Differentiation of Syndromes According to Qi, Blood, Fluids

Differentiation of Syndromes According to Qi, Blood, Fluids

Qi Patterns

Blood Patterns

Jin Ye (Fluid) Patterns

Combined Patterns

Qi Patterns

1. Deficient Qi

Deficient Qi indicates that there is not enough Qi to perform a required function in the body. Each organ can have a deficiency and the signs and symptoms will vary with each. The Lungs and the Spleen are easily and often affected in Qi Deficiency because of their important role in Qi production, but any organ can be affected.


  • Mal-Nourishment
  • Illness
  • Old Age
  • Weak Constitution

Some Examples...

Lung Qi Deficiency Symptoms

  • Breathlessness
  • Weak Voice
  • Spontaneous Sweating

Spleen Qi Deficiency Symptoms

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Loose Stools
  • Fatigue
  • Normal or Pale and Swollen Tongue

Heart Qi Deficiency Symptoms

  • Palpitations

Kidney Qi Deficiency Symptoms

  • Frequent Urination
  • Possible Lower Back Pain and Weak Knees
  • Possible Poor Memory

2. Sinking Qi or Collapse

This is where the Spleen Qi can no longer hold substances or certain internal organs in place. This is usually seen as prolapse of the rectum and prolapse of the Uterus. Sinking Qi usually results from Spleen Qi Deficiency, and is more severe.


  • Spleen Qi Deficiency

Common Symptoms

  • A sensation of "dragging" or bearing down
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Mental Depression
  • Prolapse of Organs (Stomach, Uterus, Intestines, Vagina, Bladder, Anus)
  • Empty Pulse

3. Stagnation of Qi

This is where the normal movement or flow of Qi is impaired. When Qi stagnates in a particular Organ, there may be pain and/or impairment of that Organ's function. Compared to Blood Stagnation, Qi Stagnation is a moving pain, whereas the pain from Blood Stagnation is fixed in nature.


  • Qi stagnation can be due to traumatic injury or internal causes.

Common Symptoms

  • Pain in the Area of Stagnation
  • A Feeling of Oppression
  • Distention and Bloating
  • Depression, Irritability, and Other Emotional Disturbances
  • Wiry Pulse
  • Possible Purple Tongue

4. Rebellious Qi

All of the organs in the body have a normal direction of Qi flow. Rebellious Qi is when the flow of Qi is moving in a direction other than the intended direction.

The Normal Direction of Qi Flow

Organ Normal Flow Rebellious Flow Symptoms
Stomach Downwards Upwards Belching, Hiccup, Vomiting, Nausea
Liver Upwards Excessive upwards
(Yang or Fire Rising)
Headache, Dizziness, Irritability
    To Stomach
(Attacks or Invades)
Nausea, Belching, Vomiting
    To Spleen
(Attacks or Invades)
    To Intestines Dry Stools, Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea
    Downwards Burning Urination
Lungs Downwards Upwards Cough, Asthma
Kidneys Downwards Upwards Asthma
Heart Downwards Upwards Agitation, Insomnia, Mental Restlessness

Blood Patterns

Blood Deficiency

Usually caused by Spleen Qi deficiency (SP provides raw materials). When Blood becomes deficient, the Heart and Liver are especially affected. (Ht governs Blood, Liver stores Blood)

Main Symptoms of Heart Blood Deficiency

  • Sallow or "dull white" complexion
  • Poor memory
  • Insomnia (problems falling asleep)
  • Dizziness and Numbness
  • Blurred vision
  • Pale Lips


  • Fine or Choppy Pulse


  • Pale and possibly slightly dry. The tongue will be thin in severe chronic cases.

Additional Symptoms


  • Amenorrhea and scanty periods

Mental and Emotional

  • Depression, anxiety, apathy, lack of spirit

Chronic Symptoms

  • Dry tongue, dry skin, and dry hair

Severe Symptoms

  • Dryness of Blood can engender interior Liver Wind which can lead to skin problems such as dry and itching skin, eventually leading to muscle tics and tremors.

Blood Stagnation (Stasis)

Blood Stagnation is where the normal flow of Blood has become obstructed. Stagnant Blood can occur in the channels (usually due to trauma), or in the internal Zang Fu (Yin Yang) Organs, mainly in the Liver, Heart, Uterus, Intestines and Stomach. Heat in the Blood also eventually causes blood to stagnate/congeal, as does Internal Cold.

General Symptoms of Blood Stagnation

  • Stabbing fixed pain
  • Dark complexion
  • Purple lips and nails
  • Dark blood and clots if there is bleeding


  • Red purple if there is Heat
  • Blue purple if there is Cold
  • Possible purple or red spots


  • Wiry or choppy pulse

Jin Ye Patterns

Imbalances Involving Body Fluids

Fluid Deficiency

Deficient fluids can result from Heat or dry atmospheres, also from Deficient Blood. Symptoms are of dryness.

Stagnation of fluids occurs when Yang fails to transform and transport fluids. Fluids then accumulate to form Dampness.

Symptoms depend on which Organ has Qi or Yang Deficiency and where the Fluids have accumulated. Spleen is often affected or underlying cause.

Dampness distressing the Spleen produces such signs as: fatigue, cloudy and heavy head, nausea, copious sputum, heavy limbs.

Edema can be caused by:

  • Lung Qi Deficiency
    This affects the Upper Body
  • Spleen Qi Deficiency
    This affects the abdomen and 4 limbs
  • Kidney Yang Deficiency
    Pitting Edema in the lower body

Dampness may congeal into Phlegm (Mucus)

There are two kinds of Phlegm:

  • Substantial Phlegm
    Such as mucus in the Lungs
  • Insubstantial Phlegm
    Such as swellings, nodules, goiter, and Kidney, Bladder, and GB stones

Qi and Blood Deficiency and Stagnation

Qi Stagnation over a long period of time can lead to a situation where the Qi can not move the Blood, this causes the Blood to stagnate or congeal. This is commonly caused by patterns such as Liver Qi Stagnation, due to emotional issues.

If Blood becomes deficient, it eventually also causes Qi to become deficient. If the deficient or injured Qi fails to move the Blood, stagnation of Blood will occur. This pattern is common after childbirth, hemorrhage due to trauma, or excessive menstrual bleeding.

In the case of trauma, Blood and Qi often stagnate in the location of the physical trauma. Stagnation can occur in both the channels and the internal organs depending on the severity of the injury.

References Used

The TCM information presented here has been referenced from numerous sources; including teachers, practitioners, class notes from Five Branches University, the following books, as well as other sources. If you have benefited from this information, please consider supporting the authors and their works by purchasing the books below.

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