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The Yin-Yang Theory 5 – Yin and Yang’s Mutual Transforming Relationship

In certain circumstances and at a certain stage of development, each of the two aspects of yin and yang, within an object, will transform from yin into yang and from yang into yin. The mutual consuming-increasing of yin and yang is a process of quantitative change, and the mutual transformation of yin and yang is a process of qualitative change. The Suwen comments, “Extreme cold will bring about heat, and extreme heat will induce cold…”; furthermore, “Excessive yin may cause yang syndromes or tend to be transformed into yang and vice versa.” These are the features and conditions of the mutual transformation of yin and yang.

The mutual transformation of yin and yang is often seen during the development of a disease. For example, if a patient has a constant high fever, which is suddenly lowered, accompanied by a pale complexion, cold limbs, extremely feeble pulse (the danger symptoms of yin cold syndromes), we may say that the disease has transformed from a yang syndrome into a yin syndrome. Under these circumstances, proper emergency treatment should warm the limbs to make the pulse normal. The yang qi will recover, and the danger will be removed. Thus yin syndromes can change into yang syndromes. Clinical practice provides other examples of the mutual transformation of yin and yang. It is common in clinical practice to have exterior syndromes transform into interior syndromes or vice versa and shi (excess) syndromes may change into xu (deficiency) syndromes or vice versa.

The above-mentioned relationships of mutual opposing, depending, consuming-increasing, and transforming of yin and yang are the basic content of Yin-Yang theory. Furthermore, these four relationships between yin and yang are not so isolated from each other but interconnect with and interact upon each other.

 

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The Yin-Yang Theory 4 – Mutual Consuming-Increasing Relationship of Yin and Yang

The yin and yang aspects within an object are not quiescent, but in a state of constant motion. They can be described as being in a state where the lessening of yin leads to an increase of yang, or vise versa. Taking the transformation of the seasons as an example, in terms of the Yin-Yang theory, the process of transition from winter cold through spring warmth into summer heat demonstrates the process of a lessening of yin leading into an increasing of yang. While the transition from the heat of summer to the cold of winter is the lessening of yang leading to an increasing of yin.

Regarding the human body’s functional activities, which are considered yang, the consumption of nutrient substances, which are considered yin, results in the lessening of yin to the increase of yang. As the metabolism of nutrient substances (yin) exhausts the functional energy (yang) to a certain extent, this is understood as a lessening of yang to the increase of yin. Under normal conditions the mutual consuming and increasing of yin and yang maintain a relative balance. Under abnormal conditions there is an excess or insufficiency of either yin or yang which leads to the occurrence of disease.

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The Yin-Yang Theory 3 – Yin and Yang Interdependence

Yin and yang are at once in opposition and in interdependence. They rely on each other for existence, coexisting in a singe entity. Each of the two aspects is the condition for the other’s existence and neither can exist in isolation. For example, daytime is yang, night in yin, without day there would be no night; upper is yang, lower is yin; left is yang, right is yin, etc., each pair exists in a state of mutual dependence, and without its opposite it could not exist.

The interdependent relationship of yin and yang is described in the Suwen, “Yin is installed in the interior as the material foundation for yang, while yang remains on the exterior as the manifestation of the yin function.” This is a traditional explanation of the interdependence of yin and yang.

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The Yin-Yang Theory 2 – Opposition of Yin and Yang

The theory of Yin-Yang holds that every object in the universe consists of two opposite aspects which are in continual mutual restriction and interaction. The alternation of the four seasons is an example. The spring is warm and the summer hot. This is due to the rising of yang qi which restricts the autumn cool and the winter cold. Alternately, the coolness of autumn and cold of winter arise because of the ascendancy of yin that restricts the spring warmth and summer heat. According to Yin-Yang theory, the seasonal cycle is the outcome of the mutually restrictive and mutually consuming-increasing activities of yin and yang. Either side of the two opposites always restricts and acts on the other.

This process of mutual restriction and interaction is the operation of yin and yang, without which change would not occur. Thus the two opposites of yin and yang do not exist as an entity in a still and unconcerned state. They constantly interact with each other, hence the alteration and development of an object.

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The Yin-Yang Theory 1- Introduction

The Yin Yang theory holds that all phenomena consist of two opposite aspects, yin and yang, which are variously defined as: up and down, left and right, light and dark, hot and cold, stillness and movement, substance and function, etc. The movements and changes of yin and yang give impetus to the development of everything or in the words of the Suwen, “Yin and yang are the law of Heaven and Earth, the outline of everything, the parents of change, the origin of birth and destruction….”

