Components of Yin and Yang

| February 8, 2010 | 2 Comments | 1,495 views
This article describes the various properties of Yin and Yang ,You can use the table to easily know the meaning of Yin and Yang.
 Components of Yin and Yang
 Yin  Yang
 Cold  Hot
 Passive  Active
 Damp  Dry
 Solid  Hollow
 Ascending  Descending
 Contracting  Dispersing
 Nutrition  Protection
 Substance  Function


Generally speaking,this means that the patient feels cold or feels cold to the therapist’s touch but it also refers to symptoms that worsen during cold weather or on exposure to cold (for example, when the air conditioning is activated on a warm day). Cold causes the skin to adopt a pale or blue appearance; if inflammation such as tendonitis or cellulitis is present, then the skin may exhibit pale , blue and reddish marbling. Cold is generally caused by yang deficiency or by Blood deficiency, ie there is insufficient Blood to circulate warmth around the body.
 This refers to an inactive person or a hypoactive organ, or a symptom that worsens during rest or passivity. Moderate exercise and physical activity warms the body, bringing colour to the cheeks and moisture to the skin through sweating.It also improves the metabolism and function of the heart and other internal organs.It firms the muscles and improves the functional energy (Qi). Lack of exercise has the opposite effect-the circulation of blood and fluid is sluggish and does not reach the periphery, the skin appears pale and dull, and organs are slow in function.Skin symptoms of a yin-dominant nature tend to stay fixed in one or two sites and change little over a long period.


This refers to thin fluid which moistens the skin surface, the mucous mem-branes and the tendons, giving them softness and elasticity.An excess of wetness could be caused by water retention, and hyperhidrosis (see p.125) can be the result of poor skin function-leading to open pores even when it is not warm. This term also refers to stagnation of thick fluid, such as sebaceous secre-tions, oedema and cellulite, or fat tissue under the skin.Another term for this thick fluid is phlegm.The thick or the fatty fluids may result from excessive consumption of oily foods or refined sugar and carbohydrates.


This is a term that describes the yin internal organs,but it can also be used to describe the appearance of cysts and tumours that result from stagnation of thick fluids.These solid forms result from two causes:

■ The functional energy(Qi)becomes retarded because of a diet high in cold and raw foods that slows down metabolism,combined with no exercise.This causes stagnation of thick fluids,which form into solid tumours and cysts.

■ The thin fluids within the thick fluids dry out,causing them to become too thick,too solid,with resulting difficulty in flowing.


Cold and wet have a downward movement.If one warms a pot of water on a fire,the warm water moves upwards while the water at the bottom of the pot, although it is closer to the heat source, is colder.Oedema, for example, acts in the same way, manifesting more often in the lower extremities.

      Skin diseases restricted to the lower parts of the body, in contrast to those occurring in the upper parts, are more commonly yin diseases (egeczema, fungal infections in the perineum, varicose eczema and ulcers). The separat-ing point between the upper and lower body is considered to be the navel. Typically, arthritic joint pains of a yin -dominant nature also manifest in the lower joints rather than in the neck and arms.
       Cold causes us to curl up into the fetal position.Thus, illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoporosis and depression, which cause patients to assume this particular posture, are said to be yin diseases.
      However, 'contracting'also refers to the fact that skin closes and muscles tighten when cold, and energy moves towards the interior, leaving the exterior without sufficient Blood or warmth.This would mean that the immune system (the Wei Qi), which should be at the skin surface to protect the body from external climatic pathogenic factors, becomes less powerful.
          The Spleen and the Stomach are the most important nourishing organs of the body, and they nourish all organs and tissues of the body.The Spleen stores the nutrition from the food and drink we consume, and distrib-utes this nutrition through the blood to all parts of the body, particularly the periphery.Thus, conditions such as thin and wrinkly skin or dry and cracked lips or heels can have one of two causes: (i) inadequate nutrition, iea lack of protein, milk products or carbohydrate in the diet; or (ii) poor distribution of nutrition-poor functional Qi of Spleen-due to a diet of cold and raw food, or eating too much too late in the evenings.
         Again, faulty nutrition, such as excessive consumption of refined carbo - hydrates and sugar, or of fatty and oily foods, can result in a fatty and thick skin, giving the appearance of unclean skin and affecting the function of the sebaceous glands and their secretions to the skin surface.
         This refers to fluid, nutrition, blood or waste matter that either is in con-stant circulation or is part of the elimination cycle.This term also can relate to body weight, quantity of stool, urine and menstrual bleeding.The more substance there is, the more yin there is, and vice versa.



