Thursday, February 03, 2011
The strategy of Chinese Medicine is to strengthen the body and build upon health rather then waiting for an illness to treat. Balance may seem like an illusive reality when change is our only constant. The intention of this medicine is to instead allow the body to flow with the changing rhythms within the body and around the external environment. Illness and imbalance are a part of life. Chinese Medicine supports the body to ride through an illness or imbalance instead of being disabled by it.
The Chinese use a symbol of balance called the yin yang. The yin yang is really the foundation of Chinese Medicine. The yin yang is two equal halves of white and black with smaller circles of the opposite color inside the half. You might notice that the halves are not cut right down the center, rather in a more fluid motion. This is meant to symbolize the fluidity of balance. Yin is often classified as being more cool, feminine, dark, and heavy whereas yang is seen as being more hot, masculine, bright, and light. The image of the yin yang is meant to explain the interconnectedness of life. Yin is not better then yang or vice versa. The two need each other to exist. The image of balance is yin at its greatest becomes yang, yang at its greatest turns back into yin.
In terms of your body what exactly does this mean? Well for starters balance isn't a state your body reaches and then the work is over. Maintaining your body's equilibrium means moving fluidly through life's transitions, flowing rather then fighting. For many people change is hard, fighting change is one way to knock the body's natural balance. The farther we get away from nature the harder it can be to access our bodies' innate wisdom to maintain balance. We know the only constant in life is, in fact, change. The day (yang) turns into night (yin). Summer (yang) turns into fall (yin). When we follow the rhythms of nature by adapting our habits to reflect the environment around us i.e. wearing less clothing in the summer, more clothing in the winter, eating richer foods in the winter and lighter foods in the summer, sleeping more in the winter and less in the summer our bodies know how to adapt without effort.
The famous classical text Nei Jing so eloquently states, "maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure disease after it has appeared is like digging a well when one already feels thirsty or forging weapons after the war has begun."
Sarah Zender LAc
Neighborhood Acupuncture Place
230 Florence St
Crystal Lake IL 60014