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In the Introduction to Yin and Yang (1), we looked at the classical Chinese characters for Yin and Yang and their meanings. From there we looked at further associations and how they reflect and polarize a variety of characteristics in our lives and in nature.

Yin         Yang               Yin                    Yang
Dark       Bright             Contracting       Expanding
Cold       Hot                 Internal            External
Shady    Sunny             Feminine           Masculine
Night      Day                Downward        Upward
Earth      Heaven           Confined           Expansive
Moon      Sun                Defending         Attacking
Chronic   Acute             Receding           Advancing
Empty     Full                 Receiving          Projecting
Still         Moving            Releasing         Grasping
Dense     Hollow             Throwing Out    Acquiring
Inhale     Exhale              Pruning            Planting
Ebb         Flow               Contemplative   Active

Using this simple polarization system of Yin and Yang, all diseases and imbalances in our bodies can be classified accordingly. We do this in order to better understand our current disease or imbalance, to treat it appropriately, and to prevent further imbalances and diseases from occurring in the future through changes in diet and lifestyle.

The most important characteristics of disease and imbalance we look at are:

Yin               Yang

Internal       External

Cold             Hot

Empty          Full

Chronic        Acute

Let’s look at how this might work. Think back to the last headache you had. Now try to classify it according to the four criteria: Internal/External, Cold/Hot, Empty/Full and Chronic/Acute.

Was the headache External? Was the pain generated by something external to your body such as alcohol, trauma to the head, heat stroke, or any similar outside your body event? Or was it Internal in nature? Was it generated entirely from the inside of your body with no external stimulus?

Was the headache Hot or Cold? How did you feel in your body? Did you require extra bedclothes (you were feeling cold) or were you throwing them off (you were feeling Hot). Would you have felt better with a cold compress on your forehead (your head was feeling hot) or a warm compress (your headache was feeling cold)?

Was your headache responding to pressure such as placing your hand on your head (Empty) or would that have made it feel worse (Full)?

Was the headache externally generated, with rapid onset, and/or when it left was it fully gone (Acute)? Or was it internally generated where you regularly experience the same type of headache, and/or does it get worse as you get older (Chronic)?

Tomorrow we’ll look at the different types of headaches and what you can do to help yourself.

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