Traditional Chinese Medicine and Wellness Culture


Traditional Chinese Medicine and Wellness Short Series by CIUA


Yin and Yang -the philosophy of TCM


    If you would like to learn something about Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM),you should start with the mysterious conception of Yin-Yang,which is the fundamental theory of TCM.Yin and Yang originated from Chinese ancient philosophy and is a general term for two opposites interrelated things or phenomena in the natural world.

    For example,Yin and Yang may be used to refer to two opposite sides of an object,the side facing the sun is yang and the reverse side is yin.As sun moves,the Yin-Yang may also change Yin-Yang features in a relative sense.

    From an extensively long history of practice and observing,the ancient Chinese people came to understand that the opposition and wax-wane“消长”[1] of Yin-Yang are inherent in all things.Yi Zhuan《易传》[2]says,Yin and Yang are what is so called Dao《道》 (Dao means the basic law of the unity of opposites in the universe). In other words, everything in the universe contains Yin and Yang.

    And it is further believed that Yin and Yang does not only represent two opposites of an object but can also be used to analyze two opposite aspects existing in a single entity.Generally speaking,things and phenomena which are dynamic,bright,hot,functional,etc...pertain to the category of Yang;while those that are static,dark,cold, substantial ,etc...pertain to that of Yin.

    The Yin-Yang theory holds that the developed and changes of everything in the universe result from the unity of two opposites between Yin and Yang.

    According to Huangdi Neijing《黄帝内经》[3],Yin and Yang are the law of heaven and earth;the principles of all things;the parents of all changes,and the origin of life and death.The Yin and Yang theory is an important constituent of the theoretical system of TCM,and runs through every aspect of TCM system.It is used to explain the physiology and pathology of the body and to guide clinical diagnosis and treatment as well as disease prevention.



[1]Wax-Wane, the interrelationship between Yin and Yang, it has the character of mutual growth and decline.

[2]YiZhuan《易传》,the book telling changes in ancient China,is the origination of China’s philosophy.

[3]Huangdi Neijing《黄帝内经》,the earliest medical book written in two thousand years ago.The book symbolize the Chinese medical accomplishment before Spring-warring states in the China.