Westerners often use the term yin & yang to loosely describe masculine and feminine energy. “It gets used a lot on tattoos and logos but I don’t think a lot of people actually know what it means,” says Daniel Katz, co-founder of Wildwood, a holistic, integrative health practice on India Street in downtown Portland, Maine. “People think it means balance, connectedness, or things like that.”
Yet, the written characters for yin and yang are literally translated as follows:
Yin means the shady side of a hill.
Yang means the sunny side of a hill.
The iconic black and white symbol is representative of a dynamic balance that happens in nature, within humans, and within our universe, explains Daniel. As a way to understand and even to visualize this further, consider:
- The summer solstice is the most yang time of year
- The winter solstice is most yin time of year
- Midday has the most yang
- Midnight the most yin
- Heat is yang in nature
- Cold is yin in nature
To fully grasp this as it relates to human nature, stop to consider the waxing and waning of your own life, just as the sunlight waxes and wanes on a hill. In our ever-changing lives, sometimes you achieve perfect balance and harmony; other times there is too much shadow or too much light.
The job of an acupuncturist is to assess the human body and help restore harmony.
Before the 1920s and the discovery of penicillin and focus on biomedicine, doctors did not focus on what was happening inside the human body on a cellular level. At that time, medicine was more observational in nature, and Chinese medicine tended to look at things from a big (non-microscopic) perspective in order to determine a person’s health. Specifically, acupuncturists assessed a person’s Qi (pronounced Chi).
Over thousands of years, Chinese medicine has become a highly evolved system of medicine that employs a series of techniques to break down and diagnose patients. A variety of treatments are then used to help restore the body’s balance. These treatments are often referred to as the three pillars of Chinese medicine:
- Acupuncture / Manual Therapies
- Internal Medicine/Herbal Formulas/Diet
- Qi Gong/Movement/Exercise
Acupuncturists today use precisely the same points on the body that were used thousands of years ago in China. And amazingly, “the 365 acupuncture points on the human body – one for each day of the year – relate directly to yin and yang,” says Daniel.
If you are seeking a harmonious balance for your life on a hill, consider incorporating the three pillars of health, and allow your life to achieve a dynamic balance. And while you’re at it, why not think about how you and your loved ones can contribute to more a balanced and healthy universe!
To learn more about Wildwood or to schedule an appointment, visit our home page.