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Understanding Yin and Yang in Traditional Chinese Medicine

The concept of yin and yang dates back over 2000 years. Yin and yang is basically the duality of the universe. All properties in our universe have a polar opposite. The bright light of day and the darkness of night need each other to exist, just as yin needs yang to exist. Other examples of opposites in the universe that encompass yin and yang include:

  • Hot and cold
  • Masculine and feminine
  • Winter and summer
  • Fire and water

In traditional Chinese medicine yin and yang are used to describe certain parts of the body and how they relate to each other. When one organ or part of the body is ill, so are the other parts. They are interconnected and mutually dependent. The entire body system, like the universe, is filled with opposites and components that can’t exist without their counterparts.

In the body, yang represents functions that are moving, ascending, and progressing. Yin, on the other hand, represents the stillness and darkness within the body. There needs to be a balance between these dualities in order to be healthy.

Organs considered to be yin encompass those without an empty cavity. They include:

Organs considered to be yang are those that have an empty cavity. They include:

  • Gall bladder
  • Small intestine
  • Large intestine
  • Stomach
  • Bladder

These organs need each other and also need to be treated in connection with each other in traditional Chinese medicine.

Understanding the relationship of yin and yang within the body and the universe will help patients understand how treating the entire body using traditional Chinese medicine techniques will bring about the greatest overall health benefits.

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