September 29, 2001

Yin and Yang – The Meaning of

Traditionally within Chinese medicine, the health of a patient is defined as a balance of the body’s yin and yang. These two terms relate to the opposing, yet complimentary, qualities which make up all that is present in the natural world. Thus, yin and yang would represent such aspects as night (yin) and day (yang), male and female, or other complimentary as well as opposing factors.

In Chinese medicine it is believed that some organs of the body are yin organs, while others are yang organs. The central idea of this form of medicine is prevention. Even 2000 years ago, Chinese physicians were putting great emphasis on moderation of diet, exercise and lifestyle to aid their patients with maintaining a healthy, balanced life which it was believed was a preventative of illness.

In ancient times the physicians of China were also philosophers with their theories firmly rooted in Taoist tradition. The Tao stresses a oneness in nature of all things. This would mean that the human body would operate by the same principals. Traditional Chinese medicine first became known through an ancient book, “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine”, which was said to be written by Huang-di two millennium ago. It is believed that this text was amended by unknown authors over the years but it was identified as the first attempt to codify Chinese Medicine.

With yin and yang, the harmony that health depends on, also depends on the balance of these two aspects. Since our bodies externally and internally are in dynamic balance with nature, they are constantly making changes in response to everything we come into contact with to maintain that balance. It is during those times that we cannot adapt to these influences that we become ill. According to Chinese medicine our organs operate in pairs. For instance, there are five zany organs which include the heart, kidney, spleen, liver and lungs. These are paired with the five fu organs which are the small intestines, stomach, large intestines, bladder and gallbladder. The fu organs which work predominately to transform food into energy and eliminate waste are our yang organs. The zany organs which control the storage of vital substances are our yin organs.

The term organ in Chinese medicine refers to a complete network and not just a single organ. This network will include the skin, tendons, tissues and bones which form an energy network in the body. Thus, in order to have a healthy balance of yin and yang, all aspects of the entire network must maintain a consistent and even flow of vital energy that relates equally to the forces of nature. This is done by treating the whole person by combining healing practices such as herbal medicine, moxa cones, acupuncture, rhythmic exercise and food therapy to insure a balance of yin and yang.

© Ray Baars, 2001

Ray Baars is a Qi Qong Teacher (internal form), and Energy healer, having praticed and taught Tai Chi / Qi Qong since the late 70’s.
Ray was taught by Master Chu and Master Zuchetti, and teaches both in America and here in the UK.