Yin  

Yin

Yin

Character indicates ‘hill’ and ‘cloud’, or ‘the shady side of the hill’.

Yang    

Yang

Yang

Character indicates ‘sun’, ‘over the horizon’, and ‘rays of light’, or ‘the sunny side of the hill’.

“Yin-Yang theory is based on the philosophical construct of two polar complements, call Yin and Yang.  These complementary opposites are neither forces nor material entities.  Nor are they mythical concepts that transcend rationality.  Rather, they are convenient labels used to describe how things function in relation to each other and the universe.” (Kaptchuk; The Web that Has No Weaver)

Trigrams from Book of Changes

Also known as Yi Jing or I Ching

A solid line represents Yang

A broken line represents Yin

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When 3 of these symbols are stacked, there are 8 possible combinations, known as the 8 trigrams.

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These symbols visually represent progressions and interactions of Yin and Yang.

Yin –Yang theory developed from observations of natural phenomenon, particularly the cyclic progression of day and night.

“Yin and Yang are two stages of a cyclical movement, one constantly changing into the other, such as the day giving way to night and vice versa” (GM)

How Yin Yang Associations Developed

Yang  Day » Activity/Light/Sun

Yin » Night » Rest/Darkness/Moon

Yang » Sun » Heaven » Round (Tian Yuan Di Fang “Round Heaven Square Earth”)

Heaven » Calendar » Time

Earth » Farmland » Flat/Space

Sun rises in East » Yang » Left (Chinese used a compass facing South)

Sun sets in the West » Yin » RightScience - Astronomy - Geography of the moon, French 19th C

“The alternation of Yin and Yang is the motive force of change and development” (GM)

Yang » Day » Summer (Yang within Yang)

Yin » Night » Winter (Yin within Yin)

Spring (Yang within Yin)

Autumn (Yin within Yang)

Yang

Yin

Light

Darkness

Sun

Moon

Brightness

Shade

Activity

Rest

Heaven

Earth

Round

Flat

Time

Space

East

West

South

North

Left

Right

Yin and Yang as States of Density

Yang symbolizes more immaterial.

Yin symbolizes more material.

For example water is Yin, and steam is Yang; or wood is Yin, and fire is Yang.

Yang » fire » dispersion/transformation

Yin » water » condensation

Yang

Yin

Immaterial

Material

Produces Energy

Produces Form

Generates

Grows

Non-Substantial

Substantial

Energy

Matter

Expansion

Contraction

Rising

Descending

Above

Below

Fire

Water

YIN – YANG RELATIONSHIP
The Four Aspects of the Yin-Yang Relationship

1. Opposition: Yin and Yang are divisible but inseparable2d59358770f3114476123bb800888c0c-yin-yang-clip-art

  • Every phenomenon has both a Yin and a Yang aspect, and every aspect can be further divided into Yin and Yang aspects, ad infinitum.
  • Every phenomenon is Yin or Yang relative to some other phenomenon.
  • Yang contains the seed of Yin, and Yin the seed of Yang.

2. Interdependence: Yin and Yang are rooted in each other

  • One cannot exist without the other.
  • Yin and Yang are mutually engendering: each requires the other for sustenance, conceptually and physically.

3. Mutual Consuming: Yin and Yang counterbalance each other

  • Yin and Yang are constantly in flux, forming a dynamic balance.
  • A deficiency of one naturally leads to an excess of the other.
  • An excess of one will weaken the other.
  • There are 4 possible states of imbalance: Excess Yin, Excess Yang, Deficient Yin, and Deficient Yang
  • This counterbalancing functions as a treatment also: heat is treated with cold, excess is treated by draining, etc…

4. Intertransformation: Yin and Yang are mutually convertible

  • Yin and Yang can transform into one another in certain circumstances.
  • Transformation between Yin and Yang requires certain conditions and a certain amount of time.

YIN – YANG AND THE BODY

Each body structure or surface can be categorized as Yin or Yang (of course, this is always relative).

