A Body Constitution refers to a classification of human individuals into different body types, in order to provide guidance for creating medical, nutritional, psychotherapeutic, or exercise programs for the individual.
China has developed a constitutional view for medical purpose for more than 2000 years. It originated at the around the same time as Hippocrates proposed his idea of the “four body fluids” in ancient Greece.
Body Constitution Research
The latest and most influential reference on Body Constitution in Chinese Medicine is based on government funded research done by Wang Qi at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in the last 30 years. In 2009 Wang Qi published Zhongyi Tizhi Fen Ley Yu Panding, which has since become the standard for diagnosis and treatment of Body Constitutions in Chinese Medicine.
While the methodology of the research itself with over 12,000 random human individuals is powerful, the work also establishes a foundation of Chinese Medicine Body Constitution theory.
For each of the 9 identified Body Constitutions, the quantitative research was able to assign a unique genetic DNA structure and body metabolism, and demonstrated the link between a Body Constitution and respective diseases.
Components of Body Constitutions
According to Wang Qi’s research, the Body Constitution is influences by both internal and external factors:
Internal Factors: The constitution is affected by the genetic DNA inherited from the parents, and any related components such as gender and age.
External / Dynamic Factors:
Diet | Environment | History of diseases | Lifestyle
The 9 Body Constitutions
Each Body Constitution module has its unique integrated and stable pattern in terms of the body shape, physiological characteristics and emotions. The table below outlines the key features of the nine Body Constitutions:
|Body Constitution||Symptoms||Body features||Personality||Environmental weakness|
|Hot & Humid||Skin impurities such as acne, oily face or athletic feet; mouth and body odor; hair loss||Normal or Slim||Anxious||Heat and humidity|
|Heavy & Humid||Overweight; hypertension; high blood cholesterol; high blood sugar; abnormal menstruation (for women)||Over Weight||Patient||Humidity|
|Dry Fire||Feel hot; dry skin and lips; irritable; early menstruation (for women)||Slim||Impatient||High tolerance of cold, low tolerance of heat|
|Cold & Pale||Easy to feel cold; sensitive to cold drinks||Soft muscles||Introvert and Quiet||High tolerance of heat, low tolerance of cold|
|Weak Energy||Weak immune system; lack of energy; weak digestive system||Soft muscles||Introvert||Wind, cold and heat|
|Slow Blood||Diabetes; black eye lids; blue veins and pains; irregular menstruation (for women)||Over Weight or Slim||Irritable||Cold|
|Blue Discomfort||Depression; lack of energy; headache and insomnia||Slim||Introvert and Sensitive||Rain or lack of sun|
|Allergic||Allergies||Depends on the allergy||Depends on the Allergy||Depends on the allergy|
It should be emphasized that in reality, people usually have a mixed Body Constitution such as a combination of Hot & Humid with Heavy & Humid. When planning a treatment such as a diet therapy it is necessary consider the individual’s needs.