Yin-Yang: The Yin-Yang theory maintains that everything is essentially composed of two opposing, yet complimentary pairs of opposites. Yin & Yang co-exist in a constant and dynamic state in which one rises while the other declines. They are not fixed. When you consider the traditional Tai Ji symbol of Yin & Yang, Yin is black and Yang is white. They are constantly turning into each other. This is the balance of life. Yin is dark, cold, and sinking. Yang is light, warm, and rising.
Qi: Qi gives life to the world. Qi is basically “energy,” for lack of a better translation to western thought. Qi is the physiological activity of each Zang-Fu Organ. Qi moves the blood and the blood carries Qi.
Zang-Fu: This is the general term for the internal organs of the animal’s body. It is very similar to the organ system of western medicine, yet very different as well. Basically there are the Interior Zang (Yin) organs, which function inside the body, and there are the Exterior Fu (Yang) organs, which connect to the outside. The Zang (solid) organs make and store things such as Qi and blood, while the Fu (hollow) organs receive and digest food, as well as process and excrete waste. Each Zang organ is paired with a Fu organ, and each pairing is grouped to one of the Five Elements. There are six Zang-Fu organ pairings (twelve individual organs). One example would be the pairing of the Yin Liver with the Yang Gall Bladder.
The Five Elements: One theory of TCVM describes five basic characteristic types, derived from an individual’s personality, behavior, emotions and external influences. There are five individual elements that interact with each other to provide many possible combinations. The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The perfectly healthy individual has adequate Qi represented in each of the five groups, and the Qi flows smoothly among and between those groups in certain patterns, keeping everything harmonized. By determining problems with the Five Element cycle of a patient, one can determine a treatment protocol for that patient.
Meridians: A meridian is a pathway in the body, through which Qi and blood circulate. It regulates the physiological activities of the Zang-Fu organs. It extends all over the Exterior of the body, but it pertains to the Zang-Fu organs within the body. This is why we can put needles in the paw of an animal, and have an effect far away, such as on an internal organ, or distant and seemingly unrelated point of pain. There are twelve Regular Meridians which represent the Zang-Fu organs. Think of a light switch that sends power to the bulb.
TCVM Circadian Rhythm: The twelve Regular Meridians join with one another, in an endless cycle of the flow of Qi and blood. This flow passes from one meridian to another, in a specific order throughout the day. The Qi dominates within certain Meridians at designated times of the day, which is known as the TCVM Circadian Rhythm, from 1am-3am. It is no coincidence that most of our calls regarding seizures come in during the early hours of the emergency clinic shifts.
The Eight Principles: This is a TCVM approach to further describing a disease process, based on four pairs of characteristics: Yin vs. Yang, Interior vs. Exterior, Cold vs. Hot, and Deficient vs. Excess. These terms refer to the nature and strength of the pathogen, as well as how advanced that disease has become.