In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), balance is critical to good physical and mental health. This fundamental principle is evident in popular TCM health foods: for example, the benefits of bird’s nest and cordyceps in Chinese medicine emphasise the importance of restoring balance to the body and improving overall health and well-being rather than focusing on a singular aspect of the body.
Read on to find out more about restoring balance in the body using the yin and yang theory.
Defining Yin and Yang
Yin and yang theory forms the foundation on which TCM practitioners understand health and wellness.
Yang, which translates to “sun,” refers to heat, light, and masculinity. It is responsible for warming and activating the body and its functions.
Yin, which translates to “shadow,” refers to the cold, slow, wet, and feminine. It is responsible for providing the body with moisture that helps it function.
Both are aspects or manifestations of qi (vital energy) and are equal and opposite elements that complement each other. Each side contains an element of the other.
Yin and yang are codependent and share a dynamic relationship: when yin increases, yang decreases, and vice versa.
Patterns of Disharmony
The human body tends towards harmony. However, poor lifestyle and dietary habits may lead to a yin-yang imbalance.
Yin deficiency is mainly caused by high stress levels and excessive consumption of heaty food, such as caffeine and alcohol. It may also occur when women go through menopause as the decline in oestrogen production may lead to a decrease in yin.
Overwork and excessive consumption of cold foods may result in yang deficiency, making you feel colder than usual. You may also have sticky perspiration, reduced appetite, and clammy hair.
According to TCM, tai chi helps restore your yin-yang balance.
TCM believes that tai chi helps regulate and balance the flow of qi with its slow and gentle movements. It also seeks to release negative emotions like stress and anger, which can disrupt the natural yin-yang balance in the body.
Foods are either yin or yang.
Consuming too much yang food may cause your body to become heaty and dry. Conversely, overeating yin food slows down your digestive processes and causes you to feel more fatigued. Therefore, it is essential to cultivate a deficiency is body heat and note what category each food type falls under.
Those who seek to replenish low yin levels should seek out foods that are cooling and moistening, like leafy greens and coconut water.
Those who experience yang deficiency should avoid cold and raw foods. One way to add warmth to cold food is to add yang nourishing ingredients such as ginger and cinnamon into your food.
Various TCM herbs can help restore balance to your yin-yang health. In particular, ginseng helps to reduce stress levels, an underlying cause of imbalance, while nourishing your yin levels.
Herbs like liquorice root replenish your yang levels, facilitating digestion and encouraging vitality.
There are 12 major acupuncture points that are found on acupuncture meridians, half of which are yin and the other half are yang.
By selecting the appropriate meridians, practitioners can unblock your qi and restore balance to the body.
Yin-yang theory is fundamental to Chinese philosophy, culture, and medicine. It emphasises the importance of harmony and balance and can be regulated with lifestyle and dietary changes. It is crucial to evaluate your needs; if you are experiencing yin or yang deficiency, it is recommended that you follow the aforementioned tips to restore balance in your body.
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