Updated: Nov 10, 2019
By Victoria Konidaris, L.Ac.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the concept of Yin and Yang provides the foundation for diagnosing and treating illness and understanding health. Yin and Yang was first referenced in ancient Chinese texts dating back to 700BC and the earliest inscriptions of the characters date back to the 14th century BC. TCM has a long and rich history and is one of the oldest forms of medicine predated only by Egyptian and Babylonian medicine. The fact that TCM has existed for thousands of years and is still practiced today is a testament to its value as a form of healthcare.
Aspects of Yin and Yang include interdependence and connection which is contrasted by conflicting and opposing elements causing a constant state of flux while continually seeking balance and equilibrium.
Yin and Yang
Female - Male
Darkness - Light
Moon - Sun
Rest - Activity
Negative - Positive
Balancing Yin and Yang
Although Yin and Yang are opposite in nature they depend on one another. They are in a continual state of change while seeking an equilibrium to be able to function properly. Lifestyle, habits, diet and exercise affect the balance of the body's Yin Yang ratio. A person who exercises too much or works long hours without sufficient rest (too much Yang) will place excess stress on the body depleting their energy reserves (decreased Yin) resulting in a Yin - Yang imbalance.
In TCM, Yin and Yang balance closely correlates to our internal bodily functions and cycles and can be portrayed by the body’s hormone levels that fluctuate naturally.
Hormonal balance is very important for health and wellbeing. In females it is normal for hormones to shift during the menstrual cycle, increase during pregnancy and decrease leading up to menopause. However if the body is out of balance and produces too much or too little of a required hormone a hormonal imbalance occurs. Factors such as too much stress, a poor diet, a recent illness, too much exercise or toxicity due to the side effects of medications are just some factors that may disrupt hormonal balance.
From a TCM perspective hormonal balance occurs when Yin and Yang interchange smoothly and effortlessly allowing natural change and transformation to occur.
Supporting Hormonal Balance
Avoid junk or fast food
Eat organic produce and whenever possible hormone free meat; pesticides, chemicals and hormones used in food production contain synthetic substances that negatively affect our organ and endocrine systems
Add more cruciferous vegetables to your diet including cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower, the consumption of which has shown to decrease heart disease, strokes and cancer
Balance your work life and take time to do things that you enjoy
Avoid nicotine and excessive alcohol
Treatments as well as subtle lifestyle changes can greatly assist to restore balance in the body to promote equilibrium and preserve health and wellbeing.
“... to create order within disorder; harmony amongst discord. Life is, whether we like it or not, out of balance most of the time. We seek ways to rebalance and, once there, we try to maintain an equilibrium. Sleep more, work less. Laugh more, stress less. Listen more, talk less. Give more, take less. Risk more, fear less.” Boag, Z. Balance. New Philosopher, Issue 24, #2/2019.