        This means that the the diseased area is hot to touch and red in colour or the patient feels hot or burning.

        In skin diseases, for example eczema, acne and urticaria, heat can be caused by inflammation or allergies.
        Heat symptoms can also be caused by a state of yin deficiency, when the yang is relatively dominant and occasionally increases even further because of poor control. In this case, dryness would also be present.
      A normal amount of activity in an organ or a person would not be an imbalanced state, but being hyperactive is a yang-dominant symptom. Hyperactivity can be caused by a simple yang excess state or by a yin defi-ciency state, causing recurrent episodes of rising, uncontrolled yang.
      This would result in the skin being hypersensitive and reacting quickly to allergens.Sweating, for example, could be quick and excessive when hot.
      Yang-dominant symptoms tend to travel over the body (wandering nature) whereas yin symptoms remain confined one area.
      We should be concerned not just about the black and white areas (ie either extremely slow or fast activity) but also about the grey areas (ie small changes) as these also represent problems.In Western medicine, doc - tors strive to lower blood cholesterol levels to below 4 mmol / L but do not consider a pulse rate of 85 or passing stools only twice a week a problem. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is important to detect and treat tenden-cies towards yin - or yang-dominant states, because these are easier to cure. A very severe imbalance or one that has been treated aggressively with medication is very difficult to cure.
    This means that there is less thin fluid, so a yin deficiency (thus a yang dominance). Symptoms include dry or hard skin with peeling or cracks, and sparse, straw-like body hair.
    Dry skin looks old and ages fast, and many thin wrinkles appear in these affected areas.The skin around the eyes, mouth, elbows, knees, hands and feet is especially prone to dryness.People who spend time in the sun tend to have dry skin on the exposed areas of their body.


This again refers to the yang internal organs,which are mainly functional organs such as the intestines and the bladder.Skin that is not firm and can be pinched upwards like tissue paper is caused by a yin deficiency.


Heat has an upward disposition.Dryness causes lightness,which will also rise.Therefore,yang-dominant symptoms tend to manifest primarily in the upper part of the body.Examples include eczema or neurodermatitis on the face,neck,thorax and arms,and also urticaria and acne.Interestingly,the skin in the lower part of the body is often quite clear,the level of the navel being the point of division between the upper and lower body.


       Sweating is perhaps the best example of a dispersing function.Dispersion involves moving from the interior to the exterior; a food allergy which mani-fests as urticaria would be a good example-even though the pathogenic factor is consumed internally, the body reaction is manifested externally.
      Dispersion is a healthy reaction of the immune system, which eliminates disease-causing factors.Excess heat or fever can be eliminated by skin function.
      When dispersion is not good, pathogenic factors stay in the interior and cause injury to the skin and internal organs.


The skin is our armour and protects the body from attack by external factors.As the skin is directly associated with the Lung,a poor immune system–a poor Wei Qi–means poor Lung function.However,this can be strengthened by tonifying(increasing)the yang of the Lung.

        Function is what we call Qi.Function and substance go together.For example, if blood is the substance, then circulation would be the function; if water is the substance, then its distribution and elimination is the function.If there is excess fluid in the body, urination should increase; when there is dryness in the body, urination should reduce-this demonstrates good function.
       Consider the earlier example of sweating: it is possible for someone to sweat spontaneously, especially in the cold areas of the body. This is caused by poor function, as opening the skin to eliminate sweat and closing the skin to stop sweating are both functions of the skin.Good function would be to be able to decide correctly when it should disperse and when it should not.
        The yin and yang relate constantly and predictably to each other, creat-ing continuous changes in the energy state.These changes are called con-tradiction, interconsumption, lack of control and consequent hyperactivity of yang or stagnation of yin, and intertransformation.These relationships are covered in detail in my previous book, Energetics of Acupuncture.
        It is important to appreciate the different ways in which the yin and yang relate to each other, otherwise it will be very difficult to understand the rest of this book.

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