Yin Yang

The theory of Yin - Yang, philosophical point of view

The fundamental therapeutic principlein TEAM is to re-establish Yin Yang balance in the organism a biomedical equivalent of traditional Chinese concept of Yin- Yang is homeostasis, that is, stability of the body's internal environment: regulation of temperature, pH balance, hormonal activity, activation and inhibition of neurotransmitters, etc.

The earliest reference to Yin and Yang is probably the one in the 'Book of Changes' (Yijing), 700 BC.

The philosophical school that developed the theory of Yin-Yang to its highest degree is called the Yin-Yang School, which was thriving during Warring States period (476-221 BC).

This school was set out to interpret Nature to man's advantage by acting in harmony with its laws, and not through attempt to their control and subduedness (as it is usually characteristic to modern Western science).

The first law of Nature is that of polarity, which is symbolised as Yin and Yang.

Yin-Yang theoryexplains the nature of the Universe in terms of two opposing but complementary and interdependent forces or principles, theseembrace everything including energy and matter,spiritual, mental and emotional aspects of life.

This idea is represented in Chinese character for Yin and Yang:

is the character for Yang, where:
right side, on the top is the radical/character for sun (rì)
right side, bottom is the radical forrays of the sun (wù)
is the character for Yin, where: right side, bottomradical for cloud (yun)

Left side in both characters is common radical for mound or hill (ling)
Hill has a sunny and a shady side thus, this radical is often part of characters expressing contrasts by extension both characters therefore also indicate, accordingly: 'light', 'bright' and 'darkness', 'shady'

The graphic representation of Yin-Yang is Taijitu:
Taijitu (literally meaning "Great Pole") is the symbol for the idea of "Supreme Ultimate" (Tai Ji) — the oneness before duality, from which Yin- Yang originate

Here the main idea of relationship and interdependence of Yin-Yang are represented as:
The dark (yin) field and light (yang) field united in a circle,denoting thatYin and Yang are in opposition, howeverthey form a unity and are complementary
Small dark and light spots on each field, represent thatnothing is totally Yin or totally Yang, Yang contains the seed of Yin and vice versa

The dark (yin) field increasingly shifting into light (yang) fieldin a circular motion symbolize two phases of a continuous cyclical movement where Yang changes into Yin and vice versa

Imagine the Yin-Yang symbol spinning very fast, the white and the black will not be visible because they cannot be separated by the eye

This visual effect is the essence of the Yin-Yang principle of the function of the Universe — the inseparable duality of the oneness

The primary principle of Yin -Yang

The primary principle is that Yin-Yang are two phases of a cyclical movement, one constantly changing into the other:

This principle has derived from the peasants' observation of the cyclical alternation of day and night, that is why:

* Day corresponds to Yang therefore Sun, light and Heaven (where the Sun is) are also Yang
* Night corresponds to Yin therefore Moon, darkness, shade and Earth are also Yin and thus:
* Activity (peasant work during the light hours) is Yang
* Restand sleep is Yin
* Ancient Chinese farmers conceived Heaven as a round vault, and the Earth as flat, hence:
* Round is Yang
* Square is Yin
* Heaven, con¬taining the Sun, Moon and stars on which the Chinese farmers based their calendar, therefore corresponds to time
– Earth, which is parceled out into fields, corresponds to space because the Sunrises in the East and sets in – The West, the East is Yang and the West is Yin
– If we face South, Eastis on the left and Westis on the right (in the northern hemisphere)

In Chinese cosmology, the compass directions were established assuming that one faced South

This was also reflected in imperial ceremonials when:

'The Emperor faced South towards his subjects who faced North... The Emperor thus opened himself to receive the influence of Heaven, Yang and South. South is therefore like Heaven, at the top; North is therefore like Earth, at the bottom...

By facing South, the Emperor identifies his left with East and his right with West
*thus, left corresponds to Yang and right to Yin.

The 'Simple Questions' relates the correspondence Yang-left and Yin-right to physiology.

It says:

'East represents Yang... West represents Yin... in the West and North there is a deficiency of Heaven [yang], hence the leftear and eyes hear and see better than the right ones; in the East and South there is a deficiency of Earth, hence the right hand and foot are stronger than the left.'

Summarizing, we therefore have the first correspondences:

Yang = light, sun, brightness, activity, Heaven, round, time, East, south, left
Yin = shade, moon, darkness, rest, Earth, square, space, West, north, right

Every phenomenon in the universe alternates through a cyclical movement of peaks and bases, thus, every phenomenon contains within itself both, Yin and Yang, though in different degrees of manifestation.

