Successful treatment of autoimmune conditions depends on accurate assessment of the spectrum of excess and deficiency. When excess activity is at the fore, calm the wind and clear heat without damaging the vital; when deficiency is more pronounced, tonify the vital without provoking the wind and heat.

Thinking about autoimmune illness from the Chinese medicine perspective is vastly different from how we think about in modern biomedicine terms. And the four levels of wei, qi, ying and xue are very helpful in giving us a framework for diagnosis and treatment.

In this conversation with Bryan McMahon we explore the complex, and often contradictory dynamics, of autoimmune conditions, And how to finesse our treatments to address these challenging situations.

Listen into this discussion to gain an appreciation for how Chinese medicine can address complex illness, and some strategies and methods you can use in clinic to address disharmonies.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • The need a clear handle with which to orient our clinical view
  • Need for clear strategy and working diagnosis to work on our hypothesis
  • Usually there will be wildly conflicting signs with autoimmune conditions
  • Bringing the myriad of complexities into simplicity through the lenses of yin/yang and deficiency/excess
  • Once issues get to the ying, nutritive or xue, blood levels, that is when we see clear signs of autoimmune illness
  • Importance of discerning hyper or hypo functioning as the root
  • The problems that arise from poorly circulating yang
  • Signs of inflammation at the qi and wei
  • How allergies can be an early sign of the dynamics that lead to autoimmune issues
  • Covid and post viral syndromes come into a clearer view
  • The kinds of issues that arise when the mind pushes on a deficient physiology
  • The importance of understanding and using the wei, qi, ying and xue levels in treatment
  • The 12 channels as pathways that connect us to the outer world and can be seen as a sort of sense and communication conduit
  • Using long term vision and short term goals in treating complex illness

Clinic tip here​

Bryan McMahon is a uniquely qualified clinical practitioner, scholar and instructor of Ancient Chinese medicine (ACM). Having spent 15 in Asia, he is one of only a handful of Western practitioners to have completed the five-year traditional medical program at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, entirely in Mandarin.

Bryan has been blessed to study extensively with many highly accomplished practitioners, most notably as a long-term apprentice to Dr. Li Xin. Bryan relocated to beautiful Portland, OR in 2015, joining the faculty of the NUNM College of Classical Chinese Medicine. He maintains a clinical practice focused on the treatment of complex and often otherwise unresponsive conditions, including auto-immune disease, women’s health issues and recalcitrant skin conditions.



Links and Resources

Visit Bryan's website at


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