Yin and yang represent two opposite aspects of every object and its implicit conflict and interdependence. Generally, anything that is moving, ascending, bright, progressing, hyperactive, including functional disease of the body, pertains to yang. The characteristics of stillness, descending, darkness, degeneration, hypoactivity, including organic disease, pertain to yin.

The nature of yin and yang is relative. According to Yin-Yang theory, everything in the universe can be divided into the two opposite but complementary aspects of yin and yang and so on ad infinitum. For example, day is yang and night is yin, but morning is understood as being yang within yang, afternoon is yin within yang, evening before midnight is yin within yin and the time after midnight is yang within yin. As the Suwen states, “Yin and yang could amount to ten in number, be extended to one hundred, to one thousand, to ten thousand and ever to the infinite.”

 

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Linear basic Five Element theory

The spread-over of the Viscera Theory is linear most of the time, which is mainly divided into two phases- ‘liver deficiency’ and ‘liver repletion’, both of which spread via the route of “liver–>spleen–>kidney–>heart–>lung”, hence the starting point of all viscera diseases is the liver, in other words, the source of all viscera diseases is the liver disease.

Treatment for liver deficiency and liver repletion is similar, but the former is much simpler. In fact, all diseases, when developed to the phase of liver repletion, are extremely difficult to treat.

 

This article is based on the content of “Deciphering TCM” by Tongmei Pan; the original book was written in Chinese.

Introduction to TCM 3- The Concept of Syndrome Differentiation

Application of treatment according to syndrome differentiation is another characteristic of traditional Chinese medicine. “syndrome differentiation” means to analyze disease condition in order to find out its essentials, to identify the causative fact, location and nature, and to obtain conclusions about the confrontation between pathogenic and antipathogenic factors.

In traditional Chinese medicine, differentiation must be performed to outline the specific principles and methods of treatment because similar diseases may have different clinical manifestations, while different diseases may share the same syndromes. Treatment in traditional Chinese medicine stresses the differences of syndromes, but not the differences of diseases. Therefore different treatments for the same disease exist and different diseases can be treated by the similar medical analogy.

Introduction to TCM 2- Natural Environment and the Body

Not only is the human body an organic whole (or you can also think of it as a black box), but it is also an entity able to unify with mother nature. In other words, changes in the natural environment may directly or indirectly affect the body. For example, changes of the four seasons, and the alternations of day and night may change the functional condition of the human body, while various geographical environments can influence differences in physique, and so on. These factors must also be considered when diagnosis and treatment are given because the body can react differently during different seasons. The principles of treatment are therefore expected to accord with the different seasons and environments.

Introduction to TCM 1- What do the basic TCM theories describe?

The basic theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine describe the physiology and pathology of the human body, disease etiology,diagnosis, and differentiation of symptom-complexes. These include, but are not limited to, the theory of Yin-Yang, Five Elements, Zang-fu (the organs), channels and collaterals (blood vessels), blood and qi (the concept of qi), body fluid, and methods of diagnosis.

Fundamental theory in traditional Chinese medicine has two outstanding features, their holistic point of view, and their application of treatment according to the differentiation of symptom-complexes. According to these traditional viewpoints, the Zang-fu organs are the core of the human body as an organic entity in which tissues and sense organs are connected through a network of channels and collaterals (the blood vessels). This concept is applied extensively to all aspects of TCM, including physiology, pathology, diagnosis, and treatment.

The functional physiological activities of the Zang-fu organs are dissimilar, but they work in coordination. There exists an organic connection between the organs and their related tissues. Pathologically, a dysfunction of the zang-fu organs may be reflected on the body surface through the channels and their collaterals (e.g. pimples on skin or canker sores in mouth). At the same time, diseases of body surface tissues may also affect their related zang or fu organs. Affected zang or fu organs may also influence each other through internal connections. Traditional Chinese medical treatment consists of regulating the functions of the zang-fu organs in order to correct pathological changes. With the help of acupuncture, treatment can also be accomplished by stimulating certain areas of the external body.

Why no antibiotics should be administered when catching of cold?

Why no antibiotics should be taken upon catching of cold?

Because taking antibiotics often result in ‘driving of chilliness into deep inside the body’, instead of driving it out of the body. This can make common cold easily transform to ShaoYang disease, which without proper treatment would evolve into thousands unexpected diseases in the future.

 

This article is based on the content of “Deciphering TCM” by Tongmei Pan; the original book was written in Chinese.