Yin and Yang

What are yin and yang? You’ve probably heard the terms, and seen the symbol, but do you know that when you come for acupuncture, yin and yang are fundamental to how I will treat you?

Yin and yang represent balancing opposites: light/dark, rising/sinking, hot/cold, noise/quiet, activity/rest. We need both in our lives to function. When they get out of balance, there are problems. If I see there is excess in one, I can choose points to calm over activity, or other points to nourish a deficiency where it exists.

Heat is a good example. A person can be too hot either from excess yang, which is hot, or too little yin, which is cool. Symptoms caused by excess yang tend to be more pronounced than those caused by insufficient yin – it makes sense that too much of something would show a stronger effect. Think of someone who is hot all the time, and never wears a hat in winter versus someone who gets hot flashes occasionally, then bundles up again when the surge is over. The first person can handle a more aggressive, yang-calming treatment than the second, who needs a boost for the yin.

Our culture tends to be very yang: it’s busy, loud and tending to devalue more contemplative yin aspects. Many people experience burn out from the relentless yang-ness of a hectic life. Coming in for a treatment, doing some gentle yoga, walking in the woods and meditating are all excellent ways to nourish the yin.

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