Dawn – Yang within Yin

The first lesson I learned in Acupuncture school was that of Yin-Yang (pronounced Yaang, similar to song).

It is, arguably, the most important concept in Chinese Medicine: all the theories, pathology, physiology and treatment plans can be explained according to the Yin-Yang theory. It is a very simple concept, and yet the most profound philosophy in existence. I thought it would be fun to introduce this concept to you, to help you understand a little bit of the Chinese Medicine theory, and the ubiquitous symbol we find anywhere and everywhere it seems.


Noon – Yang within Yang


Simply put, Yin-Yang symbolizes the cyclical pattern of nature, and hence of life: one depends on the other, neither can exist without one another, one transforms into another, and the pattern continues.

Every phenomenon in the universe alternates through a cyclical movement of peaks and bases. The alternation of Yin and Yang is the motive force of its change and development. Day changes into night, summer into winter, growth into decay, and vice versa.

Here are some examples of Yin qualities: Darkness, Shade, Rest, Earth, Quiet, Moon, Water, Contraction, Blood, Interior, Cold, Wet, Slowness, Chronic conditions

Here are some examples of Yang qualities: Brightness, Sun, Activity, Energy, Rising, Fire, Qi, Hot, Dry, Rapidity, Acute conditions

But all the qualities are in relative terms. Nothing is totally Yang, or totally Yin, they can’t exist in isolation. Everything is interdependent, and can transform into each other. Since we are in the middle of a change of season, from summer to fall, I will use the seasons to illustrate the transformative nature of Yin-Yang:

Summer = Maximum Yang (Yang within Yang)

Autumn = Yin within Yang (Growth of Yin)

Winter = Yin within Yin (Maximum Yin)

Spring = Yang within Yin (Growth of Yang)

Clinically, Chinese Medicine diagnoses are based on the Yin-Yang theory. For example, an overly stressed individual (Excess Yang) can easily experience insomnia (damaged Yin).  In this case, one must decrease the Yang energy by nourishing the Yin. Lifestyle changes, and proper nutrition can help reverse the condition as well as Chinese medical modalities to help assuage the excess Yang while increasing the nourishing Yin.

The main goal of Chinese Medicine is to acknowledge the transformative nature of Yin and Yang and to implement the best treatments to achieve a balance between the two.