top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. Monica L. Hilton, DACM, LAc

A Brief Intro to Yin and Yang

"The key to mastering health is to regulate the yin and the yang of the body."

- Qi Bo - The Huang Di Nei Jing

The concept of Yin and Yang is an ancient Chinese philosophy used to explain the process of change and transformation in nature. Its earliest reference dates back to 700 BC in the I-Ching or Book of Changes. The basic principle is that the only constant factor in nature is change - nothing remains the same - everything is in a constant state of flux.

All phenomena can be described in terms of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are divisible but inseparable. They represent opposing yet complementary entities. The opposing aspects of Yin and Yang are not fixed. They are relative concepts. For example, the front of the body is Yin relative to the back while the head of the body is Yang relative to the feet. Yin and Yang are in continual transformation constantly influencing and balancing each other. Yin can transform into Yang and Yang can transform into Yin but only at certain phases of development. This can be seen in nature as day (Yang) transforms into night (Yin) or summer (Yang) transforms into winter (Yin). Yin and Yang are interdependent – Yin does not exist without Yang and Yang does not exist without Yin. Nothing is completely Yin and nothing is completely Yang. They are divisible but inseparable - Yin is rooted in Yang and Yang is rooted in Yin.

These principles of Yin and Yang are evident in the Tai Ji, commonly referred to as the Yin-Yang symbol. With the Tai Ji, black represents Yin while white represents Yang. The smaller circles convey that there is always a certain amount of Yin within Yang and Yang within Yin.

In general, Yin is cold, wet, slow, soft, quiet, supports growth, and represents nourishment while Yang is hot, dry, fast, hard, restless, and represents development.

Here are a few more basic qualities of Yin and Yang:

Yin Yang

Cool Warm

Right Left

Front Back

Moon Sun

Female Male

Rest Movement

Lower Upper

Water Fire

Yin and Yang philosophy is the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory as it signifies the nature of a disease. All physiological processes, signs, and symptoms can be classified as Yin or Yang. Classifying symptoms between the two is often the first step in making a TCM diagnosis. Attaining a balance between the two is a key principle in TCM and maintaining good health.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back to learn more about how TCM. Until next time we wish you good health and happiness. 😊

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page