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Loughborough Acupuncture

16 - Dec - 2014

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Yin-Yang

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Basics Of TCM

Yin and Yang

The theory of yin-yang is one part of the interpretation of natural phenomena that originated in ancient China. It reflected a primitive concept of materialism and dialectics and played an active role in promoting the development of natural science in China. Ancient physicians applied the theory to the field of medicine, profoundly influencing the formation and development of the theoretical system of traditional Chinese medicine, and guiding clinical work up to the present time.

The theory of yin-yang is one part of the interpretation of natural phenomena that originated in ancient China. It reflected a primitive concept of materialism and dialectics and played an active role in promoting the development of natural science in China. Ancient physicians applied the theory to the field of medicine, profoundly influencing the formation and development of the theoretical system of traditional Chinese medicine, and guiding clinical work up to the present time.

According to the theory, Yin and yang exists in all things. At first, Yin meant a place not having exposure to the sun, and yang described a place that had exposure to the sun. Now, Yin and yang represent two components that oppose each other. Their interactions and plays against each other promote the occurrence, development, and transformation of things. They are used in reasoning things out while analyzing the things that occur in the world. It is believed, according to the Dao (the basic law in the natural world) that all things carry the two components of Yin and yang. The two are polar opposites because one would not exist if the other is absent. The state of body is determined by the balance of Yin and Yang. Where there is an unbalance, external agents can invade the body and cause disease. These external agents are called pathogens. As the natural force return to a normal balance, the disease is then cured.

The theory of Yin and yang has an impact on the science of TCM, as it has promoted the development of the theoretical system of TCM.

The five main components with the theory of Yin and yang are opposition, interdependence, inter-consuming-supporting, transformation and the infinite divisibility of yin and yang.

a. The opposition of yin and yang

The theory of yin-yang states that everything in nature has two opposite aspects, namely yin and yang. The opposition of yin and yang is mainly reflected in their ability to struggle with, and thus control each other. For instance, warmth and heat (yang) may dispel cold, while coolness and cold (yin) may lower a high temperature. The yin or yang aspect within any phenomenon will restrict the other through opposition. Under normal conditions in the human body, therefore, a relative physiological balance is maintained through the mutual opposition of yin and yang. If for any reason this mutual opposition results in an excess or deficiency of yin or yang, the relative physiological balance of the body will be destroyed, and disease will arise.

b.The interdependence of yin and yang

Yin and yang oppose each other and yet, at the same time, also have a mutually dependent relationship. Neither can exist in isolation: without yin there can be no yang, without yang no yin. Without upward movement (yang) there can be no downward movement (yin). Without cold (yin) there would be no heat (yang). Both yin and yang are the condition for the other's existence, and this relationship is known as the interdependence of yin and yang.


c.The inter-consuming-supporting relationship of yin and yang

The two aspects of yin and yang within any phenomenon are not fixed, but in a state of continuous mutual consumption and support. For instance, the various functional activities (yang) of the body will necessarily consume a certain amount of nutrient substance (yin). This is the process of "consumption of yin leading to gaining of yang". Under normal conditions, the inter-consuming-supporting relation of yin and yang is in a state of relative balance. If this relationship goes beyond normal physiological limits, however, the relative balance of yin and yang will not be maintained, resulting in excess or deficiency of either yin or yang and the occurrence of disease.

d. The inter-transforming relationship of yin and yang

The two aspects of yin and yang within any phenomenon are not absolutely static. In certain circumstances, either of the two may transform into its opposite, i.e. yang may transform into yin, and yin into yang. If the inter-consuming-supporting relationship is a process of quantitative change, then the inter-transformation of yin and yang is a process of qualitative change.

e. The infinite divisibility of yin and yang

As already mentioned, yin and yang are in a state of constant change. This means that there are relative degrees of both yin and yang. Although infinitely divisible, yin and yang are based upon only one important principle.

 

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