Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been in use for thousands of years, and is one of the oldest continuous medical systems in use today. The philosophy behind TCM is based on the Taoist belief that the human body is interrelated with our environment. Thus practitioners approach healthcare from a holistic perspective instead of focusing purely on the disease.
As acceptance of this medical system continues to grow in the Western world, here’s a quick rundown of two of its most fundamental concepts: Qi, and Yin and Yang.
Central to TCM, Qi is a Chinese term that roughly translates as ‘life spirit’ or ‘life energy’. It’s a vital force that flows through every living thing and is in a constant state of flux; never created nor destroyed, but manifesting from one form of energy to another. In TCM, Qi is described in many different ways depending on its source, role and location within the body. Acupuncture has a great effect on how Q is regulated throughout the body.
Yin & Yang
The holistic view of treating everything as a whole means things can only be understood in terms of their relationship with something else. The Chinese believe everything has two aspects, both opposite and interdependent on each other. This is the idea behind yin and yang.
- Yin is a feminine energy, symbolised by earth or water. It’s dark, passive and receptive.
- Yang is a masculine energy, symbolised by fire or air. It’s light, bright and active.
Each organ in the body is believed to have qualities of both yin and yang, though certain organs are acknowledged to have more of one than another. Practitioners believe a balance of yin and yang is necessary for good health.
The Role of Qi and Yin & Yang in Traditional Chinese Medicine
TCM provides a set of guidelines for maintaining harmony between yin and yang in order to create an abundance of Qi and ensure it’s circulating throughout the body to sustain health and wellbeing.