YinYang Medical Theory
Fragmentsof manuscripts that contained medical text were discovered in earlyHan tombs. The texts are said to may have been written by Huang Di,the Yellow Emperor in the 3rdmillennium BCE during his reign. The text was originally known asHuangdiNeijing.It was later translated and entitled ‘The Yellow Emperor’sClassic of Medicine.’ It was written in the form of dialoguebetween Huang Di, the Yellow Emperor, and his physician, as theemperor inquired about his health and treatment. The physician advicewas given to the Emperor to use taowhichnormally involved the learning natural universe to keep healthy. Itfocuses on the Taoism theory (Unschuld 299).
Thetexts covered the general theory of Yin and Yang. These texts alsoexpounded on the medical surgery, casting spells, drugs, andgymnastics. The ancient texts were the source of knowledge aboutmedication. They exhibited verse knowledge of biology, particularlyunderstanding of the human body. According to them, the organs in ahuman body worked in harmony and there needed to be that harmony, andinterdependence. Therefore, for the early medics in TraditionalChinese Medicine, the understanding of Yin and Yang was essential inthe diagnosis and treatment of diseases (Ebrey 77).
TraditionalChinese Medicine (TCM) was produced from a keen study of Yin andYang. Yin and Yang are two opposite forces that are interdependent.Yin has some elements of Yang while Yang has some elements of Yin.Yin can be converted to Yang and Yang can be converted to Yin thoughit is a gradual change. A good example is that Yin refers to darknesswhile Yang refers to light. Therefore, if we take an example of dayand night, Yang will be the day and Yin will be the night. A day canchange into a night, and a night can change to a day. It is a gradualchange yet none is absolute. The absence of a day leads to night yetthe presence of a day drives away a night.
Inthe ancient Asian or Chinese society, there were no sophisticatedmeans of handling diseases. However, diseases existed. Therefore,there was a need to understand the causes of these diseases so thatthey would be treated to reduce the mortality rate. According to theancient medics, Yin and Yang needed to be balanced. The imbalance wasthe cause of diseases. Despite being opposite forces, they neededeach other, and it was essential for them to remain in harmony(Wallner 71).
Understandingof Yin and Yang can be steered by the understanding of the universe.Confining one’s thoughts to the earth and the physical world alonewould not enhance the knowledge of these two forces. According to thereligious context, Yang can be viewed as the heaven, the forces oflight that are essential yet capable of bringing destruction. The Yincan be viewed as the Earth, forces of darkness that are soconservative and filled with peace. In the human body, the Yang isthe exterior part and involves the functioning of the body organs aswell as the energy source.
Inthe theory of anatomy and physiology, it is the upper part of thebody, the outside region and the back side. On the other hand, Yin isthe interior part that focuses on the body structure and blood andbody fluids (Ebrey78).In body anatomy, it is the lower part of the body, the interior partas well as the abdominal region. In the generation of the balance,the Yin is tangible while the Yang is intangible. Yin is the physicalbody while Yang is the spiritual part of the body. Yin creates sensesin the physical body, and when the physical body dies, it changesinto the spirit that is supported by Yang (Ebrey78).
Thereis a constant change of Yin and Yang. However, despite the change,harmony is continuously restored. In a situation where the Yin standsfor the cold and Yang is heat, they should be moderated. Excessivecold can freeze up a body and lead to death. Excessive heat can alsocause suffocation and constipation hence death. Therefore, these twotemperatures should be put in balance in order to keep a personhealthy. Excessive cold can be countered by the introduction of someheat to warm up a body. On the other hand, excessive heat can becountered by an introduction of some low temperatures. Therefore, forthe healing purpose, one should know the causes of a condition tocounter the condition through an introduction of the antidote (Aungand William 5).
Thepathogenic diseases can be divided into the yin pathogens and theyang pathogens. The yin pathogens, as well as deficiency of yang,have coldness symptoms. These symptoms include cold bodies coveredwith perspiration, and also having the sick people tremble. The faceis pale, they have low spirits, and they feel cold, tired and weak.Their voice is low, they have reduced appetite, there is no taste inthe mouth, and there is a little thirst (Zhang 66). In addition,their urine is copious and clear. Their tongue material is swollenand the tongue color is pale. The pulse is weak, frail, slow andsinking. They have poor digestion and to the extreme cases, they mayend up with death (Zhang 66).
