Bridging Chinese Medicine and Western science is tricky. We cannot always find an exact meeting place, but since all medical practitioners are trying to understand the same thing (the human body in health and disease), all is not lost in translation. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) provides a great starting point for the western mind to understand the Chinese principle of Yin and Yang.
Yin and Yang are energies that give rise to physical manifestation. Western science is masterful at examining, classifying, and tracking physical manifestation. Chinese Medicine is equally adept in the realm of Yin and Yang. I relate the Sympathetic Division to one’s manifestation of Yang energy, and the Parasympathetic to one’s manifestation of Yin.
Western medicine tends to dissect and treat the parts of the body. Chinese Medicine tends to observe systems and treat patterns of disharmony. Western medicine would attempt to treat the hypothalamus directly to resolve certain ailments while Chinese Medicine would attempt to balance Yin and Yang to achieve the same results.
–Excerpt from the IJHPA Volume 1 Issue 1 Summer 2012 Yin, Yang and the Autonomic Nervous System by Cindy Black, L.Ac.