According to oriental philosophy, there are two types of basic opposing principals, Yin-Yang, that regulate the Universe and all phenomena are created by their continuous interplay.

Man is a miniature universe, a microcosmos or “small world” of the macrocosmos. Being an integral part of the whole, he is subject to the same cosmic laws. As the whole order of the Universe results from the perfect balance between the two forces Yin and Yang, so does the health of man.

Chinese medicine has successfully followed the principles of Yin and Yang to restore balance in the human body for approximately four thousand years. There are many similarities between ancient Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine partly due to the influence of Buddhism on both. Like Ayurveda, prevention of disease is central to the Chinese system of medicine. Maintaining optimum health requires that 'chi' or 'qi' ( the equivalent of 'prana') flows properly along the body’s internal energy meridians. Proper flow can only be achieved if the body’s opposing principles of Yin and Yang are balanced.

'Chi' energy, or 'life force' circulates freely through a healthy body, but is blocked in an unhealthy body, causing illness. Chi energy becomes blocked when one has an improper diet combined with extreme weather conditions (hot or cold). Since people tend to have either a Yin constitution (passive, cool) or a Yang constitution (active, hot), sickness occurs when someone overindulges in the wrong foods, underindulges in the right foods and eats foods which might be good for someone else or for a different climate, but not for their particular physiological make-up.

Foods differ in their physical, mental, spiritual and emotional effects and can be divided into three main types -those that are 'balanced' and some that are 'Yin' and some that are 'Yang'. Yin foods are cooling, while Yang foods are warming to the human system. Together, Yin and Yang combined in balance produce an equalization that translates into health for living creatures.


Yin Foods:

Yang Foods: Balanced Foods:





Fruit juices



Most drugs
(such as aspirin)

Tropical vegetables and fruits

Refined foods

Most food additives of a chemical nature.









Cereal grains


Sea vegetables

Temperate fruits (such as apples and pears)

In terms of the body, the front is considered Yin and the back Yang. The upper part of the body is considered more Yang than the lower part; the outer parts of the body (skin, hair, etc.) are more Yang than the inner Organs. The Yin and Yang of the body are often described metaphorically as the body's Water and Fire.  Illnesses that are characterized by weakness, slowness, coldness and underactivity are Yin; illnesses that manifest strength, forceful movements, heat and overactivity are Yang.



The Yin organs are responsible for producing, circulating and storing the fundamental energy in the body, the Chi. These organs are more internal than the Yang organs.

The body's Yin organs are:


The heart is one of the most important organs in the body and circulates the blood and stores the human spirit. When the human spirit is properly nourished, it is in harmony with its surroundings and is happy. When the heart cannot sustain the spirit, the spirit becomes irrational, unfocused and unglued. The tongue and face are closely related to the heart and, hence, many diseases of the blood and heart can be diagnosed by examining the tongue and face.


The lungs are very important for the overall health of the body because they mix the Chi and blood and regulate the Chi of the entire body. The Chi of the outside world meets the Chi of the human body in the lungs and from there it is spread throughout the body. The health of the lungs manifests itself in the body hair and sweat glands as well as the overall bodily health.


This little known organ is vital in Chinese medicine. It transforms food into blood and Chi and regulates the digestion. Indeed, in Chinese medicine it is considered the very foundation of life. It governs the muscles, flesh and limbs. Weak limbs may indicate a problems with the spleen. The mouth and lips are also closely related to the spleen as is the sense of taste. 


The liver is responsible for the smooth movement of the blood, bodily substances and, in general, of the Chi throughout the body. Liver diseases are readily apparent through the eyes and the vision and, therefore, many eye and vision difficulties can be treated by treating the liver. Malfunctioning of the liver can also manifest itself in emotional turmoil or digestion difficulties.


The kidneys are responsible for regulating the flow of water and fluids within the body as well as for strong teeth and bones. Malfunctioning of the kidney is particularly manifested through the ears. Thus hearing problems can be a symptom of kidney problems.



The Yang organs are responsible for taking in food, absorbing nutrients and discarding the excess, unusable by products. These organs are more external than the Yin organs.

The body's Yang organs are: 

Gall bladder:

The gall bladder secretes bile, an important part of the digestive process. Bile is produced by the liver, thus the liver and gall bladder are mutually dependent upon each other. The gall bladder rules the decision making process. Hastily made decisions or those made in anger are thus a sign of too much Chi in the gall bladder. Conversely, the inability to make a decision or timidity can be a sign of a lack of gall bladder Chi.


The stomach is responsible for receiving and breaking down food into its component parts. The "pure" and useful components of food are sent to the spleen and transformed into Chi whereas the "impure" parts are sent to the small intestine. Malfunctioning of the stomach results in vomiting, nausea or belching. 

Small intestine:

The small intestine receives digested food from the stomach and then further refines it. It removes the remaining "pure" substances and sends them to the spleen. The impurities are sent to the large intestine. Disorders of the small intestine are manifested by abdominal pain, stomach growling and diarrhea or constipation.

Large intestine:

The large intestine finishes the work of the small intestine and the stomach and remove the final "pure" substances and sends them to the spleen, eliminating the rest. Like the small intestine. Disharmonies of the large intestine are evidenced by abdominal pain, stomach growling and diarrhea or constipation.


The bladder secretes urine, removing the final impurities distilled from the kidneys, from fluids received from the small and large intestines and the lungs. Bladder disorders result in painful urination or incontinence.

Triple burner:

The triple burner is not an organ with a particular location, but is the relationship between the water organs -particularly the lungs, spleen, kidneys, small intestine and bladder. The triple burner is required to regulate the flow of water throughout the body. The body itself is divided into "burners": The upper burner is the "mist" -that is the head and chest, as well as the heart and lungs. The middle burner is the "foam" - the area of the body below the chest but above the navel, such as the stomach and spleen, that churns away at food. The lower burner is the "swamp" -the area below the navel, including the kidneys, small and large intestines and bladder which remove impure substances from the body.

Chi energy often becomes stopped at the stomach, which is considered the seat of the 'triple heater' (heart, lungs, stomach). An example of this is a condition known as 'cold stomach, which may arise if a Yin person eats cold Yin food in a cold climate. The Yin person will experience chronic fatigue symptoms as a result of consuming damp- producing foods such as oranges, tropical fruits and dairy products, which in effect paralyze the stomach. Digestion is difficult and combined with cold weather, this diet is disastrous for the Yin person's health, all because Chi energy is blocked at the stomach and their 'heater' can't fire up. Another example of this is when a Yang person consumes heat producing foods (refined sugar, red meat, etc.) in a hot environment -he/she will suffer from too much heat in the body, too much Chi energy which must concentrate and exit from the head. The Yang person is too hot inside and out and will suffer extreme headaches.

People who have a Yin body type (low blood pressure, cold feet, easily chilled) should eat warming, spicy foods like garlic, cayenne, ginger, grains, legumes, roots and tubers, which are Yang. They should avoid cooling, damp- producing foods like tropical fruits and dairy products, which are Yin. Yang people (warm, high blood pressure) should eat all fruits, lots of green, leafy vegetables and avoid heavy meats. Of course, abstention from all meat (except fish), all dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol is advised for both Yin and Yang people.


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