Archives for May 2014

What is Yin and Yang anyway?

Most people throughout the world have heard of yin and yang, but very few people really know the unique origins of these incredible concepts. Yin and yang, or yin-yang, as it was originally known, was created in Chinese philosophy thousands of years ago, and has endured through the centuries because of its perfect way of describing everything that we see around us, including ourselves.

Yin-yang is basically the way that there are two forces that make up the universe; yin and yang. They are opposite forces, and for all to be well they need to be balanced. They are interconnected in everything, and in some cases when the balance is wrong, danger and destruction can happen. But yin and yang are not considered to be only philosophical ideals: it is believed that many of life’s natural dichotomies are physical reflections of yin and yang. For example, light/dark, high/low, hot/cold, fire/water, death/life, male/female, sun/moon, and many more. You can probably think of a natural opposite for everything that you see, and that is how yin and yang can be seen in the world. However, yin and yang are not necessarily opposing each other, but often one is required for the other one to exist. For example, you cannot have a dark shadow without light.

The effects of believing in yin and yang can be seen throughout ancient and modern Chinese culture, particularly within Chinese martial arts and medicine. Yin and yang are crucial within disciplines such as Taichi, because it is all about balancing the body and the mind fully to reach a state of relaxation as well as physical fitness. When it comes to Traditional Chinese Medicine, yin and yang once again feature heavily. Much like many other forms of ancient medicine where inner equilibrium is the most important core concept,  it is believed by traditional Chinese medical practitioners that illnesses within the body occurs when there is not a balance of yin and yang. Qi and Blood flow will also be obstructed causing local and systemic illnesses.

Yin and yang is in everything. With every push, there must be a pull. With every light, there must be some dark. That is the way that the world works, and that is the way that our bodies work too. With every stress, there must be a rest. With every toxin, there must be an antidote. By better understanding yin and yang, it is possible to achieve balance within the world, and within ourselves.

What are the acupuncture points?

 

Acupuncture points are all over the human body, and number over four hundred. The idea of acupuncture has been developed from traditional Chinese medicine, and aims to return balance to a body that has become ill due to an imbalance. It is believed that a life force called qi flows through every living thing, including us, and when that goes out of balance or the flow is blocked, then sickness can occur. The qi flows in specific patterns within the human body called meridians, and it is these meridians that acupuncture aims to restore if they are out of balance.

As well as balancing the flow of qi, practitioners of acupuncture also believe that it is important to address the balance of yin and yang within a person’s body. Yin and yang are essentially opposing forces which exist in everything – light/dark, hot/cold, near/far, etc. It is essential that these two forces are balanced within the body, and so acupuncture points are often used to address any issues that a person has in this area. However, the natural balance of a person does not mean that half of them should be yin, and the other hand yang. In fact, the natural balance of a human being’s yin-yang is actually about 2/3 yang and 1/3 yin, and the acupuncture points reflect this.

The most common method of acupuncture is to gently push needles into the body at the acupuncture points in order to re-direct the flow of qi. This may look very painful, but it is not! The point at which the needle goes in may not be close to where the sickness is, but further up the path of the meridian to sort out the flow of qi. Acupuncture points are often where nerves will enter into a muscle, the middle of a muscle, or where a muscle joins a bone.

Acupuncture points are often titled with a traditional Chinese name, as well as the meridian that they lie on and a number. This makes it possible for everyone that practises acupuncture to understand that they are discussing the same parts of the body. There are specific acupuncture points that are believed to heal certain organs or conditions, and when these points are stimulated using a needle, then the flow of qi is restored to how it should be, allowing the body to naturally heal itself.