Traditional Acupuncture 2

Yin-Yang and the Five Elements

The Chinese have developed a system by which they can read the state of a person’s energy.This system is based on yin – yang and the Five Elements- principles that underlie the whole of Chinese culture. They observed that the energy of creation was always moving between two extremes like day and night, summer and winter, life and death. It is like energy moving between two poles of a battery, positive and negative. One pole cannot exist without the other. They called these polarities of energy yin – yang.

It is important for a practitioner to understand the balance and harmony between yin and yang. Both are necessary. The Chinese saw the importance of this balance not only within Nature but also within the human being. They looked to see if there was a harmonious flowing of these two qualities of energy in a person, both the ‘sunshine and the shade’. They observed that if either yin or yang becomes over-dominant, then the person becomes imbalanced and therefore unhealthy. This is the first main key for knowing whether a person’s energy is out of balance.

Then came the cycle of the seasons – spring, summer, late summer, autumn and winter. They saw in this cycle the great flowing energy of creation, as it moves from yin to yang and back to yin – from stillness to activity and back to stillness, all done in an orderly way as it moves through these five stages. Each stage has its own particular quality which we can recognise – the Five Elements. The Chinese called the Five Elements : Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, which are merely labels used to describe the different qualities of the vital Ch’i energy that flows within every one of us. This cycle of the Elements is the second major principle by which the Chinese assess the state of a person’s energy. (cont.)