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The Key to Balance is Change

BY: Camila Loew

The Key to Balance is Change

This piece of knowledge is perhaps as old as the world itself: the only constant is change. Our bodies -and minds- are permanently adjusting to the external and internal events, circumstances and phenomena that come our way. Flowing with change is the path towards balance and harmony. No one understood this better than traditional Chinese medicine.

You have surely heard the terms Yin and Yang many times; they underlie the entire dialectical or synthetic theory of traditional Chinese medicine. Here we'd like to focus on the specific aspect of Yin and Yang theory that involves transformation, as it describes all organic processes.

According to this theory, there are two types of transformations: harmonious changes that occur naturally (such as the changes in the seasons, or the seasons of life, or even something as simple and essential as the inhalation transforming into the exhalation of breath), and sudden transformations, which are disharmonious changes. If things are in balance, transformation occurs smoothly, without rough ruptures. This harmonious type of change and transformation is equivalent to health.

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However, when there is imbalance and transformations occur drastically, this is a sign of disharmony. If things are not properly compensated, it can lead to dis-ease. This is easier understood with a simple example from everyday life: activity is balanced by rest. If you overexert yourself, or don't get enough rest, the body is imbalanced, and is not allowed to perform its restorative functions. If this lack of balance is prolonged, it will have negative consequences. Either a gradual transformation takes place -rest and repair- or something radical -like illness- can occur.

This very basic pattern of behavior is what the early Chinese healers saw and brought to their Yin Yang theory. In Lao Tzu's poetic words:

In order to contract, it is necessary first to expand.

In order to weaken, it is necessary first to strengthen.

In order to destroy, it is necessary first to promote.

In order to grasp, it is necessary first to give.

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