warm up. Our digestive system creates damp, phlegm even, we become addicted to that which we are allergic to,
we start having hypoglycaemic attacks, and we need to keep topping ourselves up, or we get very irritable and we ‘lose the plot’. Candida happens and stays forever.

Common food and experiences may start to overload our bodies as we are less able to screen out that which may be potentially dangerous.

We dry out. We no longer circulate fluids as we should. Everything slows down.
Constipation and general fluid build up everywhere starts happening. Some call this ageing — it could also just be self neglect and exhaustion.

We lose interest in anything that needs energy expended, and sexuality is often the first thing to go, as it is not needed for our immediate survival.

The body starts hurting and feeling stiff. The circulation starts slowing; everything feels less nimble and more arthritic/elderly.

We start getting more flabby, flesh falls down and we put on weight very easily.

Does this sound like ageing? It is actually the body losing Yang Qi and the ability to hold tissues in place and is
recoverable as long as the life habits are radically altered.

When yang is diminished, life gets more tricky and harder to be involved in anything other than survival — as it all just takes too much out of you.

Many may have a very real sub-clinical (not picked up in medical tests) thyroid (metabolism) condition of under activity.
This shows up in a myriad of ways. I strongly suggest you order a great book — Thyroid Power — by
Richard and Karalee Shames. This will spell out just why it may be quite futile going to a GP or even a medical specialist endocrinologist for testing and assistance — and why you need to overturn what you are doing in your
life, as this is what has lead you to where you are not working at optimum. Health does not come from a pill.

The thyroid slowly going under par can be seen in the general lessening of who we are — often put down to ‘aging’.
Moods/depression, energy and allergy slumps, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and may show up as digestive, circulatory, immunological and reproductive problems.
Most of these are warning systems we just ignore.

Below is a state of being that many visit in dribs and drabs all their lives – and are considered well enough to not warrant assistance – in fact may be told it is normal . .

These are a guide only.
(You may experience one, some or all of these to varying degrees and in different combinations.)

  • No sparkle in eyes
  • Life-spark diminished, lethargic & listless
  • Puffy around & under eyes, esp in morning
  • Not thirsty and/or only want warm fluids
  • Food sensitivities & allergies, Candida, easy bloating & poor digestion in general
  • Loose stools
  • Undigested food in stools
  • Clear, copious urine, esp at night
  • Cold hands & feet, possibly numb
  • Possibly flabby/prolapses, may be thin due to digestion incompetence or bloated/fat as metabolism is compromised
  • Pale complexion


Yang Deficiency

Sounds like a hypoactive thyroid. Although if you have blood tests saying you are ‘within normal limits’ — you are like most people — unwell but not sick enough to medicate — supposedly rendering you ‘OK’.

Becoming yang depleted is a vicious cycle, as we need to be able to maintain ourselves in the face of change — temperature, food requirements. When we can’t, the digestive processes also suffer, and then there is less quality substances (blood etc) to keep us working well. We ‘age’ faster/eventually wear out/ become YIN DEPLETED. Along the way life gets harder and you just assume it is supposed to be this way.

Whilst it may appear obvious, it is important to ensure that we do not eat ice/ice cream/drink favourite fluids out of the fridge, as this is heaping more cold into the system. Changing habits has to happen — these are often the very things that have lead you to needing treatment in the first place.

Asking the question, what Yang does, also brings on board the functions ascribed to different organ groups within the body. When I speak of ‘Spleen’ I am NOT referring to the physical organ that has various physiological functions according to Western biomedicine. I am referring to the Chinese Medical ways, and hence whenever speaking of the acupuncture model, the organ is thus capitalised — Spleen. Were I speaking of the actual organ I would write it ‘spleen’. Hence — to see what the various organ systems do in this framework, briefly:

Kidney —Transforming and transporting (digestion and circulation) plus keeping all YANG in the body supported. When Kidney Yang is specifically depleted, sexual function and feeling, renal output and fluid metabolism, basic hormonal (metabolic, sexual and thyroid especially), slow up and may dwindle,
leading to early aging.

Common body experiences of depleted Kidney energy the overall ageing phenomenon:

·teeth ·hearing ·eyesight
·memory ·brain function
·hair colour ·hair quality ·hair growth
·bone density ·lower back and general back integrity ·sexual abilities
·sexual feeling ·sexual appetite
·general spark, zip and vigour may all dwindle; and its severity is dependent on the individual constitution and previous life history.

Kidney Qi losing its edge may also show as:

• up and down at night to pee, especially when first pregnant – this is a sign that the body is under stress and
not working as well as it is able to.

• needing to pee often in the daytime, and/or small quantities,

• leakage of body fluids, inadvertently.

This is easily remedied through lifestyle choices that are life giving, rather than comfortable. Enhancing life flow,
supporting the digestive and regenerative functions, and taking Chinese herbal tonics as part of a wellness programme, (that may include regular maintenance acupuncture sessions) will all reverse, or at least slow the gradual descent into decline that all expect of their bodies.

This is where acupuncture and Chinese medicine shines. It is easy to alter this symptom picture and completely change a person’s life. But if you attend a usual doctor/medical clinic, the picture is vastly different. In that model, there may be many specialists involved, but you may not be unwell enough for what they have on offer. Often all of these problems and body changes are put down to aging or to ‘family traits’, yet they are indicative of dwindling vitality.

