What Are Yin and Yang?
Yin and Yang are terms you’ve probably heard.
They’ve infiltrated pop culture and are used commonly to describe things that are opposite or complementary to one another.
While that usage is part of what yin and yang are about, that’s only scratching the surface.
There are literal stacks and stacks of books written on the interplay of yin and yang and how they relate to your health. Most of them are in Chinese, and most of them are beyond the scope and need of the average, everyday person.
As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, part of my job is to figure out the imbalances in your body that are leading to your symptoms and then figure out how to bring you back into balance.
That’s what you pay me for.
So it’s helpful for you to understand a little bit about what I mean when I talk about yin and yang and you.
Yin is the physical part of your body. Things you can touch and see. Blood, muscle, tendon, spit, hair, fingernails, fat, skin - all yin.
Yang (which rhymes with ‘song’, not ‘sang’) is the sum of all the chemical and electrical reactions that make your body functional and keep you alive.
Yang (still rhymes with ‘song’) is the energy - in the Physics 101 sense of the word, but also the ‘woo-woo’ sense of the word, if you’re into that - that animates your physical body causing your heart to beat, your muscles to contract and your blood to be able to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the outside air via your lungs.
Without yang, your physical body would be an inanimate lump of flesh.
Without yin, the electro-chemical reactions that make you alive would have no form to contain them or fuel to power them.
But you’re alive and we can safely say that your yin and yang are balanced enough to keep you going.
If you’re like most people though, and you have some health issues, minor or major, we can also safely say that your yin and yang are somewhat out of balance.
Your form and your function are not supporting each other optimally.
Yin and Yang can be excess or deficient.
In terms of yang, you can have too much electrochemical activity or too little. Think of this in relationship to your nervous system. You can be stuck in fight or flight mode where your nervous system is constantly firing and you’re never able to relax because the world we live in is one giant stress ball.
Or you can have too little nervous system activity causing you to feel tired all the time and foggy headed.
In terms of yin, you can have an excess of body fluids and fat that can clog up your blood vessels and put pressure on your organs so they don’t function efficiently.
Or you can have a lack of nutrients or fluid in your blood. Just like a boat on a river with not enough water - transportation is going to be rough. Your organs and tissues become deprived of the fuel they need to be properly nourished and can’t function efficiently,
Any of these situations could be leading to your particular health problem. It could even be a combination of more than one.
My job, as your acupuncturist, is to figure out what’s going on with you and your body and then use my skills and tools to cause electro-chemical changes in your body that communicate to your cells, tissues, and organs to fix themselves.
Of course, for the sake of this article I’m simplifying things. Like I said, books, and books, and books, have been written about this stuff.
Your body is complicated, there are a lot of moving parts. The idea of yin and yang allows us to simplify the complexity and approach your treatment in an organized way.
Any questions? Leave them in the comments below. Totally understand the cosmic balance of your body and the Universe now? Tell me about it in the comments below!