* Day changes into night, summer into winter, growth into decay and vice versa.
* The day belongs to Yang but after it reaches its peak at midday, the Yin within it gradually begins to unfold and manifest
* That is, each phenomenon still always contains the seed of the opposite stage within itself, e.g.:
* Spring, dawn = Yang within Yin = growth of Yang
* Summer, noon = Yang within Yang = maximum Yang
* Autumn, dusk = Yin within Yang = growth of Yin
* Winter, midnight = Yin within Yin = maximum Yin

Yin-Yang as two states of density of matter

In the process of cyclical movement of Yin-Yang everything in the universe changes and, in so doing, its form also changes

In the process of cyclical movement of Yin-Yang everything in the universe changes and, in so doing, its form also changes

E.g.water (yin) in seas heats up at daytime → water is transformed into vapour (yang) → the air cools down in the evening → vapour condenses into water (yin) yet again

E.g. tree (yin) a dense form of matter → when tree is burned, it changes into heat and light(yang), a less dense forms of matter

Duality in the states of condensation of things was often symbolized in ancient China by the duality of 'Heaven' and 'Earth'

'Heaven' symbolized all rarefied, immaterial, pure and gas-like states of things, whereas
'Earth' symbolized all dense, material, coarse and solid states of things

Therefore,condensation and 'agglomeration' are Yin states of matter whereas dispersion and evaporation are Yang states of matter

It is important to understand that the two opposite states of condensation or aggregation of things are not independent of each other, but rather change into each other

From this viewpoint, energy and matter are two states of a continuum, with an infinite possible number of states of aggregation.

'Yin is quiet, Yang is active. Yang gives life, Yin makes it grow. Yang is transformed into Qi, Yin is transformed into material life

'Simple Questions', chapter 2

As Yang corresponds to creation and activity, it naturally also corresponds to expansion and it rises

As Yin corresponds to condensation and materialization, it naturally also corresponds to contraction and it descends

We, therefore, acquire another set of correspondences:

Yang = immaterial, produces/generates, energy, non-substantial, gives birth and grows, expansion, rising , above, fire, clear, positive, reduction ( gain of electrons)

Yin = material, nourishes, form, matter, substantial, gives maturation, ages and decays, contraction, descending, below, water, turbid, negative, oxidation (loss of electrons)

'Yin is quiet, Yang is active. Yang gives life, Yin makes it grow.Yang is transformed into Qi, Yin is transformed into material life

'Simple Questions', chapter 2

As Yang corresponds to creation and activity, it naturally also corresponds to expansion and it rises

As Yin corresponds to condensation and materialization, it naturally also corresponds to contraction and it descends

The four main aspects of Yin-Yang relationship

1. Opposition of Yin and Yang

It is this very contradiction that constitutes the motive force of all the changes, development and decay of things in the natural world.
However, this opposition is relative, not absolute, in so far as nothing is totally Yin or totally Yang.
Everything contains the seed of its opposite, as the Yin or Yang quality of something is not really intrinsic, but only relative to something else.
It would not be correct to think that something 'is Yang' or 'is Yin'.
Everything pertains to Yin or Yang only in relation to something else.
E.g. as heat pertains to Yang and cold to Yin, we might say that the climate in Barcelona is Yang in relation to that in Stockholm, but Yin in relation to that in Algiers.
To give another example from Chinese dietary principles, vegetables are generally Yin and meatis generally Yang.
However, within each category there are degrees of Yang or Yin quality: thus, chicken is Yang compared with lettuce but Yin compared with lamb.
Although everything contains Yin and Yang, these are never present in a static 50:50 proportion, but in a dynamic and constantly changing balance.
E.g. the human body's temperature is nearly constant within a very narrow range. This is not the result of a static situation, but of a dynamic balance of many opposing forces.

2. interdependence of Yin and Yang

Although Yin and Yang are opposite, they are also interdependent: one cannot exist without the other
Everything contains opposite forces that are mutually exclusive, but, at the same time, depend on each other
E.g. day cannot come but after the night and vice versa; there cannot be activity without rest, energy without matter or contraction without expansion.

