Yin/Yang, a central concept in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), refers to two opposing, yet complementary forces that shape the world. According to the beliefs of TCM, all things in the universe are either yin or yang.  So, without yin, there would be no yang, and vice versa.  Subsequently, illness or disease may be caused by an imbalance of yin and yang in the body. As the balance is restored in the body, so is health.

Yin and yang characterization also applies to disease symptoms (e.g., cold and heat sensations are assumed to be yin and yang symptoms) Thus, yin and yang of the body are seen as phenomena whose lack (or overabundance) comes with characteristic symptom combinations:

  • Yin vacuity (also termed “vacuity-heat”) causes heat sensations, possible night sweats, insomnia, dry pharynx, dry mouth, dark urine, a red tongue with scant fur and a “fine” and rapid pulse.
  • Yang vacuity (“vacuity-cold”) causes aversion to cold, cold limbs, bright white complexion, long voidings of clear urine, diarrhea, pale and enlarged tongue, and a slightly weak, slow and fine pulse

Common yin-yang pairings as they relate to organs (zang-fu) are:

  • Lung – Large Intestine
  • Spleen – Stomach
  • Heart – Small Intestine
  • Kidney – Urinary Bladder
  • Pericardium – Triple Heater
  • Liver – Gall Bladder