Your Body and Your Car;This Acupuncturist Thinks They're Not All that Different!
Last week I started comparing the way our body reacts to imbalances of yin and yang, to how cars react in a similar manner.
I promised that this week I would drive this point home (no pun intended!!!) :-) even more, to help you understand how the same energetics that happen in our body, play out similarly in the world around us.
Often, acupuncture patients don’t understand why they’re having symptoms, but when I can make analogies to things that they do understand and see around them every day, then suddenly it all becomes clear.
Since it’s summer, and heat issues can start creating problems, the biggest point I want to make is about yin deficiency and the heat it creates, and how that can give either symptoms rising to the head (headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, flushed face), or more insidious issues like high blood pressure or insomnia, which are also about energy rising.
So… the moment all you guys have been waiting for…car talk! :-)
What happens when a car loses its water (yin)
Long before I was an acupuncturist, when I was a kid one summer, my sister and I drove cross country from California to Ohio with our dad, to visit grandma. We were in an old Chevy van, and half way through the trip its radiator got a leak. Every time we had to go over a mountain pass, inevitably the same thing would occur…the temperature gauge would max out, smoke would start rising from the hood, and we would have to stop and put water in the radiator.
I learned very well from watching this occur over and over again, that you cannot just open a hot radiator and pour cold water in…yet sometimes when my dad would get impatient, he would try to open it with a towel sooner than he should, and molten water would spew out, exploding everywhere. Then, when he’d pour the new water in, it would bubble up and gurgle out, still exploding, and lots of the water would just get wasted.
What happens when our body loses its Yin
Since I’ve been practicing acupuncture, I see that the same thing really happens in our bodies. Remember last week I said that yin is all the feminine qualities in our body: coolness, passivity, groundedness, and moisture.
If you think of the water or radiator fluid in our car as the yin in our system, we need abundant yin to balance out our body’s heat and cool us down. If we don’t have enough, then just like the car engine, we overheat. When heat happens, because heat rises, things start to rise upwards, just like the exploding water in the radiator when it was too hot.
In the body, when this happens, we can start sweating profusely as our moisture is driven to the surface of our body, but then we lose a lot of our moisture and yin in the process…the very yin that we need in the first place to keep us cooled down. And so it becomes a cycle-we get even more hot, our energy and fluids rise up, we lose yin, which makes us more hot, and the cycle continues.
Because yin is a downward energy (think of water…unless fueled by heat, it always will flow to the lowest point), is serves as a grounding force in our body, to counterbalance our yang energy which always wants to move upwards. When yin and yang are in balance, we have enough of each that we not only have enough rising energy in the day to fuel our activities, but we have enough yin at night to calm down and go to sleep. When we lack yin then, we don’t have that anchor to restrain our yang, and it rises out of check.
This becomes the source of all those pesky yin deficiency symptoms, which in addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned, include the hot flashes and night sweats that accompany menopause. I see this everyday in the acupuncture clinic, whether it’s a menopausal (yin deficient) woman, or anyone who has burned out their yin through too much work and/or stress, usually combined with a nutrient-poor diet that depletes their yin even more.
I hope this helps illustrate how many seemingly separate symptoms can all be linked to the same underlying imbalance. And also how, by simply filling up our proverbial radiators and fixing their leaks (qi and yin deficiency) through acupuncture and Chinese herbs, this can help alleviate all these symptoms.
If you think you might have some of this dynamic going on in your body, you can schedule an appointment and we’ll see about giving you a tune up! :-)