Yin and Yang

The most basic theory of acupuncture is yin and yang. Before we talk about theory, let’s talk about pronunciation. Most people know how to say “yin,” but a little pet peeve of mine is when people say “yang” like Cristina Yang’s name from Grey’s Anatomy, with a long vowel sound, which is incorrect. It is actually pronounced with a short vowel sound, like yawn.

Ok, now for the theory:

Most people associate yin and yang as simply opposites, but there is a little more to it. While yin and yang oppose each other, they also support each other. Neither can exist without the other; they are infinitely divisible in each other, and they are dynamic.

Everything in life, in this universe, plays a role in the yin yang theory.

Some examples:

Yin Yang
Moon Sun
Midnight Midday
Winter Summer
Water Fire
Cold Heat
Stillness Movement
Dark Light
Hidden Revealed
Hard Soft
Heavy Light (mass)
Female Male

Acupuncture Ally: Lemon & Honey in Warm Water

We all know it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, I mean, roughly 50-75% of our bodies are made of water! But a common complaint I hear is that water is boring or people just don’t like it.

IMG_2115A fabulous way to make water a little more flavorful is to add lemon and honey. When I make this I use about a teaspoon of local honey (I love supporting local bee keepers!) and a couple drops of Young Living Lemon Essential Oil, which is a high quality therapeutic grade oil brand that is safe for ingestion.* Another option to incorporate lemon is to add a fresh slice right to warm or hot water.

Lemon: the temperature is cold; the taste is sour; the channels of the body it affects are the gallbladder, liver, kidney, lung and spleen. This promotes Qi and blood circulation, clears heat, removes toxins and transforms phlegm.

Honey: the temperature is neutral; the taste is sweet; the channels it affects are the spleen, stomach, large intestine and lung; the effects are: nourishes Yin, tonifies Qi, supplements Qi and blood, promotes blood circulation and removes toxins.

Lemon and honey are great additions to your daily habits year round, but especially in the autumn and winter since these seasons are Yin in nature, as opposed to Yang. Yin has to do with thicker, denser, more liquid substances throughout the body. According to Chinese medicine, when you combine foods of sweet and sour properties you have a wonderful mixture to tonify the Yin of the body. With the season of autumn being dry in nature, it is so important to be sure you’re nourishing and hydrating yourself.


Temperature: It’s also important to drink room temperature or warm water. This is one of the biggest differences between western and eastern theories. While western theories may say ice cold water boosts your metabolism to burn calories, according to eastern medicine, the cold may be hard on your digestive system.

Think of the spleen and stomach as a melting pot; food and liquid needs to be warmed and mixed in order to be digested. When you eat or drink warmer temperature items, you are helping the work of the spleen and stomach. When you eat or drink cooler temperature items you are making the spleen and stomach work harder. In today’s age with diet and lifestyle, many peoples’ spleens are already a little weak, so the ice and cold temperatures add to the problem. You may be experiencing bloating, gas, or loose stools if your spleen is deficient or weak.

This is one simple change you may add into your daily life. I will say it is a tough transition, and there will be foods and drinks you always want to be cold, but if you could incorporate more room temperature to warm things in your life your spleen with thank you for it! I promise you eventually get used to it! Just remember, small steps. Change takes time, but it’s worth it to feel more well and balanced.

*The suggested uses in the above post apply only to the use of therapeutic grade, Young Living Essential Oils. Not all essential oils are the same! Be sure to consult with the product label or healthcare professional for correct usage of other.