A friend of mine invited me to give her group a talk about Chinese Medicine. This made me think how to explain Chinese medicine properly. Chinese Medicine is a sacred medicine came from the ancient knowledge and has been practised for thousands of years. It came from how our ancestors perceive the universe and the relationship between man and the universe. In simple words Chinese Medicine came from the ancient Chinese philosophy in particular the Taoism.
One of the most important philosophy in Chinese Medicine is the unity of man and Universe. In Chinese words 天人合一 – Man and Universe are one.
The Universe has its law. There are four seasons and there are days and nights. These are energy and the movements of the energy. In Chinese Medicine we call Qi. In order to describe the energy and it is movement. Our Chinese ancestors used simple but effective systems called Yin Yang system and the Five Element system.
So what is Yin and Yang? Yin and Yang are the 2 sides of the same energy. The universe has one energy but this energy has its movement. For example day shifts into night and back into day. We use Yin to describe the energy in its night form and Yang to describe the energy in its day form. In Tao De Ching from Lao Tzu it says:
The Tao begot one.
One begot two.
Two begot three.
And three begot the ten thousand things.
The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang.
They achieve harmony by combining these forces.
Are Yin and Yang two separate energy? No Yin energy has Yang in it and Yang energy comes from Yin. For example in the Mid day the Yang energy reaches its maximum at the same time the Yin energy is in minimum and starts to grow. In the mid night the Yin energy reaches its maximum and Yang energy is in minimum and starts to grow. The Yin and Yang are two energy forces that are constantly moving and interchanging. In China Yin and Yang energy and its movement is described in the Tai Chi chart.
The white part represents the Yang energy and the black part represents the Yin energy. The Yang embraces Yin and Yin embraces Yang.
Su Wen of the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classics was written more than 2000 years ago. The book is a conversation between Yellow Emperor and a sage. It is one of the most important medicine book in the Chinese Medicine history and it is still being studied and used today. Part of the book is about how to live according to the universal law and preserve good health. The basic principle is that man should live according to the universal law.
For example the Yin and Yang energy movements throughout the day and nights are also happening in the human body. Yin and Yang energy stores in the Kidney and comes from our Kidney essence in Chinese Medicine. During the day the Yang energy grows and gives us the energy to be warm and to do our daily activities. This Yang energy reaches its maximum in the midday and starts to reduce until the midnight it becomes minimum. From the midnight the Yang energy starts to grow again. Yin energy reaches its minimum in the midday and starts to grow until it reaches to its maximum in the midnight and then starts to reduce. Yin and Yang energy are constantly moving and interchanging. This is the reason why human needs to sleep at night. When the Yang energy reduced to the minimum we should keep our activities to the minimum too. The midnight is Zishi between 11:00 pm to 1:00 am. It is a critical time to sleep. Long term insomnia or staying late at night will consume both the Yin and Yang energy particularly the Yin energy as the Yang energy comes from the Yin energy. When the Yin energy becomes deficient the Yang energy will be relatively in excess. The imbalance will show heat signs like mouth ulcer, toothaches, bleeding in the gum, headache, agitations etc etc. Also in the evenings when the Yang energy is low it is not suitable to do exertive exercises but instead to relax the body and the mind.
All the diseases after all comes from the imbalance of the Yin and Yang energy in Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture, Herbs and Moxibustion are ways to help our body to restore the balance of Yin and Yang.
In the next article i will talk about the Yin and Yang movements in the four seasons and also explain how the Five Elements system work in relation to seasons and human health.
Copyright Lei Xue