Guest Author - Inci Yilmazli
Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) share the same goal, treating diseases. However, their foundations are different. TCM has its roots from several phenomenal theories. This article covers the two of them.
Yin Ė Yang Theory
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, everything is comprised of two energies that complement each other. One of these energies is yin and the other one is yang. These two energies are never separated. Without each other, they donít exist. This is the yin-yang principle of interdependence. This inter-relationship is symbolized with the classical black and white yin-yang symbol. No matter how hard you try to divide this circle in half, both sides include both energies. The energies canít be divided by themselves. From the TCM point of view, this is the simplest and deepest universal law.
Yin-Yang theory doesnít include absoluteness. When something is related to yin-yang, itís always related to something else. For instance, the sun and the day is considered yang while the moon and the night is considered yin. However, the early morning is yang while the afternoon is yin. Yang is male and yin is female according to the theory. Everything inside the body is under the control of the dual yin-yang system. Since yin and yang have an inseparable relationship, when a problem occurs in one of them, the other will be affected,too.
Ideally, yin and yang are supposed to be in harmony as well as being in balance. Itís important to understand the harmony in order to be able to understand Traditional Chinese Medicine. Even though the words Ďbalanceí and Ďharmonyí are sometimes used for the same meaning, they are different from each other. Balance is the relationship between two different creatures, like the relationship between the heart and the kidney. First of all, this relationship must be in balance. The second step is to achieve harmony. When the two creatures are in harmony, their energies can be distributed unevenly, however, they can be complete as a whole. When two elements are in harmony, there is a constant and unconsicous natural dance in between. When one side becomes dominant, the other steps back. This homeostasis, in other words, inner harmony, is a dynamic situation. In a healthy system, the harmony occurs in the body and between the body and external forces of Nature and the Universe naturally.
In other words, when the Qi of the nature goes through seasonal changes, a personís inner Qi automatically responds to that and tries to adapt to the changes and be in harmony. If the transition to the new seasonís energy canít be completed without any problems due to any reason, diseases will ocur according to TCM.
Five Element Theory
The human body is the microcosmos of the Universal macrocosmos, according to TCM. Therefore, in order to reach harmony and health, people must obey the rules of the Universe. Yin-Yang and Five Element Theories, in fact, are observations and definitions of the Universal laws, not a concept created by people. In ancient times, TCM performers have found the complex sets between the relationships that exist in the deeper energy levels under the material surface. In time, these insights have become the foundation for TCM with wisdom and knowledge and have begun to be used to heal the human body. Even today, TCM performers still use these theories to understand, diagnose and treat health problems.
Five Element Theory is the foundation of TCM and its development occurred by naming and systematizing the perceived phenomenal pathways. This naming was done with the five main groups used for universal elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Five Element Theory tells that each one of the five main Organ Systems (Liver/Gall Bladder, Heart/Small Intestine, Spleen/Stomach, Lung/Intestine and Kidney/Bladder) is associated with a certain element.
TCM doesnít accept the five elements as inert matters. These five elements are the main energies present in nature constantly moving and alive. This theory is comprised of the two dynamic relationship formation and control which tells how the five major organ systems are related to each other. Each element forms an energy or gives energy to another. These element couples are known as the mother and the child. Each element, also, limits or controls the other one. All the elements are kept in balance with an appropriate amount of control. Due to the control, an organ system is a feedback mechanism for itself and the other couple. These dynamic interactions help all organ systems to function in harmony in a greater system. As long as these relationships are balanced, there is health. When thereís imbalance, there is disease.