Blog: TCVM Series Part 1 of 7- Yin/Yang

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Part 1 of 7: Yin-Yang Harmony in Animals

by Alexandra Mittner DVM

My name is Dr. Alexandra Mittner, I’m at the Integrative Vet Med Center, and I specialize in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. I am training at the Chi Institute in Florida for a master’s in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Today I”m going talk about the concept of harmony in traditional Chinese medicine. When we think about medicine and disease we think about harmony because when we are in harmony within ourselves and with our environment we don’t get sick. When we are in dis-harmony, due to stress, change of seasons, temperature etc. you can get sick, just like your dogs and cats, because they are out of balance.

In Chinese culture the Yin-Yang symbol represents the concept of harmony. This symbol is a symbol of balance, with Yang represented by the white, Yin by the black area, with small circle of the opposite color included to remind us that one can not exist without the other. That we are, in life, defined by our opposites, one thing cannot exist without it’s opposite. Thusly, the center line curves and flows from yin into yang and back into yin.

One such opposite paring is between hot and cold. You can’t have hot without having a concept of cold. Hot is yang, and cold is yin. When we wash our hands, we usually like the water to be warm. Warm water would be a mixture of hot and cold, yang and yin. If we want the water to be warmer we can turn up the hot water, turn up the yang, or turn down the cold, yin water. If we want the water to be colder we can turn down the hot, yang water or turn up the cold, yin water.

When animals get out of balance we often see heat-seeking or cool-seeking behaviors. This can help tell a guardian, as well as doctors trained in Chinese medicine, that the animal is out of balance and may be sick or be more susceptible to becoming sick. The animal is seeking Yang or Yin because it has an excess of that element or have become deficient in the opposite element. This helps Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners diagnose and treat the animal.

This concept of harmony/dis-harmony along with the 5-element theory, which we will talk about over the next few segments of this blog, allows Chinese Medical Practitioners to diagnose and treat a large range of illnesses, from internal medicine to skin problems to arthritis.

Thank you for joining us. If you have questions about Yin and Yang or think your animal may be out of balance, please leave us a comment below.