Studying the Yin Yang first and then the 5 elements theory, my brain was spinning around. While each theory makes sense in its own merit, there is a part of me that goes- make up your mind! How do you know which theory to follow in which situation in a clinical setting? Yes I am impatient.
As it turns out, Yin Yang and the 5 elements are not completely separated.
Recall that the 2 major categories of organs- Zang and Fu? Turns out Zang and Fu each takes on the property of Yin and Yang. The characteristic of Zang, being a solid organ where things move slowly, is considered Yin; and Fu organs are Yang organs as they are hallow and their content move faster.
In the duality of the Yin Yang Universe, each Zang organ is paired with a Fu organ, like a wife-husband pair, and because we now know that each Zang organ is represented by one of the 5 elements, its Fu counterpart would also belong to the same element.
To help myself remember better, I drew up another picture, with elements in the middle, the Zang organs on the Yin side of the circle and their corresponding Fu organs on the Yang side of the circle.
I have to admit, some of the pairing doesn’t make sense in Western medicine trained mind. Liver- Gall bladder, Kidney- Urinary Bladder I understand. But why is the lung paired with large intestine, the heart with small intestine and the spleen with stomach, I am not sure. Instead of pairing them through structural connection, the Zang and Fu organs are considered linked by Meridians and Channels. The Zang and Fu pairs are further connected to the outside world through these Meridians and Channels. Since I haven’t gotten to the part about Meridians and Channels yet, I will keep my mind open for now.