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3Aug/09Off

Yin and Yang: Health is all about balance

In the last article, I mentioned Yin (陰, pronounced as "yin" in Mandarin, "yum" in Cantonese) and Yang(陽, pronounced as "yang" in Mandarin, "yeung" in Cantonese). Yin is solid while Yang is hollow. "Yin Yang" united as one, is the base of Chinese medicine, like the relationship between light and darkness,  left and right, hot and cold, female and male, all are relative concepts. If you know about the Tai Chi symbol, you probably know about Yin and Yang because it's called Yin-Yang symbol as well:

Yin (solid): Water, Substance (blood), Cold, Wet (dampness), Pale, Thin

yin_yang

Yang(Hollow): Fire, Energy (Qi/Chi), Hot, Dry (dryness), Red, Thick

As you can see from this symbol, Yin and Yang are opposite yet complementary to each other.

Everything that exists in universe or nature, including health, can only be achieved when there are equal amounts of these two primal elements. Simply put, if the two primal elements are out of balance, illness occurs. The two most common imbalances causing illness in the human body are, as with weather -- heat/cold and wet/dry. Excess heat in the body is associated with redness and inflammation; skin infections, ulcers, and acne are examples. Cold in the body may manifest as poor digestion, poor circulation, diarrhea. Internal dampness causes diseases such as rheumatism and can give rise to wet, oozing skin conditions such as athlete's foot and eczema. Dryness, on the other hand, may manifest as dry skin, constipation, coughing.

Note that two primary substances I mentioned in the last article, Blood and Qi (or Chi), are also represented by Yin and Yang in relationship.

(sources: Streetwise Guide: Chinese Herbal Medicine by Wong Kang Ying and Martha Dahle, Chinese Herbal Medicine made easy by Thomas Richard Joiner.)