Welcome to Millwoods Acupuncture Centre

Millwoods Acupuncture Center
102, 2603 Hewes Way
Edmonton AB,   Canada

Phone: (780) 466-8683



Understanding the Yin and Yang theory

Yin and Yang is a very important concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as in whole Chinese Culture. It is a way for Chinese to summarize the law of the nature, to make complex things simple to understand and to handle.

The basic idea of the Yin and Yang theory is: the world, the nature even the whole universe is consisted by two items: Yin and Yang.

Any thing or matter will belong to Yang, if it is top or outside in position, if it is warm in temperature, bright in light, active in activity, male in sex….. Any thing or matter will belong to Yin, if it is in bottom or inside in position, cold in temperature, dark in light, inactive in activity, female in sex…

You can find the Yin-and-Yang relationship in any aspects of our life. The morning is Yang, and the afternoon is Yin. The day time is Yang and the night will be the Yin. The summer is Yang, so the winter is Yin. The red color is Yang, then the dark could be Yin. High temperature is Yang, then low temperature is Yin. Growing is Yang, shrink is Yin. Young is Yang, then old is Yin. Sun rise is Yang, then Sun set is Yin. You can also say that husband is Yang and wife is Yin. The boss is Yang and the employee is Yin. Teacher is Yang and student is Yin.

Both Yin and Yang is in a dynamic movement.

With more Yang in a thing, there will be less Yin consistently. With more increase in the Yin, there will be less Yang as well. When the Yang comes to its peak, it will turn to its opposite: the Yin. In the same way, when the Yin comes to its peak, it will also turn to its opposite: the Yang.

After the noon, the sun shine is reducing, so the Yang is reducing, while the Yin is increasing. Upon midnight, the Yin comes to its peak and then the Yin starts to reduce and the Yang starts to accumulate again and reaches its peak again at the noon.

Parents and children are also a Yang-and-Yin relationship. The parents are in a dominating position to grow up the children, so they are the Yang in the family. With growth of the children, they becomes more independent and have their own idea for life, so the Yang aspect growing in children too. Upon the retirement of parents and the complete independence of the children, the Yang aspects of the parents reducing and the previous children becomes the Yang in the family.

The Eastern is the Yang. If you go towards the west, you are away the Yang and towards the Yin more and more. When you come to the another side of the earth, you come to the peak of the Yin. If you continue, you could go around the earth and eventually move to the spot where you departed before. The closer you go to that depart spot, you are towards more Yang. When you come to that spot, the Yang come to its peak. Once over the spot again, the Yang start to reduce and you are more toward the Yin again.

The Yin and Yang is transformable.

Any thing will go to its opposite after its peak spot. No exception. Therefore no anything in the world can exist for every as it is. Let’s see the USA. No one doubt that it is the only superpower in the world now, but why two planes that made the crash of only two building in New York could make it so nervous? Why US citizen so often pretend to be Canadian when go abroad? Dose this mean the US is most superpower in the world ?

We say that parents should be kind to kid. Can we be as much kind to our kids – meet their needs in any aspects without any limitation and restriction to them? Can we leave them grow without any unhappy to them? If we do so, I believe that you, as parents, no longer a “kind” parent, but the most “bad” parent – you destroy your kids makes them unable to handle their later life.

Elephant is so big that it does not fear the tiger or lion, but it fears rat. The biggest one fears the smallest one. Similarly, human being can deal the bit by big animals, but cannot handle the attack by bacteria, fungus, or virus!

The improvement of science (the Yang) makes the life of our human being much easier and comfortable (the Yin aspect). However, it also makes our life in much more and more in danger. The development of the nuclear bomb is a pending bomb to everyone on the earth. The development of gene technique put us in a future possible terrible attack of infectious diseases. The modern life is more and more depending on electric and computer. If anything happen to destroy the electric supply or damage to computer, all of current civilization cannot be passed to later generation. Our current scientific life is so fragile.


During the transfer from Yin to Yang and from Yang to Yin, the Yang is the dominate power. It is due to the movement of Yang that cause the increase and accumulation of the Yin.

