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    You are here : Home » About MS » Multiple Sclerosis Treatments » Complementary Therapies » The Ying & Yang of MS

    The Ying & Yang of MS

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    Ying & YangStewart Edwards, from Honiton in Devon, used to be an acupuncturist. Here he explains the connection between traditional Chinese medicine and Multiple Sclerosis.

    The half black and white Tai Chi circle has become one of the icons of the New Age. The first step in dividing up the world in classical Chinese philosophy is a binary one, just like the way a computer works.

    Ying is the dark side of the mountain, Yang the sunny side. Ying is the hours of night, the months of the winter, the Yang the daylight time and the summer months. A baby is completely Ying but within the seed of Yang. As a child develops so the Yang comes to the fore, extending out into the world. Think of the energies of a teenager or of an athlete in their twenties. As we age, so the Yang begins to withdraw. In the frailty of old age Ying again becomes predominant until Yang is once more buried within Ying. Imagine standing, feet apart on the soil, arms raised, fingers extended towards the sky - remember when we could do such a simple thing?

    The Ying energy from the earth comes up inside of the legs and the front and sides of the body up to the chest, from there it goes up the inner side of the arms and out of the finger tips towards the sun. The Yang energy from the heavens comes in through the finder tips, down the back of the arms to the face and then down the body, the back and the outside of the legs and out into the ground through the toes. So we humans are between heaven and earth, transformers of the Ying and Yang energies of creation.

    MS is a Ying deficiency disease

    As a modern disease, and one still largely limited to Europe and America, MS is not discussed in the Chinese texts but the same principles still apply. Western acupuncturists and herbalists classify Multiple Sclerosis as chiefly a Ying deficiency disease. Look at your tongue in the mirror. The more cracks on the surface the more the deficiency of Ying has progressed. Some tongues, where the deficiency has become pronounced resemble the surface of an ice flow. But even little horizontal cracks show the beginnings of a Ying deficiency. Old people always have a cracked tongue.

    Do you regularly feel better or worse at certain times of the day? Personally I am always best in the mornings. Not the first on waking, when I’m stiff and achy but after a shower and moving about a bit I am at my freshest and most energetic. Mornings are the time Yang rises, until noon. Evenings are the time of Ying and if you notice an uplift in your energy around nine, ten or later that is when the bodies Ying deficiency is getting an extra, outside boost from the time of the rise of Ying, which reaches its peak at midnight. Time is not just limited to the Ying-Yang division in the body.

    Each of the twelve meridians (one for each month of the year, just as classically there are 365 acupuncture points, one for each day) has its own peak, time, its hour. The Chinese clock only has 12 hours, so the meridian hour is two of ‘our’ hours, starting with the lungs from 3-5am and ending with the liver at 1-3pm. If you notice any pattern in the rise and fall of your energy, that can be an indication of a particular organ-meridian dysfunction.

    Deficiencies are never just Ying or Yang, for the one closely affects the other. Ying deficiency also creates what is called a false Yang excess, best described as feeling like you are running on empty, a phrase all too commonly heard in modern times. That false Yang is the stressed out modern executive and their staff. Professor Swank, who treated over 3,000 North American MS patients, interestingly said they are typically “nervous (tense) and… as the disease progresses, the ‘inbuilt’ nervous tension increases”.

    The Yang meridians are the prime movers and extenders of the limbs of the body. The outward reaching energy of Yang, the extension of the limbs is also deficient. With MS that Yang energy is low, leading to the lethargy and contraction most of us suffer from. Again check yourself out as to where you feel pain, where you are most contracted or stiff. That indicates which meridians are most affected and which ones an acupuncturist needs to needle.

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre

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