3. mutual consuming of Yin and Yang:

Yin and Yangare in a constant state of dynamic balance which is maintained by a continuous adjustment of their relative levels
If Yin or Yang is out of balance each necessarily affects the other
There are 4 possible states of imbalance:
* preponderance of yin → decrease of Yang (i.e. excess of Yin consumes Yang , excess occurs only in relation to the deficient quality, not as an absolute)
* preponderance of yang → decrease of Yin (i.e. excess of Yang consumes Yin)
* weakness of yin → Yang is in apparent excess
* weakness of yang → Yin is in apparent excess

4. intertransformation of Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang are not static, but they actually transform into each other: Yin can change into Yang and vice versa
This change does not happen at random, but only at a certain stage of development of something
E.g. summer changes into winter, day changes into night, life into death, happiness into unhappiness, heat into cold and vice versa

The transformation happen under two conditions:

1st — internal condition
Things can change only through internal causes primarily, and external causes secondarily
E.g.an egg changes into a chick with the application of heat only because the egg contains within itself the capacity of turning into a chick. Application of heat to a stone will not produce a chick
E.g. wood can turn into coal, but a stone cannot

2nd — condition is the time factor
Yin and Yang can transform into each other only at a certain stage of development, when conditions are ripe for the change
E.g.day cannot turn into night at any time, but only when it has reached its point of exhaustion
E.g.the chick will hatch only when the time is ripe

Application of principles of Yin-Yangin Chinese medicine

Applying the 1st principle of the opposition of Yin Yang to Chinese medicine we could distinguish some of the following correspondences:


* non-substantial/gaseous
* movement/kinetic energy
* transform/transport
* warming
* growing
* excitement/activation

* restless
* dry
* hard
* rapid
* defense
* releasing

* dehydrate
* Qi
* bright
* rising
* top/ superior /head
* above the waist

* back
* exterior (skin-muscles)
* function of organs
* Defensive Qi
* posterior-lateral surface


* substantial/solid
* stability/ static energy
* conserve/store/sustain
* cooling
* aging
* inhibition/inactivity

* quiet
* wet
* soft
* slow
* nourishment
* anchoring

* moisten/saturate
* Blood/Body Fluids
* pale
* descending
* bottom/inferior
* below the waist

* front (chest-abdomen)
* interior (organs)
* structure of organs
* Nutritive Qi
* anterior-medial surface

1. In Chinese medicine the mainprinciple of opposition of Yin-Yangis reflected in:

Opposing functions of the human body:
Yang functions:
Transformation (incl. digestion, absorption), transportation, activation, warming, protection, holding in place, raising, respiration
Yin functions:
Storage, conservation, nourishment, inhibition, moistening, cooling, rooting down

Opposing structures of the human body:
Yin structures:
Storing Yin organs (Zang): Heart, Lungs, Pericardium, Spleen/Pancreas, Liver, Kidneys
Blood, Body Fluids, Essence
Yang structures:
Hollow Yang organs (Fu): Stomach, Gall Bladder, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Bladder, Triple Burner (connective tissue equivalent)
Extraordinary Yang organs: Uterus/Prostate, Brain, Marrow, Bones, Blood Vessels, Gall Bladder
Qi itself

Opposing Internal Organs (Zang Fu)aspects and functions:
Yang organs (Fu):
Yang corresponds to functionand activity, that is why are constantly filling emptying, transforming, separating, excreting the products of food and fluids in order to produce Qi
Are, as most of the Yang organs do, in contact with the Exterior via the mouth, anus, and urethra
Yin organs (Zang):
Yin correspond to structure and sustainment, that is why:
Store the 'pure' essences, called Vital Substances (Qi, Blood, Body Fluids, Essence) resulting from the process of transformation carried out by the Yang organs

Functional activityof all Zang Fu organs represents its Yang aspec t(e.g. transportation transformation/metabolism)
*the structureof all Zang Fu organs, namely, the Blood, Essence or Body Fluid contained within them, pertain to Yinand, thus, represent their Yin aspect
E.g.Spleen’s function of transforming, transporting and producing Qi from the essences extracted from food represent Spleen’s Yang aspect
Qi extracted by Spleen from food is then transformed into Blood andYinso to form the structure of the Spleen itself , which in turn represents Spleen’s Yin aspect
E.g. Liver stores Blood this represents its Yin aspect and its structure
Liver controls the flow of Qi in all parts of the body, this represents its Yang aspect.

