You may have heard that Yin Yang forms the basis of Chinese religion and philosophy, but do you know it is also an essential concept in traditional Chinese medicine? Indeed, the entire Chinese medical theory is built on the principle of yin yang balance. You have to understand yin yang to comprehend Chinese medicine.
In Chinese philosophy, Yin Yang describes that everything in nature consists of two paradoxical phases or energies. These two energies are opposite, independent, but mutually transformative and consuming. Yin and yang can transform into each other, or they can consume each other so that the energies become out of balance. Human health also follows this principle. If yin yang is in balance, one is healthy; if not, one will become sick. Consequently, yin yang can be used to diagnose and treat illnesses.
Excess and Deficiency
When Yin Yang is out of balance, it can be too much or too little. The imbalance is therefore divided into excess (shi) and deficiency (xu). There are four states:
1. Excess of yin
2. Deficiency of yin
3. Excess of yang
4. Deficiency of yang
Sometimes, the states can occur concurrently, such as deficiency of both yin and yang, so there are eight unbalanced conditions in total.
The Body’s Yin and Yang
In terms of the human body, yin is associated with the lower parts of the body, while yang is associated with the upper body and back; yin represents cold, and yang heat. Given yinand yang’s interconnectivity, diseases are not seen as entities separate from the body, but instead are understood as states of yin and yang imbalance.
Yin and yang are in constant flux. If one becomes unbalanced in the body, illness occurs. For example, a deficiency of yin can cause illnesses such as dry skin or dry mouth. Likewise, a yang deficiency can cause cold limbs. Good health is maintained by balancing these two energies.
Food for Yin Yang Balance
Food is pretty helpful for balancing yin and yang because it affects the Qi flow in your body. Traditional Chinese medicine values food nourishment more than medical treatment since food has way fewer side effects than medicine. You can avoid medicine and sickness by eating the correct food.
For people with yin deficiency, drinking lots of fluid is the best cure. Sour food like lemon and lime can stimulate saliva secretion, increasing the body’s fluid circulation. In general, a diet with plenty of seafood is especially beneficial for people with yin deficiency. However, they should avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and strong spicy foods, which may deplete yin even more.
If you have yang deficiency, you need to eat foods that can make you “warm.” Mutton is a solid choice to replenish your yang. Gorgon fruit, Chinese yam, chestnuts, and sesame seeds are also good at boosting yang if you would like to try them.
There are also other ways to balance yin yang. For example, changing your lifestyle and environment can also help. As the word itself suggests, yin means darkness and yang means light. If you have yin deficiency, sleep earlier at night, and if you have yang deficiency, just expose to more sunshine. Following nature’s rhythm is the key to balance your yin and yang.