Take an example, it is due to the increase of Sun shine (it is Yang in this example) in spring, the plants (it is Yin in this example) start to grow. Upon to the summer, the Sun shine comes to its peak and after the summer, the Sun shine reduces (the Yang reduces), and the plants starts to build up its fruits (the accumulation of Yin).

We can regard the Sun and the Moon as Yang and Yin. It is the Sun that gives the Moon the light. The Sun should have more hot and bright than the Moon. This is the “perfect” universe to us on the earth. Can we expect the Moon is as the same level of bright and hot as the Sun? Can we live in a universe as that? 

A stable family is with a proper Yin-and-Yang relation in it. No matter the husband or the wife in the family is dominating, there should be only one in the dominating position. The one in the dominating position should enjoy to be in such position, the another one should be happy too, to be in the following position. If it is not as such, the family is unstable.  Nowadays, everyone want to be independent and in a dominating position. No doubt that there is more conflicts in a Yang-Yang family then in a Yin-Yang family.

The Yin and Yang can be found in many aspects of the body

The Yin and Yang theory is very important in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The back of the body is Yang and the front of the body is Yin. The outside of the body is Yang, then the inside of the body is Yin. The top of the head is Yang, then the sole of the feet is Yin. So the acupuncture meridian that goes on the back of the body belongs to the Yang meridian, and the meridian that goes in front of the body belongs to Yin meridian.

Further more, the non-hollow organs in the body, such as heart, the live, the kidney, the lung, the spleen belong to Yin but the hollow organs, such as stomach, small intestine, large intestine, gall bladder, urine bladder belong to Yang. 

When we consider the whole body structure as Yin, then the functional aspect of the body will belong to Yin.

The Yin and Yang in a body can be exampled as a cup of warm water. Here the water represents the Yin (the structure of the body), then the warm temperature in the water means the Yang of the body. A cup of cold water means there is only Yin, but no Yang, so it is dead body. A cup of too hot water represents too much Yang in the water. You cannot drink it, so it is not the proper condition of a life either. Half cup of warm water means both the Yin and the Yang in the body is deficient. For a TCM doctor, we need to supply both Yin and the Yang to patients. Half cup of cold water means both the Yin and Yang is deficient, the body is close to die and the Yang needs much more supplying first.

After attack by disease-causing factors, such as bacteria, virus, physical or chemical influences, our body could have two major reactions: Yin reaction or Yang reaction.

We call them Yin zheng or Yang zheng. Zheng means syndrome or clinic manifestation. Patients with the Yin zheng show tiredness, weakness, no ability to talk or do not want to talk, palpitation after move or talk, cold limbs, likes warm water, urine lots and the urine is clear as pure water. They show as they are in an extremely low metabolic conditions. People show such Yin zheng are usually those who just pass a severe surgery stress, large volume loss of blood, heavy radiation therapy or chemical therapy (cancer patients), and patients with long term of chronic diseases. Those group of patients, when attacked by the same amount of disease-causing factors, react less sharp as the people with normally health condition.

Patients with the Yang zheng show high fever, lots of sweat, dry mouth and want to drink lots of cold or iced water. They are irritable or lose conscience. Their urine is little and the urine is dark yellow with strong odor. They tend to have constipation and bloating stomach. Such Yang zheng can be seen in typical acute lobar pheumonia in young person.

It should be pointed out that, as we mentioned before that Yin and Yang is transferable, the Yang zheng could show as a Yin zheng in clinic. For example in many acute infectious diseases, when the syndrome comes to peak (the body reaction is very strong), the body may show cold in limbs with cold sweat, low blood pressure, weak heart beat, faster and weak breath… all of which indicates a circulation shock as with western medicine terms. In this stage of the disease, the herbs used should be quite different from the ones used when the patients showing the Yang zheng.

Clinic condition is very complex and it is not at all easy to identify the true Yin zheng or Yang zheng right away. It depends lots on the doctors’ clinic experience too.