Yin Yang Body

Yang

Yin

Superior (above waist)

Inferior (below waist)

Exterior

Inferior

Posterior/Back

Anterior/Frong

Lateral

Medial

Head

Body

Function

Structure

Skin and Muscles

Organs

Qi

Blood and Body Fluids

Defensive Qi

Nutritive Qi

Back & Front:

  • The back is where Yang channels and energy flow.
  • Yang channels protect the body from external pathogens, can be used to strengthen Yang, strengthen resistance to external pathogens, and treat pathogens that have already invaded the body.
  • The front is where Yin channels and energy flow.
  • Yin channels are used to nourish and tonify Yin.

Head & Body:

  • The head is where the Yang channels either begin or end.
  • Yang channels meet and flow into each other on the head.
  • Yang energy (in excess, like heat & fire) tends to rise to the head, leading to red face and eyes.
  • The head is easily affected by Yang pathogens like heat and wind. 
  • The body is relatively more Yin, and more easily affected by Yin pathogens like Cold and Damp.

Exterior & Interior:

  • The skin and muscles are exterior and pertain to Yang.
  • The exterior protects the body from external pathogens.
  • Internal organs are interior and pertain to Yin.
  • The interior provides nourishment to the body.

Above & Below the Waist:

  • Above the waist pertains to Yang and below the waist to Yin. 
  • This is often used in assessing skin diseases.

Lateral & Medial:

  • Yang channels flow on the lateral surfaces of the body, while Yin channels flow on the medial surfaces.

Yin & Yang Organs:

  • The 12 primary (Chinese) internal organs are divided into Yin and Yang categories.
  • Yang organs are ‘hollow’ and have the function of transforming, digesting, and excreting.
  • Yin organs are ‘solid’ and have the function of storing.
  • Yang organs are constantly active, and communicate with the exterior.
  • Yin organs store vital substances (Qi, Blood, Body Fluids,  and Essence).

Yin

Yang

Lung

Large Intestine

Spleen

Stomach

Heart

Small Intestine

Kidney

Bladder

Pericardium

Triple Heater

Liver

Gallbladder

Function & Structure:

  • Every organ, both Yin and Yang, has within it both Yin and Yang aspects.
  • Structure and substance are more Yin, while function and physiology are more Yang.
  • The substances, such as Blood, Essence, or Fluids contained within an organ pertain to Yin, while the movement and processing of those substances relates to Yang.
  • The relationship between an organ’s structure and function illustrates the mutual engendering of Yin and Yang.  For example: the function of the Spleen is to extract Qi from food, this Qi is used to form Blood, and Blood is the substance that nourishes the structure of the Spleen.

Qi & Blood:

  • Qi has Yang functions of warming, protecting, transforming, and raising.
  • Blood has Yin functions of nourishing and moistening.

Defensive Qi & Nutritive Qi:

  • Defensive Qi circulates in the exterior (skin & muscles), protects and warms the body, and is more Yang.
  • Nutritive Qi circulates in the interior (organs), nourishes the body, and is more Yin.

YIN – YANG APPLICATIONS IN MEDICINE

Yang

Yin

Fire

Water

Heat

Cold

Restless

Quiet

Agitation

Depression

Dry

Wet

Excess

Deficient

Hard

Soft

Excitement

Inhibition

Rapid

Slow

Non-substantial

Substantial

Transformation

Conservation

Opposition:

  • Yin and Yang qualities are also found in symptoms and are guides in clinical practice.

Fire & Water:

  • Balance between Fire and Water is essential to smooth functioning of the body’s processes.
  • Fire is associated with the Heart, which houses the mind.
  • As a Yang element, fire provides warmth to the organs and the ‘spark’ to fuel physiological processes.
  • Fire is also associated with the Ming Men (Gate of Life) fire, which is associated with the Kidneys.
  • Water is associated with the Kidneys.
  • Water is a Yin element and functions by moistening and cooling the organs and tissues.
  • Fire and water interact continuously, creating a balance of their functions.
  • Excess fire tends to flow upwards, manifesting in the upper body as headaches, red eyes, red face, or thirst.
  • Excess water tends to flow downwards, and manifests in the lower body as edema, excessive urination, or incontinence.

