The principle of Yin /Yang in Chinese philosophy is simple... but to understand such a "foreign" concept, Westerners have written numerous books on the subject. Originally, the "Yang" was the sunny side of a slope, and the "Yin" was the shady side of the slope. These terms are used to describe any item in nature. When the two forces are in balance, the item being described is in its natural state. It Yang is described as "hot", the Yin must be described as "cold"; if Yang is "outside", then Yin is "inside"; if Yang is "up", then Yin is "down"; if Yang is the "head" of a coin, Yin is the "tail" of the coin, etc. In the exercise system of Taijiquan, the practitioners upset this balance in their opponent while maintaining their own Yin/Yang balance. Whenever one of the forces increases to its extreme, a violent transition will occur to bring them back into balance (this is where the legends of extraordinary strength originates). It is important to realize that Yin and Yang are not separate items, they always appear together when speaking about the principles of Yin/Yang. Since one is opposite, yet complimentary of the other, one cannot appear without the other. In fact, the presence of one without equal amounts of the other is exactly what Acupuncture and Acupressure is designed to correct. When there is a condition in the body where the Yang force is excessive, then an acupoint that either reduces the Yang of this force, or an acupoint that increases the Yin of this force is stimulated. Either of these treatments will balance the two forces of Yin and Yang, thus bringing the body back into its natural "balance" or state of homeostasis. When the body is in a state of homeostasis, it is considered healthy. The selection of what acupoints to use and whether to increase or decrease forces in the body is difficult and why acupuncturists go through rigorous training, and have access to thousands of case studies.
Five Element Theory
There are several schools of theory within the modern Acupuncture community. One of the most popular is the theory of the Five Elements. Proponents of this system use the relationship of five elements and the meridians or channels of energy in the human body to bring forces back into balance. For instance, if their diagnosis shows an excessive Yang condition in an energy related to a "fire" element, they may look for the cause as being either a Yin or weak condition in the "water" element (not enough water to control the fire), or they may find an Yang condition in the "wood" element (too much wood feeding the fire). Now when you consider the "fire" as the heart, the "water" as the kidneys, and the "wood" as the liver, you can begin to see how a typical treatment may be configured. This also explains the reason why the Acupuncturist may ask a lot more questions than a typical Western physician as they inquire about seemingly unrelated topics. A Western physician would seldom ask if you have trouble urinating or other kidney-related questions like a craving for salt when you go for a heart checkup, yet surprisingly, Western science has led to many similar conclusions (excessive salt can be bad for your heart). The theory itself is simple but the relationships and diagnosis can become quite complex with creation cycles and destruction or controlling cycles, etc. Most body functions are divided into Yin/Yang tendencies, then subdivided into elements or qualities. Another important difference in Eastern and Western medicine is that every traditional Oriental diagnosis is individual and unique. Two persons with the same symptoms may receive completely different treatments because the cause of their "imbalances" may be different. Oriental medicine looks for the "causes" of the disease, not necessarily treating the symptoms directly.
Elements Wood Fire Earth Metal Water Flavors Sour Bitter Sweet Pungent Salty Colors Green Red Yellow White Black Influences Wind Heat Dampness Dryness Cold Organs Liver Heart Spleen Lungs Kidney Senses Eyes Tongue Mouth Nose Ears Emotions Anger Joy Pensiveness Sadness Fear Body Part Tendon Pulse Muscles Skin Bone
Introduction | History | Acceptance | Theory | Meridians | Clinical Visit