Nourishing health by harmonizing yin and yang

Oriental medicine identifies yin-yang imbalances, and uses modalities like nutrition, herbal medicine and acupuncture to harmonize these forces.

by Don Matesz — 

Have you noticed that we can divide every aspect of experience into simple opposites: hot/cold, inside/outside, male/female, dry/wet, rough/smooth, peak/valley and so on? These represent the complementary, ever-present forces of yin and yang. Oriental medicine identifies yin-yang imbalances, and uses modalities like nutrition, herbal medicine and acupuncture to harmonize these forces.

Diet powerfully influences health. More yang quality foods include salt, spices, meat, poultry, eggs and fish. Over-consumption of these tends to make the body-mind more yang: hot, dry, tight, stubborn, restless, aggressive and even violent.

More yin items include raw foods, fats and oils, fruit juices, tropical fruits, sugar and most drugs. Over-consumption of these tends to make the body-mind more yin: cold, wet, loose, weak, disoriented and passive. Overuse of both extremes — typical in the U.S. — creates complex conditions.

Oriental medicine traditionally recommends you build your diet around whole grains, legumes, cooked vegetables and locally grown fruits. In general, you can eat these to your heart’s content without causing yourself to become excessively yin or yang. The Okinawan people eat a diet composed mainly (at least 85 percent) of these foods, and live longer than any other group of people in the world, with high immunity to degenerative diseases.

Moreover, throughout Asia where people eat on average a pound of rice daily, obesity occurs very infrequently. In the September 2005 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, scientists reported that women assigned to eat unlimited portions of whole grains, legumes, cooked vegetables and fresh fruits for 14 weeks lost about 53 percent more weight than women assigned to a low-fat diet that included conventional animal products (12.8 pounds versus 8.4 pounds).

Thousands of years of Oriental medical practice indicate that harmonizing yin and yang forces with a balanced diet, herbs and acupuncture can greatly improve both physical and mental health and fitness. Look for a licensed acupuncture provider with experience in dietary therapy.

 

Don Matesz, M.S., L.Ac., operates Barefoot Acupuncture Clinic devoted to providing affordable acupuncture, nutrition guidance and natural healthcare services. 602-954-8016.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 4, August/September 2008.

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