Yin Yang – Part 2: The see-saw effect

In a previous article, we looked at the concept of Yin and Yang, and how Traditional Oriental Medicine classifies things in opposite pairings (as in the example of pain, is it at a fixed location or does it move around, does it improve with rest or with movement, is it better with heat or cold, etc.)

To add further to this concept is what can be described as the “see-saw” effect – when one side of something increases, the opposite side tends to decrease in the opposite direction.

In Eastern science, this was most clearly seen observing things in nature such as the sun and moon – as the sun came up in the morning, the moon lowered below the horizon, and mid-day was the brightest when the sun reached the highest point in the sky. The exact opposite then happened as the sun disappeared below the horizon and the moon came up and reached its peak at night.

Although it appears to be a simple concept, it has extremely important clinical value in acupuncture. One common example of this is in the treatment of migraine headaches. The acupuncture pathway usually corresponding to the headaches is called the Gallbladder meridian – this pathway starts at the eyes, travels through the temple area and the sides of the head, down the neck and the tops of the shoulders, and then down the body and legs, ending at the feet. In Traditional Oriental Medicine, it views migraine headaches as usually being caused by stagnant and congested circulation along this Gallbladder pathway.

Treatment is often focused on its opposite pair, which in this case is the Liver system. By working to strengthen the Liver, the see-saw effect is achieved: the Liver becomes stronger, in essence siphoning off the excess that had been trapped in the Gallbladder pathway. As both systems reach a better state of balance, the symptoms of the migraine headaches tend to improve as well.

Other health problems are viewed in a similar way – strengthening the weak areas of the body, and calming down the tense ones. As a healthier state of equilibrium is reached, the body is then better able to recover and heal itself.
What kinds of things in your life are creating imbalance in your health?