Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Educational Series

Part Two: Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Series – Diagnosis and the concept of Yin and Yang

Chinese medicine doctors use many different methods to diagnose the patient. Here is a brief description of two ways of determining imbalances in the body.

Tongue Diagnosis: This is a tool utilizing the color, size, coating or moss, dryness or moistness, and landmarks of the tongue to tell the doctor about the state of balance of the patient. This diagnostic tool is very important for the correct diagnosis of the patient’s imbalance.

Pulse Diagnosis: This is another tool. Each wrist has six pulses on it: three deep pulses and three superficial pulses. The diagnosis of pulses takes many years to master, and is used to diagnose the imbalances in the body. Words such as weak, slippery, wiry, full, thin, empty, big, rapid, slow, and choppy, etc. are used to describe each pulse.There are 14 major meridians or channels in the body. These channels are regarded as the three-dimensional pathways through which Chi and Blood flow throughout the body. These channels are named after major organs in the body and are paired together in Yin/Yang fashion.Yin/Yang is a basic concept in Chinese medicine. The universe is seen as a fundamental whole. Yin and Yang are the symbols of the fundamental duality in the universe a duality which is ultimately unified. Yin and Yang represent two polar complements, or opposites. They explain how the world functions and constantly changes. One cannot exist without the other. Thus, it is recognized by the Yin/Yang symbol which is a circle with both equal parts of black and white intertwined together. They are coiled around each other and faded into, and penetrating into each other. Each contains a dot of its opposite. Both are necessary for the whole to exist. The qualities of Yin and Yang are projected into all levels of the cosmos.

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Yin and Yang are complementary, not contradictory. There is neither a good nor a bad aspect. Both need to co-exist in harmony with each other – in balance with each other. This balance is sought after by an acupuncturist when he or she inserts the needles into the meridians in an attempt to balance the different organ systems and energies in the body, so that the Chi and Blood will flow freely. This is to assist in creating better health in the body.

Yin and Yang are complementary opposites that explain how things function in relationship to each other and in relation to the universe. No entity can exist by itself, and no thing can ever be isolated from its relationship with other entities.

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