The Natural World

The philosophical origins of Chinese medicine have grown out of the tenets of Taoism, the base of which arrives from observing the relationships and patterns of the natural world. Nothing was seen in isolation, or separate from, the intricate whole. No single being could exist unless it was seen in relation to its surrounding environment. By simplifying these relationships, they beautifully described complicated phenomena in the universe, including the human body, mind, and spirit.

It is therefore easy to understand why the Chinese medical system draws extensively on natural metaphors, which are based on observations of the interdependent phenomena of nature. These metaphors are fully articulated in the theory of “Yin-Yang” and the system of “Five Elements,” or “Five Phases.”


Everything contains Yin and Yang, they are two opposite yet complementary principles. Although they are totally different—opposite—in their individual qualities and nature, they are interdependent. Yin and Yang cannot exist without the other; they are never separate. For example, night and day form a Yin-Yang pair (night is Yin and day is Yang.) Night looks and is very different than day, yet it is impossible to have one without the other. Together they create a totality, a complete whole.

Yin                                  Yang                                                                                

Night                               Day

Dark                                 Light

Cold                                  Hot

Passive                             Active

Female                             Male

Blood                                Qi

Solid                                 Hollow

Liver                                 Gall Bladder

Heart                                Small Intestine

Spleen                              Stomach

Lung                                 Large Intestine

Kidney                             Urinary Bladder

Yin & Yang


Nothing is absolute within Yin and Yang theory; the designation of something as Yin or Yang is always relative to something else. For example, day is Yang, yet within every day is a Yang part—the early morning, and a Yin part—late day, as it begins to turn to night, which is Yin.

This indicates that there is a dynamic flow occurring that automatically and continuously balances and re-balances these principles. In the natural world this phenomenon is seen in the changing of the seasons: the cold of winter yields to the warmth of spring and summer heat, and then gradually turns cool in fall to become winter once again.

The Totality

The theory of Yin and Yang is fundamental to the practice of Chinese medicine in terms of understanding, diagnosing, and treating the totality of one’s health. At the most basic and deep level, Chinese medicine seeks to balance Yin and Yang in each person. The ancient Chinese medical text, the Nan Jing Su Wen, expressed the power and importance of Yin and Yang this way: “First, it must be determined whether the illness is yin or yang.”


Yin and Yang are the two principles that embody a universal law, which ensures that all things remain in harmony. As a deep and authentic healing system, Chinese medicine understands and applies Yin and Yang to help harmonize your body, mind, emotions, and spirit, and then harmonize your individual constitution and presentation with nature.

At Lotus Leaf Acupuncture & Wellness Center, our healing approach is to help you step back and look at where your daily habitual tendencies might actually be creating Yin and Yang imbalances that results in health issues for you. For most people, this is a process that happens over time. For some, it comes in a moment of great insight and healing.