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Overwork and over-rest

Work and rest are two activities indispensable to human existence. Normal work is helpful for the flow of qi and blood and strengthening the body. Necessary rest can eliminate fatigue and restore strength and vitality. Overwork and over-rest all lead to disease.


Overwork covers three aspects: overstrain, overwork with the mind and excessive sexual activity.

Overstrain refers to protracted physical hard work, such as over physical work and over sports activity. Protracted physical hard work consumes great amount of qi and blood and causes disease if the energy and vitality are not supplemented and restored in time. Other activities, such as protracted standing, prolonged walking and speaking for a long time, also lead to overstrain.

Overwork with the mind refers to excessive contemplation that consumes heart-blood and causes asthenia disease. Overwork with the mind not only consumes heart-blood, but also impairs the spleen. So the symptoms caused by overwork with the mind are usually palpitation, amnesia, insomnia and dreaminess due to malnutrition of heart-spirit, often complicated by anorexia, abdominal distension and loose stool due to dysfunction of the spleen.

Normal sexual activity is helpful for the flow of qi and blood and the regulation of yin and yang. However excessive sexual activity consumes kidney-essence, weakens qi and blood and malnourishes the five zang-organs, leading to early senility with the symptoms of aching and weakness of the waist and knees, dizziness and tinnitus, dispiritedness, or impotence, seminal emission and premature ejaculation due to kidney deficiency.


Over-rest means lack of enough activity. Protracted lack of enough activity will lead to slow movement of qi and blood, hypofunction of the viscera, poor appetite, fatigue, dispiritedness, weakness of the four limbs or obesity, intolerance to work, palpitation, asthma.

Pathogenic characteristics of imbalance between work and rest

Cause of disease Overstrain- Overexertion Overstrain- Mental overstrain Overstrain- Sexual overstrain Indulgence in easy life
Pathogenic characteristics Consumption of qi
impairment of the body
Impairment of the heart and spleen
qi and blood
Consumption of essense and qi in the kidney Unsmooth circulation of qi and blood with visceral dysfunction
Clinical manifestations Asthenic qi
reluctance to speak
fatigue and tiredness
dyspnea and sweating injury of tendons and bones
abdominal distention and loose stools
Aching and weakness in waist and knees
Reduced appetite
abdominal distention
heaviness of limbs
muscular flaccidity