Balance: Yin and Yang

We are always talking to our patients about balance. Balance within our work/home lives, balance in our diets, and balance with our health. It is key to living a happy and healthy life and is a belief that is deeply rooted in Chinese Medicine theory and the practice of acupuncture.

Everyone is familiar with the idea of yin and yang, but what does it really mean, and how does it apply to this idea of balance? It is a concept that began 8000 years ago, formulated by Fu Hsi, a legendary sage who lived along the Yellow River of China. He used two symbols, a broken line and an unbroken line to represent yin and yang. Since then, we have all become familiar with the Taoist symbol of the circle, one side black with a white dot in the center, the other white with a black dot in the center.

Yin and yang shows us that seemingly opposing forces are bound together and interdependent, interconnected and complementary. One gives rise to the other, and one can only exist with the other. When one quality reaches its peak, it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality. Beneath it all, yin and yang is the idea that the only constant in the universe is change. Nothing remains the same; no disease, no condition, no emotion, no treatment or diagnosis.

While yin would be dark, passive, downward, cold, contracting, and weak, yang would be bright, active, upward, hot, expanding, and strong. Yin represents that which endures, nourishes and supports growth, as well as the female. It refers to the calm rather than activity. Yang is considered to be creative and generating; developing and expanding, and represents the male.

Yin and yang exist in everything, in every object, concept or state of being. Yin and yang are not static concepts, but are constantly influencing each other. There is always some element of yin within yang and vice versa. You can see this in the picture, the dot of yin within yang and the dot of yang with yin.

In Chinese medicine, yin and yang refer to energies and functions of organs and body mechanisms. Your optimal health is created by the right balance of yin and yang. When one aspect of our health or our lives becomes lopsided, like when we work too many hours, we are too stressed out, or we eat too much of one thing, there is potential to develop symptoms of disease. Acupuncture works to restore this proper balance, thereby bringing you back to the healthy state your body strives for.