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  Traditional Acupuncture
       Qi        Yin/Yang        Five Elements        Channels        Points
       Diagnosis        Zang-Fu Organs        Chinese Syndromes
  QI Next   Back to Top
The concept of Qi (sometimes spelled "Chi", pronounced "chee") is a central concept in Tao teaching that lays the foundation of Chinese Medical thought and acupuncture.
Qi is commonly interpreted as the vital energy that gives life to all living matter. There is nothing comparable in allopathic (conventional Western) medicine. While human physiology in allopathic medicine is organized according to specialized function, Chinese medicine is more concerned with the dynamics of the interrelationships, especially the patterns of vital energy.

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  Yin/Yang Next   Back to Top
Yin and Yang are counter poles; they are each other's opposite in which life is searching for harmony and balance.
Health in this philosophy means balance between Yin and Yang. Illness means that one of the two is too strong or too weak.
The theories of Yin and Yang and Five Elements that exist in dynamic balance and are organized in the systems of cyclic autonomic regulation, by its essence represent the Confucian ideology.
Within this philosophy, all aspects of the invisible and visible world exist in mutual dependence. This view, in turn, explicates the teachings of "Yin-Yang" and of the "5 phases of transformation".
  More about Yin/Yang Next   Back to Top

"The principle of Yin and Yang is the foundation of the entire universe."
The Nei Jing - The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine; circa 200 BC

Originally the terms meant shady side of a hill (Yin)
and sunny side of a hill (Yang)
which illustrates that they are two sides or aspects of the same entity.

Graphically this concept is expressed through the symbol (read the article)

Yin represents everything that's descending, going inside, is dark and cool; it takes care of rest, nourishment, night, winter, water etc.
Yang ascends, goes from the inside towards the outside; it's warm, light, active, protecting, day, summer, fire etc.

Mathematical or digital expression of Yin and Yang can be presented as

Combining the two, we can split it into four stages of Yin and Yang

With addition of an extra line, the Eight Trigrams (Ba Gua) are formed, illustrating transition and dynamic interrelation of Yin and Yang.

This brings the more accurate symbolic expression of Yin and Yang:

The Eight Trigrams are combined to form 64 hexagrams, whose permutations represent the continuous process of change in every aspect of nature symbolizing all possible phenomena of the Universe.
The first book that contains diagrams of the Eight Trigrams and 64 hexagrams, is the Yi Jing, Classic of Changes, which is dated as early as the time of Emperor Fu Xi (circa 1100 B.C.; the author remains unknown).

These diagrams form the foundation of traditional Chinese medical thought and the basic theories of acupuncture, the Yin-Yang theory and the theory of the five elements.

The five laws of Yin & Yang:

- Opposition.
Everything has two opposite aspects. Yin & Yang struggle with and control each other.

- Inter-dependence.
Yin & Yang define each other and therefore one cannot exist without the other. (If there is no down, which way is up?)

- Mutual consumption & support.
Yin & Yang each give of themselves to nourish the other.

- Inter-transformation.
YIn can become Yang and Yang can become Yin. In fact, this is inevitable if the growth of one or the other is uncontrolled.

- Infinite subdivisibility.
There is always an element of one in the other. Anything can be subdivided again and again.

- Neither Yin nor Yang is good or bad;
- they are 2 opposites that are supplemental;
- they are two aspects of the same entity;
- they transit into and are dependent on each other;
- disbalance between Yin and Yang is Illness, separation of them is death...

After a while Yin becomes Yang and Yang becomes Yin, like day becomes night, summer becomes winter and action becomes rest.

