Eastern Medicine & Natural Healing, Health for the Body, Nutrition, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Intro to Yin Yang Theory

March 23, 2015
Yin and Yang Crystals

A fundamental principle of Chinese Medicine is Yin and Yang Theory. In Chinese, yin (陰) literally means shade, while yang (陽) means the sun. Yin and Yang, in an essence, are pairs of opposites. Here are some examples*:

Yang                                    Yin

Active                                  Passive

Function                              Substance

Outside                                Inside

Mind                                    Body

Masculine                            Feminine

Light                                     Dark

Heat                                      Cold

Excess                                   Deficiency

Exterior                                 Interior

Expansion                             Contraction


Yin and Yang, Black and White

If we apply this to our foods and their thermal nature, yin foods will cool us down while yang foods will tend to warm us. Yang is energizing while yin is nourishing by building blood and fluids in our bodies. Yang contains ascending energy while yin contains descending energy.




Yin and Yang Theory can also be used to describe human personality and physiology*:

Yang                                              Yin

Warmer body and personality        Cooler body and personality

Dry skin/less body fluid                  Moist skin/more body fluid

Outgoing                                          Introverted

Active                                               Passive

Positive                                            Negative

Focused mind                                  Serene

Hyperactive mentality                     Unclear, dreamy

Aggressive                                        Timid

Angry, impatient                              Fearful, insecure

Loud voice                                       Soft voice

Urgent                                              Tardy

Logical                                              Intuitive

Quick                                                Slow

Motivated                                          Complacent

Red Complexion                               Pale complexion

In general, for someone who possesses a more characteristically yang constitution, both physically and mentally, it is best to avoid or limit foods that tend to warm and heat the body, such as spicy foods, garlic, and cayenne pepper. On the flip side, one with a more yin constitution should eat more warming foods and limit cooling foods such as raw lettuce, cucumber, and celery. The main goal is to maintain a constant balance between yin and yang in order to achieve physical and emotional health.  So balance and moderation is key as eating too much of anything, can put you from one extreme to the other.

What you need to know:

  • Yin and Yang Theory is used to describe pairs of opposites.
  • This principle can be extrapolated to describe food, physical attributes, as well as personality traits.
  • Balancing your body’s yin and yang is key to establishing and maintaining health.

Do you think you are more yin or yang?

In health and wellness,
Dr. Elain

Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford

Contact Dr. Elain
Back to Top

You Might Also Like


  • carol@ppd.co'
    Reply Carol Florsheim March 25, 2015 at 2:22 am

    Each segment
    Well written
    So informative
    Big fan already!

    • Reply Dr Elain April 6, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      Thank you Carol! Let me know if there are any other topics you would like me to address. I will put it on my to-blog list!

    Leave a Reply