Six External Factors The Seven Emotions Miscellaneous Factors
Summer Heat
Improper Diet
Over Strain
Lack Of Exercise
Excessive Sexual Activity
Phlegm Retention
Blood Stasis



Six External Factors


Wind is a primary pathogenic factor as well as a factor, which is able to carry other pathogens into the body as it invades. Because it is yang in its nature, it tends to attack the upper portions and outer surfaces of the body first. However, it may quickly penetrate more deeply inside, and progress into serious diseases if it is not expelled when it first attacks the outer aspects of the body.

Diseases caused by wind are usually associated with external conditions, i.e., colds and flus OR symptoms that come and go or change in location, i.e., arthritis, or abdominal pain which, moves from one location to another. Wind diseases are usually rapid in onset, however, Wind can linger in the body for very long periods of time and progress if from the beginning it was undiagnosed or treated improperly.

Wind-Heat:  Wind Heat is a syndrome associated with an “external pathogen”. This is another way of saying the patient has a virus, like the common cold or a bacterial infection. The symptoms would be fever, chills, sore throat, etc….Wind-Heat is largely differentiated from Wind-Cold because the fever will be predominant over the chills and the throat will be sore which is not typical for a Wind-Cold (unless the Wind-Cold has gone into a deeper level and developed into a heat condition).

Wind-Cold:  Wind-Cold is also an exterior pathogen, but more is more likely to only be a viral attack. Generally speaking, it is not common to see any kind of bacterial infections from an external influence represent as anything of a cold nature. This patient will have predominant chills, milder fever, and usually suffer from pretty strong headache and body aches, etc….

Wind-Damp:  Wind-Damp is usually represented by arthritic disorders because the Wind combines with Dampness and it settles in the joints. Arthritis disorders are then further differentiated between Wind-Damp Cold, Wind-Damp Heat, & Just Wind-Damp.

Wind-Damp can come in other varieties, such as the flu, especially the stomach flu and it is described in many other contexts. However, for the purpose of keeping these explanations on a more simple and basic level, we will leave this explanation at this. 

Internal Wind:   Wind may also be internally generated from a deficiency of Yin, Blood, both, or excessive Fire in the body. A few examples of internally generated Wind are epilepsy, convulsions, abnormal eye movements as with nystagmus, hypertension, shaking or fitful movements as with Parkinson’s Disease, etc…



Cold is a Yin pathogenic factor.  If overly predominant, coldness can injure the Yang as Yang is hot and moving in nature, therefore, too much coldness can slow the Yang energy in the body down.

Coldness can be generated from an external influence, such as exposure to excessively cold conditions, or from an internal influence such as eating or drinking too many cold things. Conversely, an excessive amount of Cold can accumulate from a deficient amount of Yang in the body. In other words, there is not enough warmth being generated by the body’s Yang energy. This leads to a “hypometabolic state” and there is not enough warmth to equalize the cold, and coldness predominates.

Because the nature of coldness is slowing down, too much coldness can create contraction and later stagnancy. This stagnancy will effect blood and energy flow, which will in turn create more serious disease. This disruption in flow will initially cause actual feelings of coldness in the body and may cause a constrictive cramping type pain. Cold diseases are insidious, unlike diseases created by wind.



Summer heat may only be contracted in the way it sounds….in the middle of the summer heat.  Overexposure to summer hot temperatures while exposed in the hot summer sun can create many symptoms through loss of body fluids from excessive sweating. Symptoms such as dehydration, dizziness, heaviness of the head, fatigue, skin blistering, and sunstroke may occur under these conditions.



Dampness is heavy and turbid in nature. It therefore creates blockage of energy wherever it settles in the body. This kind of blockage creates a heavy sensation. It may be a sensation of denseness, dullness, achiness, or even numbness.

Dampness may create such symptoms as turbid fluids in or discharged from the body, i.e., excessive phlegm, discharge from the eyes, edema, or mucous in the stools, etc… These discharges will often have a heavy, turbid kind of odor. The patient with this pathogen will feel sluggish and if the digestion is affected, abdominal distention and bloating will occur.

Dampness easily mixes with other factors to create many kinds of different diseases. It may combine with Wind, Cold, and Heat. It may be found in intestinal disorders, joint problems, bladder and bowel problems, etc…



Dryness consumes body fluids. Dryness may be contracted by external forces if accompanied by wind, but it is more commonly seen as a result of a deficiency of fluids in the body due to longer-term causes.

Symptoms which may be associated with dryness are chapped lips, dry skin, dry hair, excessive thirst, dry eyes, dry cough, etc….



Fire is a Yang pathogenic factor often contracted in Summer. Fire may also be emitted from a longer-term pathological condition known as yin deficiency if gone untreated. In the latter case, it may effect the blood and create very serious illness. Fire tends to flare up.

Symptoms caused by fire tend to appear in the upper portion of the body, usually with complaints of high fever, mouth ulceration or swellings, and in severe cases even, coma. If it is left untreated long enough to effect the blood, it may cause bleeding anywhere in the body, including lower areas.


The Emotions

Emotions may have an effect on the organ it corresponds with or, conversely, may be an expression of the disease it is a manifestation of. Emotional factors CAN create illness!

Clinically, it is very interesting to see that most patient’s dominant emotion corresponds with the organ that is unbalanced. The more severe the imbalance, the more severe the emotion.


Affected Zang Organ

Related Fu Organ




Joy (Anxiety)


Small Intestine

Worry & Pensiveness(Obsessive Thinking)



Sadness (Grief & Melancholy)


Large Intestine

Fear, Fright & Shock


Urinary Bladder


Other Influences

Improper diet, over strain and stress, lack of exercise, and excessive sexual activity can all impair health.

Moderation in life should be heeded at all times to assist the body and the mind in maintaining the proper Harmony.