Accordingto Zhang (66) the Yang pathogens and the yin deficiency have the heatsymptoms. The bodies are hot, and the sick have difficulties inperspiration since the pores are closed. The mouths dry up and cancontain some sores. Since the mouth is dry, they feel thirsty. Theface is red, and they have a fever. They feel agitated. The voice iscoarse and strong. The breathing is the course and heavy. The urineis smelly and dark. The tongue is red, and there is black or yellowmoss on the tongue. The pulse is rapid and floating, flooded andstrong, slippery and full. They constipate due to poor digestion andincreased gas in the stomach and to the extreme condition.
Thetreatment aims at replacing the deficient items in the body.Different herbs are used to replenish the lacking condition. Coldherbs restore yin while the hot herbs renew yang. Needles were usedto insert the replenishing herbs into the body tissues (Ebrey79).In other words, learning and understanding the symptoms of thevarious conditions would help someone to know the appropriatemedication. Using the wrong antidote would mean increment of what oneis trying to reduce in the body hence death.
Thecontent found in Han Tombs was essential in the scientific study ofhuman anatomy, the body diseases and drugs. It is the earliestmedical documentation that applies to date. TCM’s healing approachhelp individuals to study their lives and see what is not working.When one realizes the cause of the problem, they counter it byreviving what was lost (Wallner 71). In case the lifestyle causessome health problems, the individual can change to a betterlifestyle.
Diseasescaused by emotions, belief and lifestyle, do not require medicaltreatment mostly because they are a result of interference of theyin yang balance. The sick person requires changing their way of lifeand embraces a life of living with a balance that does not causediseases. In today life, diseases like obesity are treated byexercise and changes in the diet that a person takes. Mental illnessrequires counseling sessions to get through the stressing matter(Wallner 71).
Thecontent of the book is also very essential to understanding thetraditional Chinese medicine. Those interested in the knowledge ofthe origin of the scientific study of medicine in Chinese can referto ‘The Yellow Emperors Classics of Medicine’ text. The contentmay seem primitive and outdated. However, it is applicable up todate. The ancient medics in the Chinese custom understood that thebody aging was a source of sickness. It was associated with thereduced Yin. Therefore, there was a need to keep the Yin renewed,that is to keep the body vigorous. Currently, it is evident that somediseases are associated with aging. Such diseases like arthritis canbe avoided by adopting a healthy lifestyle that will promote an agedlife free of such diseases (Unschuld299).
Inconclusion, Yin and Yang concept was the basis of the study of humanhealth and treatment in the ancient China. To achieve a healthy body,the two opposite energies were needed to be kept in balance and inharmony. It was enhanced through the use of herbs, appropriate diet,medical injection and also guiding a patient to adopt a healthylifestyle (Aung and William 5). An elaborate understanding of thedisease symptoms enabled the physicians to know the appropriatediagnosis as well as treatment.
Aung,Steven K. H, and William P.-D. Chen. ClinicalIntroduction to Medical Acupuncture.New York: Thieme, 2009. Print.
Ebrey,Patricia Buckley. ChineseCivilization,ASourcebook.York City: Simon and Schuster. 2014,Print.
Unschuld,Paul U, Hermann Tessenow, and Jinsheng Zheng. HuangDi Nei Jing Su Wen: An Annotated Translation of Huang Di`s InnerClassic – Basic Questions, 2 Volumes, Volumes of the Huang Di NeiJing Su Wen Project.Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Print.
Wallner,Fritz G. TheWay of Thinking in Chinese Medicine: Theory, Methodology andStructure of Chinese Medicine.Frankfurt, M. [u.a.: Lang, 2010. Print.
Zhang,Wen-Ran. YinyangBipolar Relativity: A Unifying Theory of Nature, Agents and Causalitywith Applications in Quantum Computing, Cognitive Informatics andLife Sciences.Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, 2011. Print