Opposing clinical symptomology:

Fire-water opposition:
Although derive from the Five-Element theory, there is an interaction between that and the theory of Yin-

Its balance in the body is crucial, since:

Fire (yang):
Is essential to all physiological processes
In the body represents the physiological firethat keeps active and stokes all metabolic processes is called, Fire of the Gate of Life (Ming Men) and derives from the Kidneys assists Heart in its function of housing the Mind/Shen: if pathology→ Fire declines → Mind will suffer with depression provides warmth necessary to Spleen/Pancreasto transform and transport → Spleen cannot transform and transport
Stimulates Small Intestine function of separation → cannot separate the fluids
Provides the heat necessary to Bladder and Lower Burner to transform and excrete fluids cannot excrete the fluids → oedema
Provides the heat necessary for the Uterus to keep the Blood moving → Uterus turns Cold → infertility
* Fire becomes excessive → has a tendency to flow upwards → manifestations on the top part of the body and head →
Headaches, red eyes, red face, thirst, dry throat, sharp pain in throat

Water (yin):
Has a function of moistening and cooling during all the body's physiological functions
Balance the warming action of the physiological Fire
Originates also from Kidneys
Water become excessive ; water has a tendency to flow downwards → edema of the legs, excessive urination, incontinence

Heat — cold (symptomology)
Excess of Yang is manifested with Heat → feel hot, large single boil that is red and hot to the touch
Excess of Yin is manifested with Cold → feel cold, lower back area very cold to the touch, cold knees ← cold in the kidneys

Redness — paleness
* red complexion indicates excess of Yang
* pale complexion one excess of Yin

Restless— quiet
* restlessness, insomnia, fidgeting or tremors indicates excess of Yang
* quiet behavior, a desire to be immobile, sleepiness indicates excess of Yin

Dry— damp
* symptoms of dryness : dry eyes, dry throat, dry skin, dry stools ← excess of Yang or deficiency of Yin
* symptoms of dampness: watery eyes, runny nose, damp pimples, loose stools ← excess of Yin or deficiency of


Hard— soft
* lumps, swellings or masses that are hard ← excess of Yang
* lumps, swellings or masses that are soft ← excess of Yin

Excitement — inhibition
* state of hyperactivity ←excess of Yang
* state of hypoactivity ← excess of Yin

Rapid heart rate ← excess of Yang of the Heart
* very slow rate← excess of Yin of the Heart

Rapidity— slowness
* movements, walk, speech are rapid ← yang excess
* movements, walk, speech are slow ← yin excess
* symptoms and signs appear suddenly, change rapidly ←yang condition
* appear gradually, change slowly ← yin condition

Substantial — non-substantial

corresponds to a dense, coarse state of aggregation of matter

Keeps things moving and in a state of 'non-substantiality'
E.g. Yang is in harmony and moving →
Qi will flow normally →
Fluids will be transformed and excreted (e.g. the intestines' function of separation and excretion of fluids will be normal)
E.g.Yang is deficient →
Qi stagnates → movement and transformation power of Yang fails →
Energy condenses into form and it becomes 'substantial' (Yin prevails) →
Fluids are not transformed or excreted →
(e.g. Blood is not moved →in time, the stagnation of Qi → stasis of Blood → actual, physical masses or tumors form

Opposing physiological processes as in: transformation/change —conservation/ storage/sustainment:

Corresponds to conservation and storage →
* this is reflected in the function of the Yin organs, which store Blood, Body Fluids, Essence and guard them as precious essences

Corresponds to transformation and change →
This is reflected in the function of the Yang organs, which are constantly filled and emptied and which constantly transform, transport and excrete
All clinical manifestations arise from a separation of Yin and Yang
* in health → Yin and Yang are harmoniously blended in a dynamic balance and cannot be identified as separate → symptoms and signs do not appear

Yin/Yang and Qi/Blood balanced →
* face has a normal colour, is neither too pale nor too red, neither colorless nor too dark, in other words, nothing can be observed, urine has normal pale-yellow colour and of normal amount
* as an analogy mentioned earlier , imagine the Yin-Yang symbol spinning very fast → the white and the black will not be visible because they cannot be separated by the eye
Similarly, when Yin and Yang are balanced and moving harmoniously, they cannot be separated, they are not visible and symptoms and signs will not arise
* Yin/Yang are out of balance → they become separated → too much of one or the other
* yin is in excess → pale face, pale urin, very pale, almost likewater, and profuse
* yang is in excess → face too red, urine is rather dark

