Yin and Yang: The Medical Implications
The defining feature of Chinese Medicine (CM) is its application of yin and yang theory. The concept is intrinsic throughout all aspects of the system of medicine. CM is effectively an energetic medicine. The diagnosis involves the identification of imbalances which give rise to signs and symptoms. Further to this, the treatment is based on correcting these imbalances. In essence, these imbalances are expressions of yin and yang theory.
In order the maintain health, yin and yang need to be in balance and be maintained at an ideal level. Sickness takes hold when an imbalance occurs or if there is a weakness. Despite having origins from such a simple notion, the imbalances observed in CM can be complex. Yin can be deficient and in turn leave yang in a relatively stronger state (and vice versa if yang is weaker than yin). In contrast, yin may be excessively strong and make yang appear to be weak despite it maintaining an ideal state. Part of the skill of diagnosis in CM is the identify the correct natures of the energetic imbalances.
The easiest way to demonstrate the medical implications of yin and yang is via example. Following are the ways in which yin and yang opposites can be identified in the structure of the body as well within the understanding of disease.
The structure of the body
Yin – Inferior (below); interior; front; body; interior organs; below the waist; structure of the organs; and body fluids…etc
Yang – Superior (above); exterior; back; head; exterior organs (skin); above the waist; function of the organs; and qi (energy)…etc
Symptoms and diagnosis of disease
Yin – chronic disease; gradual onset; cold; listlessness; pale face; prefers warmth; weakness; and loose stool…etc
Yang – acute disease; rapid onset; heat; restlessness; red face; prefers cold; strong/robust; and constipation…etc