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Patterns of Disharmony

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

According to Chinese medicine, dis-ease manifests in the body due to patterns of disharmony. The manifestation of signs and symptoms indicates the nature of the imbalance, which typically fall under one of the following four categories: excess conditions, deficiency conditions, stagnation, or a combination of these.

Rivers can run dry, overflow, or be obstructed.

1. Excess patterns include excess heat or fire, cold obstruction, dampness and phlegm. Most commonly these conditions are the result of improper diet or exposure to toxic or extreme substances and environments.

2. Deficiency patterns include deficient yin (false heat), yang (false cold), qi, blood or fluids. Often, the source of deficiency conditions is a lack of nutrition, rest, hydration, etc. although deficiencies can also be due to the over-expenditure of energy, or an acute loss of blood or fluids.

3. Stagnation or disruption in the flow of vital resources (qi, blood or fluids) can cause numbness, distention/bloating, accumulations and growths like cysts, fibroids and tumors. Stagnation can cause OR be caused by an excess or a deficiency condition.

4. Mixed conditions involve the combination of at least two of the above. Deficient conditions can make the body more vulnerable to invasion by external influences or pathogens, leading to a comorbid excess. Excess conditions can lead to the consumption of vital resources, leading to a comorbid deficiency.

Any of these conditions can cause pain--the nature of the pain will indicate the pattern of disharmony. Acupuncture, herbs, gua sha and cupping can be excellent treatment strategies for these conditions. Appropriate treatment should be determined by a licensed professional.

For more information about the diagnostic techniques used by acupuncturists and herbalists, I invite you to read about pulse, tongue and palpation.

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