People with yin deficiency lack enough body fluid to achieve optimal health. They often feel irritable and angry and work too hard. Yin deficiency manifests as excessive inner heat, similar to a hot constitution. Unlike a hot constitution, however, yin deficiency results from an over consumption of yin body fluids.
As an example, think of your car. When you run low on coolant, the engine overheats, and the car cannot run. If your oil is dirty or depleted, the gears, axles, and other parts no longer function. The same is true with your body. If your fluids run low, which can happen for various reasons, your body overheats.
According to Chinese medicine, yin energy creates and regulates all of the fluids in your body. If you have yin deficiency, you have fluid deficiency. So, just like your car has problems from no fluids, your body will too.
Yin deficiency is often marked by an overly warm sensation in the chest and palms, despite not having a fever. A few other examples of physical markers include frequent night sweating, emaciation, poorly functioning sense organs. Take for example ringing in the ears, dry eyes, and a hoarse voice from a dry throat.
What causes a yin deficiency constitution?
Firstly, yin deficiency is largely determined by prenatal and biological factors. For example, your mother might have had a yin blood deficiency while pregnant with you.
Much like the concept of genetics in western medicine, according to TCM, at conception your parents set your foundational energetic nature. Wang Chong, a Chinese medicine practitioner in the 1st century CE writes that:
Strength and long life, weakness and short life are connected with the copiousness and scarcity of the receive qi…When the qi is copious, the body becomes strong, and the body being strong, life lasts long. On the other hand, when the vital force is scanty, the body is weak, and with a weak body, life is short…A short life is accompanied by much sickness.
On top of this, other factors can lead to this body type. For instance, long-term malaise or depression, menopause, mental stress, overwork, too much sexual activity, lack of sleep, chronic heart disease, or eating too many spicy and fatty foods too often can also cause yin deficiency. Moreover, chronic illness with symptoms such as sustained fever, sweating, or chronic bleeding can cause yin deficiency.
All of these factors can cause the body to consume body fluids. They can also make it hard for the body to produce sufficient fluids in the first place.
You can feel better
Regardless of the source of your yin deficiency, you have the ability to bring your body closer to a yin and yang harmonious state. That means a state of ideal health that will leave you feeling energized, optimistic, and enlivened.
Here are some general patterns associated with a yin deficiency body constitution. You may have overcome some of these tendencies with lifestyle choices you make. Well done! Read on to learn how to improve your health further.
Common physical symptoms of yin deficiency constitution
- Tidal fever
- Night sweats
- Feverish sensation in palms of the hands and soles of the feet
- Facial flush in the afternoon
- Dry mouth and throat
- Preference for cold drinks
- Dry stools
- Dry skin
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Lower back pain
- Dry nose and eyes
- Dark urine
- Dislike spring and summer heat
- Small, dry, and red tongue with little or no coating
- Thin and rapid pulse
Common physical characteristics
- Body shape tends to be slim
Common emotional characteristics
People with yin deficiency constitution often
- Feel irritated
- Have a short temper
- Act impatient
- Are lively and outgoing
- Prefer to being doing something and moving
Greatest points of susceptibility for yin deficiency constitution
- Tolerance for winter but not summer
- Susceptible to external heat and dryness
Greatest health risks
- Kidney disease
- Menopausal syndrome
- Bronchial asthma
How to off-set your yin deficiency constitution through diet
People with yin deficiency should eat slightly sweet and cool foods to moisten and nourish yin. They should also limit spices and eat bland foods.
Eating on a fixed schedule to strengthen digestion is essential to provide help build yin energy and fluids. Following the Chinese medicine body clock, you should eat a large breakfast between 7:00-9:00 AM, an even larger lunch between 11:00 AM-1:00 PM, and a light dinner between 5:00-7:00 PM.
Additionally, if you have a yin deficiency constitution, you should not snack between meals. Snacking directs energy to digestion and takes energy away from creating fluids. Eat enough at the three meals to feel full until the next meal.