Heat & Cold:

  • Heat manifests as redness and a feeling of warmth.
  • Cold manifests as paleness (or cyanosis) and a feeling of cold.

Restless & Quiet:

  • Yang is active and can manifest as excess movement, such as restlessness, agitation, and insomnia.
  • Yin is still and can manifest as quiet behavior, immobility, and sleepiness.

Dry & Wet:

  • Yang, as the warming quality, is associated with dryness.
  • Dryness of the eyes, throat, or skin indicate excess Yang (or deficient Yin).
  • Yin is associated with wetness.
  • Watery eyes, runny nose, and wet skin conditions indicate excess Yin (or deficient Yang).

Excitement & Inhibition:

  • Excess Yang is associated with hyperactivity, such as rapid heartbeat.
  • Excess Yin is associated with hypoactivity, such as slow heartbeat.

Rapid & Slow:

  • When a person has excess Yang, their movements and speech are rapid.
  • A person with excess Yin will have slow movements.
  • Yang pathogens move quickly, appearing and changing rapidly.
  • Yin diseases move slowly and change gradually.

Substantial & Non-Substantial:

  • Yang is active and responsible for movement and flow of energy.
  • When Yang is insufficient, or Yin excess, Qi and fluids fail to move then become stagnant.
  • Stagnation over time leads to substantial masses or growths.

Transformation & Conservation:

  • Yin organs are associated with conservation and storage, Yang organs are associated with transformation and change.

Symptoms According to Yin – Yang

Yang

Yin

Acute

Chronic

Rapid Onset

Gradual Onset

Rapid Changes

Slow Changes

Heat

Cold

Restlessness

Listlessness

Throws Off Covers

Likes to be Covered

Likes to Lie Stretched

Likes to Curl Up

Hot Limbs & Body

Cold Limbs & Body

Red Face

Pale Face

Loud Voice

Quiet Voice

Coarse Breathing

Shallow Breathing

Thirst

No Thirst

Scanty-Dark Urination

Pale-Profuse Urination

Constipation

Loose Stools

Red Tongue

Pale Tongue

Strong Pulse

Weak Pulse

Balanced Health:

When Yin and Yang are in balance, they are parts of an inseparable whole.

It is only when Yin or Yang are out of balance that their individual qualities become distinguishable.

Symptoms are a sign of imbalances of Yin – Yang; a lack of symptoms is a sign of balance of Yin-Yang.

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Yin Excess

An excess of Yin overwhelms Yang leading to symptoms of cold, dampness, etc…

Yang Excess

An excess of Yang overwhelms Yin and consumes body fluids leading to symptoms of heat, dryness, etc…

Yin Deficiency

An insufficiency of Yin allows Yang to grow out of proportion.  Although there is a normal quantity of Yang, it is relatively excess.  This causes symptoms of Heat.  This must be treated by nourishing Yin and clearing deficiency Heat.  By increasing the Yin, the Yang will naturally come back into balance.

Yang Deficiency

An insufficiency of Yang allows Yin to grow out of proportion.  This causes symptoms of Cold and watery symptoms. 

Yang-Type Conditions

Yin Deficiency

Yang Excess

Principle Symptoms

Mild, afternoon fever

High fever

Night Sweats

Feeling hot all day

5 heat/palm heat

Hot all over

Thirsty with desire for small sips

Thirsty for lots of cold drinks

Dry mouth & throat at night

Constant dry mouth & throat

Complexion

Red cheeks/ Malar flush

Whole face red

Tongue

Red tongue w/ little coat or peeled

Red tongue w/ yellow coat

Pulse

Rapid, thin, empty pulse

Rapid, full pulse

 

Yin-Type Conditions

Yang Deficiency

Yin Excess

Principle Symptoms

Feeling cold

Feeling cold

Dull pain, relieved w/ pressure

Sharp pain, aggravated w/ pressure

No thirst

Desire for warm drinks

Listless, apathetic

Complexion

Pale-dull

Bright white or bluish

Tongue

Pale tongue, swollen

Pale tongue w/ thick slimy coat

Pulse

Slow, deep, weak

Full, deep, tight

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