Yin and Yang is the central concept of ancient Chinese philosophy, in which everything in the universe exists both as opposite elements and in harmony, such as winter and summer, cold and warm.
In Chinese medicine theory, Qi – vital energy or life force – circulates in meridians in the body. There are both Yin Qi and Yang Qi; and good health is the result of the balance of Yin and Yang and good Qi circulation. Because Yin and Yang are constantly changing in the environment, we must respond to these changes accordingly in order to retain the balance of Yin and Yang within and to maintain our health and wellbeing. If we fail to do so, Yin and Yang may become move into disharmony: losing the balance of Yin and Yang causes Qi blockage, disharmony and illness in the body and mind. For example, in the case of injury or stress, the Qi circulation is blocked or stagnated, which causes problems in the body and mind.
According to Chinese medicine, if Yin/Yang imbalance and illness occurs, balance can be regained by unblocking the meridians and the Qi circulation through various techniques, and thus one will be recovered from the illness.
Acupuncture as a method of manipulating Qi and the balance of Yin/Yang was mentioned two thousand years ago, in the first Chinese medicine book, The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon. It describes how thin acupuncture needles inserted into acupuncture points lying along the meridians help clear Qi blockages and allow it to flow without restrictions, and how this establishes good Yin/Yang balance, and therefore health and wellbeing.
Qigong is another technique used in Chinese medicine to create Yin/Yang balance and improve Qi circulation. Qigong is another ancient Chinese healing technique, and it combines body movement, breathing and mental focus. It coordinates the body, breath and mind and opens the flow of energy in meridians used in acupuncture.
Meridians, through which Qi flows, are a central concept in Chinese medicine. They are not observable anatomical structures like bones or nerves, but pathways or lines of energy. The body’s twelve standard meridians are divided into Yin and Yang groups with six of each. Both acupuncture and Qigong aim to help Qi flow along the meridians. They complement each other and together are a powerful combination, intensifying the elimination of Qi blockage and maximising the energy flow to achieve the desirable outcome: good physical and mental wellbeing. For example, six Yin meridians include three in the arms – the Lung, Heart, and Pericardium meridians – and three in the legs – the Spleen, Kidney, and Liver. So strengthening Yin with both acupuncture and Qigong could increase the benefit to your Spleen, Kidney, Liver, Lung and Heart.
Another example: the Guanyuan acupuncture point (three fingers below the belly button) is the crossing point of the three Yin meridians of liver, kidney and spleen. It has a toning influence on the original Qi and soothes the mind by strengthening Yin. This point is also just where the lower Dantian is located, in which dwells the vital energy and essence according to Qigong. So working on this point with both acupuncture and Qigong could be very beneficial for energy flow, strengthening Yin organs, and calming the mind.
Chinese medicine views the human body as a microcosm of the whole. We can work with its different approaches for a thorough approach to health and wellbeing, promoting harmony for ourselves – and for the whole world.
Interested in acupuncture for health + wellbeing?
Maggie Ju is an acupuncture specialist who has practised in London for many years. She supports clients to move towards wellbeing through addressing physical and emotional issues as well as with cosmetic aspects. She specialises in pain, stress and anxiety release, fertility, facial rejuvenation acupuncture and overall energy boosting.
To book an acupuncture treatment with Maggie click here.