No matter what is the level of organization we refer to (from elementary particles to human beings and even up to galaxies), one of the fundamental laws of Nature is that of the permanent interaction between the two complementary forces, YIN(-) and YANG(+). All the processes and phenomenons of Nature are the expression of the interaction of these two principles.
Tendency   Extension, dilatation  Contraction 
Position  Exterior  Interior 
Direction  Downward  Upward 
Temperature Cold  Hot 
Gender   Feminine  Masculine 
Element Water  Fire 
Season   Cold, winter  Tropical, summer 
Structure Space, mass  Time, energy 
Orientation Centrifugal  Centripetal 
Color Violet, mauve  Red 
Weight Easy  Heavy 
Atom Electrons  Protons (nucleus) 
Chemical element  Potassium, Calcium, Oxygen, Azoth, Sulfur, Phosphor, Silicon, Iron, Strontium, Lead, Aluminum, Cobalt, Molybdenum, Tin, Silver, Chlorine   Sodium, Hydrogen, Carbon, Magnesium, Arsenious, Lithium, Quicksilver, Uranium, Neon, Chromium, Nickel, Copper, Palladium, Gold 
The living world Vegetal  Animal 
Plants Salads, legumes, fruits  Cereals 
Aliments  that contain much water;  that contain little water 
  rich in potassium;  rich in sodium; 
  rich in glucides  rich in proteins 
Taste Sour, piquant, peppery, astringent, softly acid, sweet  Salty, bitter, alkaline 
Nerves Ortho sympathetic  Para sympathetic 
Neurochemical Basis Inhibition   Excitation  
Vitamins C,B2,B12,Pp,B1,B6  D,K,E,A 
Metabolism Anabolism   Catabolism 
Pace Slow  Fast 
State Passivity, static, inertia   Activity, dynamic, movement 
  Sleep Wake 
Blood pressure Hypotension   Hypertension 
PH Acid   Alkaline 
Humidity Wet  Dry 
Other attributes Expansion   Pressure 
  Quiet   Sound 
Low   High 
Bigger   Smaller 
Long   Short 
Horizontal   Vertical 
Soft, fragile   Hard 
Root   Top 
Down   Up 
Periphery   Center 
Plural   Singular 
Subordinated   Leading 
Inorganic   Organic 
Unruly, unrestrained  Retained, controlled 
Earth   Sky 
  Moon   Sun 
  Night   Day 
  Dark   Light 
  Gas   Solid 
  Extrovert   Introvert 
  Woman   Man 
  Magnetic   Electric 
  Atomic energy   Nuclear energy 
  Ultraviolet   Infrared 
  Short waves  Long waves 
  Negative   Positive 
  Concrete   Abstract 
  Sperm, Spermatozoon Menstrual blood, Ovule  
  Bleu, indigo, violet  Red, orange, yellow  
  Moon   Sun 

Read related articles:

Yin and Yang in Medical Theory

  Five Elements Next   Back to Top
Another basic concept of acupuncture is the teaching of the Five Phases of Transformation (also known as the Five Elements, more common term and less accurate).
According to the Five Elements philosophy, everything, including energy, passes through cycles. In nature, this can be seen in the four seasons and in the body it is evidenced by the interactions between the main organs.
The Five Elements theory assumes relationships between Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth.
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  Channels Next   Back to Top
According to Chinese medicine, the invisible Qi circulates along a system of conduits. They form a complex network of main channels, minor capillaries and collaterals. There are 14 main interconnected pathways called "meridians" through which this energy circulates, and surface to about 400 acupuncture points. Each meridian is intimately connected with one of the viscera of the body, and each manifests its own characteristics and bears the name of the organ related to it. For example, there's a Liver channel, Heart channel etc.
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  Points Next   Back to Top
The 14 main meridians (channels), through which Qi circulates, emerge to the skin surface at the precise locations called acupuncture points. Local stimulation of different acupuncture points (needling, laser, electricity, etc) can influence the activity of corresponding meridian in specific and predictable manner.
361 Points on the meridians described in the classical ancient Chinese medical manuscripts. They are complimented by 171 Extra-Meridian Points with their specific features. Over the last fifty years, 110 "New" Points and 142 Auricular Points discovered.
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  Diagnosis Next   Back to Top
In ancient times, laboratory analyses and tests were not available and acupuncture diagnosis relied mostly on observation. Observation of the skin, eyes, tongue, pulse, etc. can tell a seasoned acupuncturist more than you can imagine. Different schools emphasize different techniques. For example, Japanese acupuncturists do not examine the tongue, but instead palpate the abdomen as part of a routine exam and treatment.
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  Zang-Fu Organs Next   Back to Top
The zang-fu theory explains the physiological function, pathological changes, and mutual relationships of internal organs. Zang and fu consist of the five zang and six fu organs. In traditional Chinese medicine the zang and fu organs are not simply anatomical substances, but more importantly represent the generalization of the physiology and pathology of certain systems of the human body.
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  Chinese Syndromes Next   Back to Top
The basic syndromes of traditional Chinese medicine provide foundation for understanding of the nature of disease; signify the location of pathological changes, the condition of body resistance and pathogenic factors.
There are different methods for differentiating syndromes based on a variety of concepts: "the eight principles"; the theory of zang-fu organs; the theory of six channels; the theory of wei, qi, ying, and xue; the theory of the sanjiao; the theory of qi, blood, and body fluids; according to etiology, etc. Each of these methods has its characteristics and emphasis, while in clinical practice they are interrelated and complement each other.
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  This page last updated: 14-Mar-2015 Back to Top
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