Yin-Yang Balancing for Optimal Health

The Chinese symbol for yin and yang has been around for many centuries and is widely recognized throughout the world. The meaning behind “yin” and “yang” however and what the symbol depicts are not as clearly understood. Since our medicine is in large part based on the principles of yin and yang, here’s a bit more information for you:

The white portion of the symbol represents Yang energy. Yang is traditionally associated with light, sun, male energy, activity/productivity, heat, and moving forward and out in the world. Yin is traditionally associated with dark, moon, female energy, rest and hibernating, cool/cold and receptivity/inward focus and passive energy.

Since we’re focusing on motherhood this month, think of the “yin” as being the 9 months of pregnancy — carrying the baby and having it grow inside of the womb, in darkness; and the “yang” is the act of labor and delivery — the dramatic and energetic pushing of the baby out into the world, into the light. You need both the yin and yang phases to give birth to a healthy baby. The same principle can be applied to any life process and any healing journey.

No matter your gender, you have yin and yang energies in your body.  When we talk about “balance” in Chinese medicine, these are the energies we are working with.  If you have too much heat or yang rising up to your head, that may be the cause of a migraine, for instance. We need to cool the heat (calm the excess yang) and bring it back down. At the same time, we don’t want to put out the fire all together — we need that yang energy; it just needs to be in check and not flaring up and out of control.  An over-abundance of yin energy on the other hand would present as cool or cold in the body — we need to warm the channel and organ associated with the root issue.

The needles can serve to nourish the deficiency and calm the excess energy. This is a very simplified version of how we are able to help your body to come back into balance — and this is what drives up the cellular function and heals at the root level.

In the visual symbol of the Yin and Yang, you notice that the white and black are separate but connected in a circle; the white part always has a black dot in it and likewise, the black portion always has a white dot. This illustrates how the opposites need each other to be fully functioning and whole — and how even the yang has a little bit of yin and the yin has a little bit of yang. The two energies are interdependent.

Chinese Medicine in Motion

What if I told you that the healthy functioning of your muscle cells requires oxygen and nutrients in and waste products out; Do you think that’s the Western or the Chinese Medicine approach?

What if I told you the answer is “both?” Cells are the cells. They all require the same things. But Chinese Medicine, because it aims to drive up function, approaches the requirements of the cells a little differently.

Chinese medicine believes that function can be improved by enhancing and balancing organ function as well as the circulation of blood and fluids. If everything is running as it should, you only need to start the car periodically to keep the battery charged, the oil circulating, and the tire pressure even. But if your automobile is already in disrepair, simple maintenance won’t do the trick.

In Chinese medicine, one of the “treasures” of health is Acupuncture. Movement is another key component of the medicine. Exactly as in nature, movement equals life.

Take Tai Chi, for example. This is not simply a dance, moving meditation, or a martial art. Tai Chi is “moving medicine.” Conceptually, it’s a similar situation with yoga. Tai Chi loosely translates as “supreme ultimate.” Sounds pretty good, right? In martial arts, it’s called Tai Chi Chuan, which means “supreme ultimate boxing.” As a form of medicine, it draws your attention to breathing methods and aligned movements clinically shown to better oxygenate the blood, improve circulation, balance and digestion.

Imagine that aligning the body, and focusing on breath and visualizing it moving the energy could improve the circulation. We can physically unblock the “kink in the hose.” While there are many other health benefits (bone density, balance, etc.) this form of medicine can be practiced by young and old, men and women of any size, age or fitness level.

At Best Acupuncture, we recognize the “8 treasures” of Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture is but one treasure. With the coming of Spring, consider making sure both your yin and your yang, your internal and external, your movement and your breath are aligned in ways to drive up function, promote health, and get you ready for the growth to come!