When to think of Kidney Qi/Yang tonics/see an acupuncturist

In addition, common health issues that are simply Kidney Qi or Yang deficiency are:

  • ·Tiredness
  • ·Overwhelming exhaustion
  • ·Feeling drained, especially flagging in late afternoon
  • ·Weak back, especially at waist level
  • ·Weak or aching lower back. If very strongly deficient, the knees and legs may also feel unstable and weakened.
  • ·May have cold intolerance, and poor circulation, with cold hands and feet.
  • ·Lack of any interest whatever in sex. This may become such that there is no feeling at all, even with direct
    stimulation. Sensual numbness may set in, as the body shuts down non essential (for physical survival) drains on its most precious essence and Kidney Qi.

Often this is accompanied by such issues as chronic constipation and other gut problems (especially being overweight that nothing seems to shift).  Eventually the whole picture is complicated by Yin deficiency and hence the body working oddly – in response to no one taking notice at the warning signs – diabetes, and many other apparently degenerative conditions. Again, many more specialists are involved and all can be addressed through using a very different system of medicine.

It may be that you are trying to get pregnant in this state, and a complete overhaul of the Kidney energy is far
more vital than donor eggs or sperm. But your calendar age (‘old eggs’) is a gross representation of what biomedicine has no concept of — inner vitality.  You can alter this massively by paying attention to what has been a system of medicine for millennia in China, and all through Asia. The nearest you may find in orthodox
medicine is a thyroid condition if you are sick enough for the blood test results to decree assistance. Please consult Thyroid Power.

Often other systems are also affected — the Kidney Yang is the source of all Yang in the body. The Spleen Yang
is that which allows us to also be here, living well in our body — through the digestive and circulatory and structural/vascular integrity functions.

Spleen/Pancreas — everything digestive, and holding things (especially blood) in place

Body experiences of depleted Spleen Qi/Yang are

  • Lethargy, listlessness
  • Can’t be bothered moving (body feels too heavy)
  • Foggy, slow thinking
  • Obsessional thoughts/tunes in head
  • Unexplained increase in weight, diet & exercise aside
  • Digestive weakness, showing up as allergies, Candida
  • Desiring sweet taste, especially between/after meals
  • Bloating
  • Gurgling and gases in gut
  • Nausea
  • Undigested food in stools
  • Diarrhoea
  • Swellings and growths
  • Bleeding, resultant exhaustion
  • Varicose veins
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Tissues and organs sagging
  • Prolapses

In addition to all the common body symptoms, dampness may show:

  • increased weight gain
  • fluid retention
  • lots of mucous/saliva
  • Candida/thrush infections
  • increased vaginal/general body discharges
  • muddled thinking, into ‘losing the plot’/mania /madness


The body may not have all of these happening at once — our individual make up has us prone to different energy configurations at different seasons and in differing climates.

What we choose to put in our mouths massively affects the state of our Spleen Qi, thus our ability to really nourish all aspects of our being.

Poor appetite. If you are not really interested in food, or feel vaguely (or frankly) nauseated by even having to think about it, the Spleen Yang/Qi needs help. Without a healthy interest in food, the blood energy cannot flourish, and the body will be compromised.

Loose stools/apparent diarrhoea. This may seem normal, but unformed stool is a sign that the Spleen Qi is not doing its job of transforming well. Assimilation may thus be lessened.

Fatigue, especially after eating. The weakened Spleen Qi may be only capable of doing one thing well. Putting the brakes on external activity at least ensures that food is still processed. Maybe also becoming vague and memory failing — this is often used as an excuse during pregnancy and breast feeding, but is actually a sign that there is too much load on the Spleen Qi, and ‘non essential’ (to survival) roles are discarded /lowly prioritized.

Wanting to finish a meal with something sweet – a sure sign the Spleen energy is struggling. You don’t NEED it when you crave it.

Abdominal distention, gurgling, possibly discomfort and dull pain, especially after eating, as transportation and transformation (digestion), may show signs of Spleen Qi deterioration, which may be a prelude to the conditions above, later in life.

Further afield, weak Spleen Qi/Yang is responsible for prolapses, incontinence, varicosities and haemorrhaging.

Rescuing the digestive functions is imperative as nothing can function without the nourishment that the ‘food factory’ affords us.

There are other organ systems that also rely on Yang Qi, although this is beyond the scope of this article, except to add briefly —

Heart Yang — Enjoyment of life and physiologically cardiac oedema and weakening of the cardiac vitality.

Lung Yang — keeping you well despite climatic/seasonal and even air conditioning changes. If you find yourself sneezing/with a runny nose/asthma or instant sinus in cold air — this is you.

A small note about young children

Failure to thrive/always ill

When children are really young and not strong, it is far more sensible to find a Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist and work with them to strengthen what should be vital and vigorous than inject the youngster with chemicals supposedly to enhance its immune system. When patently, the entire body is struggling, the tonics and other medicines and techniques available in the acupuncture framework include changing diet and lifestyle — all of which assist the body to repair itself.

At least stop giving them cold or cool fluids and foods, and definitely nothing with a sweet taste, as this depletes the Spleen energy. Mucous production, continual illness and ‘catching things’ and general debility are all correctable through changing diet and lifestyle.

Having them sleep in winter with a heater that takes the edge off the cold air as often all you need to do to stop the incessant cough that just doesn’t go away.  Stopping all exposure to cold is what mothers have always done- the loss of inner vitality whilst the body fights off the cold invasion on the inside is what weakens the immune system to allow it to NOT catch the bugs that then cause illness.  Having cold still happening them slows the healing down. It is easy –  plenty of warmth and heat and NO COLD.  Especially no ice packs when a sore throat or any part of the body.

If you want your metabolism to work well – your digestion, your immune system, or to heal well and become vital again – don’t use cold, don’t inhale cold air, don’t eat or drink anything cold.

Heat brings life and activity and the body is well able to heal itself – if you stop getting in the way of natural and wellness will follow.