How Shiatsu Works
Yin-Yang Theory

Oriental medicine is an absolute manifestation of the conventional belief as well as philosophy of East Asia, all founded on specific professed common truth, for instance, the theories of Ki (spelled as 'Qi' in Chinese) and Yin-Yang. To put it differently, in the Orient, medicine, philosophy, art, culture and politics are all founded on a universal perception of the forces as well as cycles of nature.

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Basically, the Yin-Yang principle is an ancient Chinese theoretical structure to view as well as understand the world, which, according to Chinese philosophy, was developed during the reigns of the Yin and Chou dynasties between the period 1500 B.C. and 221 B.C. We find the original textual indication about this in the Yi Jing (I Ching), the Book of Changes, sometime in 800 B.C. and it forms the characteristics of change as well as of process that is at its core. In effect, in Chinese philosophy, the Yin-Yang theory forms the basis for comprehending the entire phenomena, especially health and death. In the philosophy of the West, contradicting ideas oppose one another - for instance, if it is night, it cannot be day. Nevertheless, it needs to be noted that, according to Chinese philosophy, although Yin and Yang are opposing, they balance one another. Precisely speaking, Yin and Yang are differing, but they have the aptitude to develop into each other. Besides, Yin and Yang enclose a small portion of one another.

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Placing the different elements of the character collectively, Yin is considered to be the shady or cloudy side of the hill, while Yang to be the bright or sunny side. There is light and warmth on the side of Yang and people are active. On the other hand, the shady side of Yin is cold as well as dark where all are taking rest.

Nevertheless, it is not true that the Yin and Yang theory just puts phenomena into permanent classes. On the contrary, it is a method of elucidating dynamic processes. Precisely speaking, both Yin and Yang are relative terms. Therefore, it makes no sense if we talk of Yin without considering Yang - one is incomplete without the other. According to the Taiji sign of Yin-Yang, Yang is portrayed as the white part of the symbol, while the black part is Yin. These two elements twine around one another and pass through one another (interpenetrate). For instance, you will find a black spot in the white part of the symbol, while the black part will have a white spot. There is nothing which can be described as eternally Yin or Yang, but one of them encloses some part of the other. And these are likely to develop in order that one turns out to be the opposite of the other.

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It is possible to further divide the Yin and Yang phenomena. For instance, Yang manifests day in comparison to night and it is possible to divide the day into morning and afternoon. In effect, it is further Yang in the morning, when the sun rises, compared to afternoon, when the sun is on its way to set. In this context, we may say that morning is Yang, while Yin manifests afternoon. As morning changes into afternoon, in the same manner Yang changes into Yin and also Yin changing into Yang. It is a continually evolving process as the day turns into night and summer changes to winter. Similarly, our bodies also move and then take rest, we are warm and subsequently become cool; we wake up and sleep, sleep and wake up. Therefore, it may be certainly said that the change from Yin to Yang or the other way, is a cyclic movement.

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According to Chu Hsi, a Chinese philosopher, the drawing back of Yang denotes the birth of Yin. However, this does not mean that when Yang has retreated, a Yin, which is separate from it, takes birth. He further wrote that one can consider Yin-Yang as solitary or as twofold. When perceived as twofold, it divides into Yin and Yang; and when considered as single, it is merely a waxing and waning. The Taiji symbol of Yin-Yang shows that Yin takes birth where Yang reaches its crest and the other way around.

The interaction of Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang are related to one another in four different ways - they are in opposition to each other; they balance one another; they are able to consume each other; and they can also convert into one another. Apart from this, both Yin and Yang are divisible infinitely.

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Yin and Yang are opposites
As opposed to one another, Yin and Yang fight back each other and one keeps the other in control. For instance, cold calms down heat like drinking cooling beverages on a hot day. On the other hand, heat warms cold like a fire warms you up on a chilly day. In the Orient, this theory forms the basis of therapy - in the event of you having a hot condition, the therapy ought to be cooling and the other way around. In effect, treatment uses one force against the other.
The fight between Yin and Yang leads to a condition of dynamic equilibrium. Within our body, like in any other sphere, the balance is changing continuously. For instance, take the body temperature - basically it is stable, but it does fluctuate within a very constricted range. And in case the body temperature swings beyond that specific range, our body's physiological balance is lost and it gives rise to diseases and ailments.
In fact, the hostility between Yin and Yang in our body fuels our growth, improvement, maturing, ageing as well as decay. The comparative balance within a controlled range results in well-being and when this balance is lost, it causes diseases to occur.
Yin and Yang are interdependent
The Taiji symbol depicts that Yin comes out of Yang and, similarly, Yang comes out of Yin. It suggests that both Yin and Yang support one another as one being the other into existence. None of them can exist independently - both need one another for their existence.
Yin and Yang can consume one another
When we say that Yin and Yang have the aptitude to consume one another, it denotes that where Yin is in a dominating position, it will overpower as well as use up Yang and the same applies where Yang is dominating. In order to function normally and sustain its warmth (Yang), our body requires burning up a portion of its substance (Yin). On the contrary, while producing nourishing substances, our body (Yin) uses up some of the energy (Yang). When either Yin or Yang attributes of the body move further than the usual range, it results in too much or a shortage of them causing individuals to develop ailments and diseases.
Yin and Yang can transform into one another
That Yin and Yang are able to transform into one another is evident from the cycle or sequence of day and night as well as the yearly seasonal phases. According to an ancient Taoist text known as 'Plain Questions', excessive Yin will essentially produce Yang, while intense Yang will also inevitably produce Yin.

Yin-Yang as a guide to diagnosis and treatment

While the basic reason for any ailment is an imbalance between Yin and Yang, the fundamental principle of Oriental (East and Far-East Asia) therapy as well as that of shiatsu is to fine-tune this balance. Once we are able to comprehend or identify the character of the imbalance appropriately, it is possible for us to initiate the correct measures to adjust the balance between Yin and Yang within the body. Individually, neither Yin nor Yang are adequate to comprehend the exact nature of imbalances, but comprehending Yin and Yang is the first and right step in the direction of appropriate therapy.

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