The Eight Parameters of Disease

Hi Everybody,

WESTERN vs EASTERN DIAGNOSIS- Western Medicine and Eastern Medicine have very different ways of diagnosing and then treating diseases. The Western approach is often symptom oriented – if you have a headache, you take an aspirin. If you have high blood pressure, you take a pill to lower the blood pressure.

Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, treats both the symptoms and the root cause of disease. They call it treating the ‘root’ and the ‘branch’, the root being the cause of disease, the branch being the symptoms emanating from the root cause.

The way the Chinese Medical practitioners develop their diagnosis is also different. They categorize the way your body is malfunctioning by which part of the body is not working properly, combined with how that part is malfunctioning as defined by the following 8 parameters…


1. External- Is the disorder caused by an external factor like a virus, bacteria, allergen or something along those lines?

2. Internal- Is the disorder caused by an internal malfunction that has nothing to do with an invasion from the outside, but instead from something internal not doing its job properly?

3. Yin Disorder-Is the problem a Yin Disorder? Yin people tend to get Yin disorders. Yin people are typically shy and quiet, more reserved, and take a more supportive role in life. They are careful and relaxed and happy to enjoy a quiet life. Yin disorders tend to build slowly and steadily and drag on and on. Yin problems tend to be worse at night and in the winter.  An example of a Yin illness would be chronic constipation.

4. Yang Disorders- Is the problem a Yang Disorder? Yang people tend to be more outgoing, forceful and dynamic, and hot natured. They are often hard to ignore. They have lots of energy but find it hard to wind down and relax.  Yang illnesses tend to be hot, quick acting, painful, and acute.  An example of a Yang illness would be a painful stomach ulcer.

5. Deficiency- Is the disorder from a lack of something in the body? For example, people who are cold all the time, have chronic fatigue and feel like they just need a nap all day long have a deficiency type of problem.

6. Excess- Is the disorder from an overabundance of something in the body? An example of a problem of excess would be somebody that is worn out because they just can’t stop. They work all day, can’t relax, and then can’t sleep because they keep thinking about what needs to be done next. They often end up exhausted from nervous energy.

7. Cold- Does the disorder create feelings of cold in the body? Whether we are talking about chills from a cold or flu, or an overall feeling of coldness that is always there, “cold” disorders are treated differently from “hot” disorders in Chinese Medicine (even if it is the same Western Medical Diagnosis – like the common cold or arthritis).

8. Hot- Does the disorder create feelings of heat in the body? Hot disorders may include fever or hot flashes, burning types of pain, or redness. For an example, hot arthritis would be a red, swollen joint with searing pain. Cold arthritis would be stiff and achy and hard to move. A “hot” cold would have a sore throat, yellow phlegm and a fever. A “cold” cold would have chills, clear or white phlegm and lots of clear urine.

TREATMENT- All these parameters are considered and then combined together to form an overall picture of your imbalance, which is completely unique to you and your situation.

Western Medicine seems to work best for acute problems that may be considered emergencies – Pneumonia, Appendicitis and so on. Chinese Medicine seems to be at its best with chronic disorders that are not life-threatening.

Hope this helps,

Dr Matt and Dr Robin (email)

This week’s bit of Useless Information: Benjamin Franklin, is credited with the idea of Daylight Saving Time, but nobody really considered his idea in 1784. Over a century later, in 1895, George Vernon Hudson reintroduced the concept so he would have more time for his hobby, bug collecting, after work.  

This email is courtesy of Matthew Barnes, D.C. and Robin Barnes, D.C.  Neither this nor any of our emails are intended to be medical advice and should not be taken as such.  They are opinion and are for informational purposes only.  None of the nutrients discussed here are meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

Call Us Text Us