We can list main clinical manifestations as follows:


* acute disease
* rapid onset
* rapid changes
* heat
* insomnia

* throws off bed cloths
* likes to lie stretched out
* hot limbs and body
* red face
* likes cold drinks

* loud voice
* talks a lot
* coarse breathing
* thirst
* scanty-dark urination

* constipation
* red tongue, yellow coating
* full pulse


* chronic disease
* gradual onset
* lingering disease
* cold
* sleepiness

* listlessness
* likes to be covered
* likes to curl up
* cold limbs and body
* pale face

* likes hot drinks
* weak voice
* dislikes talking
* shallow, weak breathing
* no thirst

* profuse-pale urination
* loose stools
* pale tongue
* empty pulse

2. the principle of interdependence of Yin-Yang is reflected in:

Yin organs (Zang):
* depend on the Yang ones to produce Qi /Blood from the transformation of food

Yang organs (Fu):
* depend on the Yin ones for their nourishment deriving from Blood and Essence, that are stored by the Yin organs

3. in accordance with the principle that nothing is totally Yang or Yin, each organ or substance contains within itself a Yang and a Yin aspect

* Is Yang in relation to Blood
* Has the role of warming, protecting, transforming raising, all typically Yang functions

* Is a denser, more material form of Qihense is more Yin
* Has the role of nourishing and moistening, which are typically Yin functions

Defensive Qi - Nutritive Qi
Defensive Qi:
* Circulates in the Exterior , that is skin and muscles, a Yang area
* Has the function of protecting and warming body (a Yang function)
Nutritive Qi:
* Circulates in Internal Organs ( Zang Fu), a Yin area
* Has the function ifnourishing the body (Yin function)

4. the principle of mutual consuming of Yin and Yang is reflected in a simple formula:

One increases → the other is consumed, so to preserve the balance

In physiology:
This principle can be applied to regulation of body temperature, sweating, breathing, urination, etc
E.g. if the weather becomes hot (Yangprevalence) → the water (Yin) in the soil dries up and saturatesthe air ( Yin activates)
E.g.weather is hot (Yang) → we sweat more (Yin)
E.g.when the external temperature is very cold (Yin) → the body starts trembling (Yang) in an attempt to produce some heat

In pathology:
Mutual consumption principle can be observed in:
E.g.temperature rise, e.g. during an infectious disease (excess of Yang) →
Exhaustion of Body Fluids (consumption of Yin): →
Pathological Yang signs (symptoms)→ thirst, “red signs”: red tongue/eyes, dry throat/ stool (this is consumption of Yin)
E.g.low (interior or exterior) body temperature (excess of yin) → yang is consumed →
Pathological Yin symptoms → pale tongue, cold hands, fear of wind and cold, white tongue coating (this is consumption of Yang)

Application of principles of Yin-Yang to body structures

Back — front:

The back:
Is the place where all the Yang channels flow and carry Yang energy

Its function is to protectthe body from exterior pathogenic factors

Its acupuncture points used for both to strengthen Yang , thus strengthen resistance to exterior pathogenic factors, and eliminate pathogenic factors after these have already invaded the body

The front (abdomen and chest)
Is the place where all the Yin channels flow and carry Yin energy

Its function to nourish the body → they are often used to

Its acupuncture points are used both to nourish Yin and Blood

Head — body:

Is the topmost area of the body, thus pertains to Yang
Is the place where all the Yang channels either end or begin →

Here Yang energy (be it physiological or pathological) will tend to rise giving rise to yang pathological signs and symptoms e.g. like red face and red eyes

Is easily affected by Yang pathogenic factors such as Wind and Summer-Heat
Points in this area can be used to raise or direct Yang energy downwards

Body (chest and abdomen):
Pertains to Yin
Is easily affected by Yin pathogenic factors such as Cold and Dampness

Exterior — interior of the body

Pertains to Yang
Includes skin and muscles
Its function is to protect the body from exterior pathogenic factors

Includes the Internal Organs
Function of nourishing the body

Above — below waist
above the waist
pertains to Yang, easily affected by Yang pathogenic factors such as Wind, Dryness, Heat
below the waist
pertains to Yin, is easily affected by Yin pathogenic factors such as Cold, Dampness

posterior-lateral and anterior-medial surface of limbs
Yang channels flow on the posterior-lateral surface of limbs
Yin channels on the anterior-medial surface