Yin and Yang – Using the Force

I sometimes like to imagine what life
was like for folks a hundred years ago, even 200 years ago.
I romanticize that times then were perhaps simpler in many ways than they are now, but history shows that every era has had it’s hardships as well as benefits. 

Acupuncture has been around longer than recorded history, coming through many eras of human civilization, and more recently being accepted and practised not just in Asia, but world-wide. The interesting thing is that although humans have changed the way they live and the environment around them so much in such a short period of time, acupuncture has not become irrelevant or out-dated. It works on all the modern afflictions of stressed-induced illnesses as well as it did on the physical ailments that were more common in a society that primarily worked outside in the elements, gathering and cultivating food, or travelling long distances to the market place on foot.

Why does acupuncture work so well today in modern society as it did thousands of years ago? Acupuncture continues to work in modern times because of the unchanging relationship of Yin and Yang, of which all of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine theory is based. The theory of Yin and Yang explains the relationship of all things, cycles and changes in the Universe, and is immutable.

Let me briefly describe the four basic parts of Yin Yang Theory:

  1. Yin and Yang is all about comparisons, and symbolizes how we relate to everything we perceive in ourselves and in the environment. To put it simply, we compare everything by it’s relativity to something else in order to understand it – how else would we describe the night if we didn’t have daylight? Cold if we didn’t have hot? Wet if we didn’t have dry? Illness if we didn’t have health? Darth Vadar if we didn’t have Luke Skywalker? In this way, Yin and Yang are inseparable.
  2. Yin and Yang theory also realizes that nothing is absolute in its relativity – everything is relative not only to something else, but within itself – you may think that in Victoria the summers are cool, but compared to summer in Antarctica, we are probably pretty warm here. There is no such thing as the absolute in darkness or light, despite what a Jedi Knight or the Dark Side might tell you.
  3. Within Yin, there is always a seed (or potential) of Yang. Within Yang there is always a seed (or potential) of Yin. So that in Winter, there is always the seeds of spring waiting beneath the frozen ground for the potential of Spring. Within Darth Vadar’s dark heart, there was a seed of fatherly love that showed mercy to Luke at the crucial moment.
  4. Yin in extreme will transform into Yang, Yang in extreme will transform into Yin – this means there is a limit of  how much or how far a Yin state of being can go before it starts to change into Yang. The same goes for Yang – you can only go so far in extreme with Yang before it starts to change into Yin. Just look at the seasons and the solstices – after the shortest day of the year at winter solstice (the darkest time – Yin), the days start to grow longer again, and the same goes for summer solstice (the lightest time – Yang), after which point the days start to grow shorter once more. It represents a cycle that can happen gradually, but also how things can suddenly flip to its reverse during extremes, like an extreme chill to the body that can result in a high fever afterwards. Or Anakin Skywalker gradually being lured over to the Dark Side.

Acupuncture is based on Yin and Yang theory, in diagnosis and application. Acupuncturists use the Yin and Yang meridians (energetic pathways running through the body) to bring the body back into balance, choosing specific points due to their Yin and Yang qualities to encourage the body’s natural healing processes. And no matter how “modern” we become, or how far away from our ancestral roots of hunting and gathering, or how far out into space we go, the Force of Yin Yang will never change. 

~Melissa De Haan, TCM.P.




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