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Yin and Yang – finding a balance


In Naturopathic Medicine one of the modalities that we use is Traditional Chinese Medicine – yin and yang is perhaps the most important theory within this medicine.

The idea is that everything can be reduced to yin and yang, and it is a balance of both that is needed for good health.

There is a definite duality between yin and yang a few examples of this are listed below.

Yang Yin
Light Darkness
Activity Rest
Produces energy Produces form
Expansion Contraction
Back body Front body
Exterior (skin-muscles) Interior (organs)
Defensive Nutriative
Hot Cold
Restless Quiet
Acute disease Chronic disease

There are 4 aspects which summarize the relationship between yin and yang.

  1. Yin an Yang are in opposition – a great example of this human body temperature although the average reported as 37°C, activitity levels and hormones can cause this to shift throughout the day.
  2. Yin and Yang are interdependant – in the human body this can be compared – to exercise, as your output increases your lungs breath deeper and heart pumps more blood in response increased need.
  3. Yin and Yang exist in a state of mutual consumption – if yin energy is being overconsumed yang energy symptoms are more prodominant.  This can be likened to menopause and hot flashes – as estrogen (yin hormone) declines compared to progesterone (yang hormone) the result is symptoms (hot flashes).
  4. Yin and Yang will intertransform – an example is if you are burning the candle at both ends (utilizing lots of yang energy) you eventually reach a point where only yin energy is left and you crash and are forced to rest.

Winter is the most yin time of the year, it’s cold, dark, and thus our health is best supported by activities and foods that nourish yin.

Coming into the New Year there is often many good intentions, but balance should be maintained throughout.

Activities that support building yin include restorative yoga, tai chi, qigong, and walking.

Foods are also a key in supporting yin from within.  Individuals should eat cooked, spicy yang foods this includes soups, slow-simmered stews, beans, roasted root vegetables, and warm drinks.  Additions of spices such as garlic, ginger, black pepper, cloves, and basil to increase the warming effect.  This is not the time of year to switch to salads.

If you are looking for a relaxing way to balance yin and yang consider ACUPUNCTURE, this is a none painful way to support balance within the body (and is usually covered under extended health care benefits).

Contact me for more information.



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