Yin and Yang: it’s fun to say, cool to look at, but what does it mean? Discover the balance that means health and happiness.
For a moment, go outside and take a look around. What do you see? Depending on location, one may see water, mountains, trees, the sun, the moon--you get the picture. For most, our surrounding landscape is not something we put much thought into. However, when it comes to someone who is trained to look beyond the ordinary, we begin to see a compelling display of interrelationships amongst the simplest of occurrences. In Chinese Medicine these occurrences or phenomena are known as the Yin and Yang Theory.
The Yin-Yang Theory is represented by a symbol called the Supreme Ultimate or as most of you may recognize from your childhood Pog collection or wall poster in your room while growing up. This symbol, although used as a pretty popular arm tattoo, actually represents one of the most important theories and the basis of traditional Chinese medicine. According to this theory, everything can be described as either Yin or Yang and can be explained in a few basic principles.
Yin and yang are opposites.
Everything has its relative opposite. No one thing is completely yin or completely yang; each contains the seed of its opposite. For example, winter eventually turns into summer.
Yin and yang are interdependent.
One cannot exist without the other.
Yin and yang can be further subdivided into yin and yang.
Any yin or yang aspect can be further subdivided into yin and yang. For example, temperature can be seen as either hot (yang) or cold (yin). However, hot can be further divided into warm or burning; cold into cool or icy. Within each spectrum, there is a smaller spectrum; every beginning is a moment in time, and has its own beginning and end, just as every hour has a beginning and end.
Yin and yang consume and support each other.
Yin and yang are usually held in balance—as one increases, the other decreases. However, imbalances can occur. There are four possible imbalances: excess yin, excess yang, yin deficiency, or yang deficiency.
Yin and yang can transform into one another.
At a particular stage, yin can transform into yang and vice versa. For example, night changes into day; warmth cools; life changes to death.
Part of yin is in yang and part of yang is in yin.
The dots in each side of the yin-yang symbol serve as a reminder that there are always traces of one in the other. For example, there is always light within the dark (e.g., the stars at night) these qualities are never completely one or the other.
So how does this apply to Chinese medicine? While yin dominates masculinity and yang dominates femininity within the body of either sex, each also has a pair of organs assigned to it, one yin and one yang. These organs have channels known better as meridians that run along the body and encompasses a flow of energy also known as Qi. Any imbalance of the yin-yang ratio can therefore cause illness. With that being said, every individual needs to achieve a proper balance according to his or her own constitution and emotional nature. Maintaining this balance will in turn maintain health.
The concept of Yin-Yang is probably the single most important and distinctive theory of Chinese medicine. It could be said that all Chinese medical physiology, pathology and treatment can eventually be reduced to Yin-Yang. This theory is extremely simple, yet very profound. Expressions of this can be found on a daily bases, whether by simply observing the surroundings in nature or sitting in the midst of clinical practice.