Archive for the ‘Yin Yang’ Category

Yin Yang – Part 3: Constant change

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

The theory of Yin – Yang is the most important concept in Traditional Oriental Medicine, as all of its more complex medical knowledge derives from this basic foundation.

In Part 1, it was seen how all natural phenomena can be classified into opposite pairs of Yin & Yang, and Part 2 described how these opposite pairs can influence each other in sickness or health.

Another aspect of Yin – Yang is that of constant change – nothing in nature is truly static and unchanging but instead is always in a state of transformation from one extreme towards the other. When these changes occur within set boundaries, it produces stability and order rather than instability and chaos.

YinYangChange Yin Yang   Part 3: Constant change

A common example of this would be the regulation of your body temperature. Although it normally appears to be stable, the temperature is in fact constantly increasing and decreasing within a small range, similar to how a thermostat controls a heater.

In Western medicine, this concept is known as homeostasis and is responsible for keeping all of your body’s systems in healthy balance between extremes, ranging from the oxygen – carbon dioxide levels of the respiratory system to the acid – base pH of the blood.

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Yin Yang – Part 2: The see-saw effect

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

In a previous article, we looked at the concept of Yin and Yang, and how Traditional Oriental Medicine classifies things in opposite pairings (as in the example of pain, is it at a fixed location or does it move around, does it improve with rest or with movement, is it better with heat or cold, etc.)

To add further to this concept is what can be described as the “see-saw” effect – when one side of something increases, the opposite side tends to decrease in the opposite direction.

In Eastern science, this was most clearly seen observing things in nature such as the sun and moon – as the sun came up in the morning, the moon lowered below the horizon, and mid-day was the brightest when the sun reached the highest point in the sky. The exact opposite then happened as the sun disappeared below the horizon and the moon came up and reached its peak at night.

Although it appears to be a simple concept, it has extremely important clinical value in acupuncture. One common example of this is in the treatment of migraine headaches. The acupuncture pathway usually corresponding to the headaches is called the Gallbladder meridian – this pathway starts at the eyes, travels through the temple area and the sides of the head, down the neck and the tops of the shoulders, and then down the body and legs, ending at the feet. In Traditional Oriental Medicine, it views migraine headaches as usually being caused by stagnant and congested circulation along this Gallbladder pathway. (more…)

Yin Yang – Part 1: It’s all about balance

Monday, May 18th, 2009

You’ve probably seen it before, and may have even wondered what it meant – the Yin Yang symbol, that strange looking circle with a couple of dots and squiggly lines:

YinYang 150x150 Yin Yang   Part 1: Its all about balance
Yin Yang Symbol

Yin – Yang is actually a concept that comes from ancient Chinese science and philosophy and was an important part of their approach to viewing nature. Originally meaning “the shady side of the mountain” and “the sunny side of the mountain”, Yin and Yang came to symbolize opposing forces of Nature, such as:

  • Moon & Sun
  • Winter & Summer
  • Darkness & Light
  • Water & Fire

(It is interesting to note that much of Western science is also based on this concept, such as positive & negative terminals for electricity, north & south poles for magnetism, acids & bases for chemistry, etc.)

This Eastern way of categorizing everything in Nature as Yin and Yang was later introduced into their system of medicine, and is one of the main ways that both sickness and health is analyzed. (more…)