Social Phobia: Yang Deficiency or Yang
I feel that I am experiencing social phobia symptoms (red
face, racing heart, sweating) and don't want to take a prescription
drug with a bunch of bad side effects that will only mask these
symptoms. I'm very interested in Chinese medicine but feel that
I may be the person it has no effect on. I'd like some more information
on overcoming anxiety and social phobia so I may live again. I'm
probably yang deficient but no one would expect me to say that
nor would they think I'd even be the one asking for info about
Thanks for your time, hope to hear from you soon
Ryan, did you read our social phobia
Are you looking for more detailed lifestyle-type solutions? Are
you suspicious that Chinese Medicine won't work for you because you've tried
Chinese Medicine before, or are you just afraid of the disappointment? What
makes you say you think you are yang deficient? Help me target
my response to you with answers to these questions.
All the best, B
Hi Brian, thanks for your response.
I don't exactly know why I feel I'm yang deficient, I know
very little about chinese medicine. But from my extensive readings
on the internet about the symptoms I've been experiencing (red
face, racing heart, constant heat, sometimes with uncontrollable
sweating, nervousness--social phobia). I feel I'm exerting many
of what I understand to be yang deficiency symptoms.
I'm not really shy but feel I'm really under a lot of pressure
especially when around strangers or making a first impression.
I'm hoping to overcome this without Western meds. that have too
many terrible side effects. As far as lifestyle changes, I've
been doing practically the same things I've always done, but now
everything is just much harder in general, and the social phobia
of whatever kind may be to blame. If you have any recommendations
about changing this naturally, I'm all ears.
I've never tried a chinese medicine before, I just am skeptical
about the true intentions of a lot of on-line doctors/therapists
that are quick to perscribe something for someone they do not
know or really care about.
Not to sound like a Mr. Know-it-all, but I'm a graduating
with a Marketing minor soon and know a lot about advertising and
marketing schemes. This being a problem many Americans face makes
it all the more enticing for someone attempting make a quick buck
from desperate people. But I do not feel this way about your organization
and as I said, I know very little about Chinese medicine. I'd
like to find something that works for me and hope you'll talk
with me some more.
Thank you very very much for your time and understanding
Ryan, thanks for your clarification, and your feedback.
I keep hearing about online doctors... I haven't looked into
this, so I can't speak to that. But yes, the internet and my email
inbox are full of marketing messages.
The Pulse's major goal is to raise public awareness about Chinese
Medicine. We take part in a few affiliate programs (Amazon.com,
The Diet Forum) but these are peripheral, and do not influence
our writings. We are committed to the highest ethical standards-
which I have discussed in this article. (10 guidelines article)
Yin and Yang Deficiency
So, let's talk about yin and yang deficiency. Yin is passive
and cool. Yang is active and hot. Thus, a yin deficiency is a
lack of coolness and passivity which leads to "hot"
symptoms... feelings of heat, restlessness, etc. Yang deficiency
is a lack of heat and activity, so it appear "cold"...
feelings of cold, diminished function, tiredness, etc.
However, diagnosis is not so simple. Yin or yang symptoms can
be due to deficiency or excess. The ones above are just the deficiency
kind. A yang excess would be hot and overactive. A yin excess
would be cold and sluggish.
Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine
I'm going to run you through a hypothetical Chinese Medicine
diagnosis- just for your information- you should find a Chinese Medicine physician
in your area and consult them for treatment. I don't know all
the facts of your case, so I can't substitute for a one-on-one
consultation. To find a Chinese Medicine physician, go to this
Your symptoms are "red face, racing heart, constant heat,
sometimes with uncontrollable sweating, nervousness--social phobia"
The red face, racing heart, constant heat, and uncontrollable
sweating are all heat symptoms. So are they yin deficiency, or
yang excess? In yin deficiency, sweating is usually at night and
correlates with a feeling of heat in the palms and feet. In yin
deficiency, usually only the cheeks are red... whereas in yang
excess the whole face is red. In yin deficiency, feelings of heat
are in the afternoon or evening.
It appears to me you more likely have a yang excess.
The 8 Principles of Chinese Medicine
Up to now, we've only talked about 6 of the 8 principles. The
8 principles are a general categorizing system for diagnosis...
One Chinese physician proposed adding downward/ upward direction
to this, for a total of 10 principles.
So for you - so far - we have: yang, hot and excess.
Is the Disease Internal or External?
Causes of external heat are usually viruses, flu's etc. And external
diseases are usually recent, not chronic. Nor do they often have
severe emotional effects... unless they've been around for a while
and caused other internal problems. Usually emotional issues are
due to internal causes. Sources of emotional trauma may be external,
but the disease processes are still considered to be internal.
I'm going to assume your disease is internal, but if your symptoms
are only a recent development, then an external pathogen is a
Zang Fu Syndromes of Social Phobia
Now, if we take our 8 principle diagnosis of internal, hot,
excess, and yang over to the article on Social Phobia...
in particular the
section on Zang Fu syndromes (opens another window for reference)
We see 5 Zang Fu syndromes listed. The first two are deficiency.
The last three are excess. So, we can further differentiate by
seeing which symptoms of your fit those syndromes. Here is where
Tongue and Pulse diagnosis become key, and where a one-on-one
with a Chinese Medicine practitioner is indispensable. Also, I
don't have enough information from you to make this further differentiation.
Just for your information, the 5 Social Phobia Zang Fu patterns
in terms of the 8 principles are:
- Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency = internal, hot, yang, deficient
- Spleen and Heart Qi and Blood Deficiency = internal, no temp,
- Heart Fire or Excess Heart Yang = internal, hot, yang, deficient
- Phlegm Fire Disturbing the Heart = internal, hot, yang, excess
- Liver Heat and Blood Deficiency = internal, hot, yang, deficient
Diagnosis by Zang Fu vs. Diagnosis by Type
Now, these 5 Zang Fu syndromes are not the end-all-be-all...
this is what is called "diagnosis by type." It is not
exactly the same as "pattern differentiation." It's
a process by which we start with a disease (in this case Anxiety),
and look at what Chinese Medical scholars believe to be the differential
diagnosis. This style of diagnosis is fairly new... so it is in
development. But it's a good place to start.
Once we have a type, we can take the representative herbal formula
and modify it more specifically to you. This part is based on
pattern differentiation and a knowledge of the actions of various
chinese herbs. There are hundreds of herbs to choose from. We
can fine-tune your formula over a few visits to eliminate side
effects. For more about how herbal medicine can be effective without
side effects, read the article, "Healing
Without Side Effects?"
One on One Help
Probably the best thing for anxiety would be to see a Chinese Medicine physician
who can get you the right herbal formula, and give you acupuncture
to regulate your nervous system.
Other Helpful Therapies for Social Phobia
Along with this, it would be good to see a counselor who can
guide you through some self-reflection about your social phobia...
especially if it's been a recurrent part of your history.
It may take all three of those things- and in addition to the
counseling, prayer and meditation can be powerfully transformative.
It's not easy to confront deeply held fears, and mistaken ideas
about ourselves and the world, but it's well worth it. You can't
really run from them- not in any constructive way. They'll just
hang around and wait for you to deal with them... and you won't
be happy until you do.
In fact, wasn't it Eleanor Roosevelt who said that the best way
to destroy fear is to do the thing you are most afraid of? Try
toastmasters - most people are more afraid of public speaking
than death! Toastmasters is a support and learning group for public
speaking, and the first lesson is how to use the fear to your
BEST WISHES in your healing... and if I can help further, please
let me know.
All the best,
Find a licensed acupuncturist here: "Resources
for Finding Acupuncturists and Herbalists"
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