Even though you most likely maintain a slim body easily, you need to avoid eating fatty, fried, roasted, and greasy foods that cause more deficiency. Lightly steamed and sauteed foods are best.
Foods to add
People with a yin deficiency constitution should add slightly sweet and cooling foods. These foods are great choices.
mushrooms - white
mushrooms - black
red beans, also called azuki or adzuki beans
Daikon radishes are sweet and cooling in nature. Great to treat yin deficiency.
Foods and beverages to avoid
If you have a yin deficiency constitution, you want to avoid items that warming, hot, and pungent in nature, especially during spring and summer.
People with yin deficiency should not eat spicy or fatty foods.
How to strengthen your yin energy with lifestyle changes
Replenish yin in autumn and winter
In the autumn and winter, the cooler yin seasons, you should do less and allow yourself to relax more. These seasons are the time to replenish yin. If you work too hard during these seasons, your condition can worsen and lead to serious disease.
Keep to daily schedule to heal your yin deficiency
In addition to calming during the yin seasons, you can calm your energy each day. With yin deficiency, your body is over worked and depleted. You can replenish your fluids by setting up a daily schedule that keeps you organized. Also, you need to make sure your schedule allows for rest. Overwork leads to yin deficiency and can make your conditions worse. On top of this, it is important to avoid sexual, mental, and physical overstrain which can also further deplete yin fluids.
In addition, your schedule should allow you to get up early, so you can create time for an afternoon nap. Also, going to sleep before 11:00 PM will do more to heal your body than almost anything. Soothing bedtime rituals, such as hair combing shown in the video below, will calm your mind and help you prepare for sleep.
Combing your hair for better sleep
Yin deficiency often causes insomnia. Not sleep well can further deplete your yin fluids. This relaxing bedtime combing ritual can help you sleep better.
Improve your mood
People with yin deficiency usually feel irritated and easily get angry, which further consumes yin. This irritation leading to consumption of yin becomes a bad cycle that is hard to stop. Calming the mind and improving your mood can help dramatically.
Keep calm in different situations, letting go of negative emotions, and stopping yourself from getting angry will improve your emotional and physical health.
Listen to gentle, relaxing music, enjoy nature, or go sightseeing to occupy your mind. Qigong can help dramatically. For example you could do the Yin Energy 8 Pieces of Brocade qigong flow.
How to exercise for your yin deficiency constitution
To balance out your yin deficiency, do not exercise outside in hot weather and always avoid sweating. Sweating depletes your yin fluids even further. So, the best type of exercise for you consists of small to medium-intensity workouts done intermittently throughout the day. For instance, Radiant Shenti has created two free video series to help your exercise build instead of deplete yin. Checkout the Quick Qigong Exercises and 28-Day Health and Happiness Reboot playlists.
Furthermore, these exercises calm your mind and reduce feelings of irritation so common for people with yin deficiency. You will learn a new way to think about exercise, as well as physical and emotional health.
Quick qigong exercises
Enjoy this sample of a quick, qigong exercise to pump your qi.
Yin Energy Eight Pieces of Brocade
This qigong flow moves all of your yin organs to help overcome your yin deficiency. It will also focus and calm your mind.
How acupressure massage and moxibustion can help
A great Chinese medicine treatment is acupressure massage. It is a powerful tool for people struggling with yin deficiency. When you massage the acupressure points listed below, you stimulate meridian points that can help replenish your yin fluids and calm your mind.
Massage the following points 1-3 minutes at least 3 times a week to nourish yin and clear deficient heat. Open the flow of qi will help you sleep and feel better.
Acupressure points for yin deficiency
Pericaridium 6, PC 6, Neiguan point
Heart 7, HT 7, Shenmen
Stomach 36, ST 36, Zusanli point
Spleen 6, SP 6, Sanyinjiao
Kidney 1, KI 1, Yongquan