Children Walking



In order to understand why and how the principle of Yin and Yang can explain the unique and different nature of the children we will go over what Yin and Yang represent in nature and and how this is incorporated in Chinese medicine.


Yang in nature represents light, sun, brightness, activity (1) Thus it logically represents energy/warming faculty in the human body. Yin in nature represents darkness, shade, rest (1). It translates into the material aspect of the human body. Thus Yin represents matter, blood, body fluids, while Yang is the force that makes them come to live.


There is good health when Yin and Yang are in balance (i.e. energy and matter are in balance). When there is deficiency of Yang Yin instantly becomes excessive and vice versa – when there is deficiency of Yin Yang becomes excessive. Yang deficiency means that the energy/warming principle of the organ is deficient leading to “excess matter”, i.e. sluggishness, lethargy, overflow. Vice versa – Yin deficiency means that the matter of the organ is deficient leading to excess energy. If this excess energy remains for a longer period of time it will transform into heat.


But how do our children manifest Yin and Yang?



Child For Yin And Yang



Our children are like the root of a plant. The root contains the life force of the plant, its entire energetic potential. As mentioned above excess energy manifests as “heat”. Thus the roots, which contain the whole life force of the plant, in Chinese herbology are considered to be “hot”.


Just like the root of a plant our children contain the entire energetic potential of their life in their tiny bodies. Therefore children have so much more energy than adults. As a matter of fact in comparison to the energy level of adults children appear to be “hyperactive”. Later when they grow up and become adults this excess energy will get distributed throughout the grown up body, Yin and Yang (matter and energy) will get balanced, and the natural “hyperactivity” of the childhood will diminish.


So from traditional Chinese medicine perspective children can be seen to hold more of Yang in themselves than Yin. Yin and Yang in children appear "unbalanced" because their Yin aspect (their bodies) does not correspond/is not reciprocal to their Yang aspect - their immense energy volume. Thus some of the preventive methods offered in the Holistic Pediatrics chapter stress on the importance of avoiding some Yang aspects in early childhood such as overheating (overdressing) and excess energy building foods (such as sugar and sugar products), and in their place offer Yin aspects such as coolness, good amount of sleep, and matter building foods (Yin represents coolness, rest and matter). These Yin aspects aim to harmonize the temporarily excess Yang, which as a whole will manifest in healthier and more content children.




(1) Maciocia, Giovanni (1989). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Nanjing: Harcourt Publishers Limited


Note:  This is a theory based on the author's perspective of traditional Chinese medicine and her personal experience as a parent. Nevertheless it is essential that you stay in touch with and consult your  pediatrician at all times!


Related Articles:

Healthy Eating Habits for Children Based on the Theory of Yin and Yang

Acute Illnesses in Children - The Role of the Five Elements

Spring (Element Wood) - "wind evil" - common colds, flu

Summer (Element Fire) - "heat evil" - inflamed red swollen tonsils, constipation, bleeding

Summer (Element Fire) - "summer-heat evil" - sweating, dehydration, fever, thirst - all during summer season

Late Summer (Element Earth) - "damp evil" - diarrhea, colic, vomiting

Fall (Element Metal) - "dry evil" - dry cough, dry throat, dry mouth, hoarse voice/unresolved dry cough leading to productive cough

Winter (Element Water) - "cold evil" - muscle cramps, pain, ear infections



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