Prof. Wang Qi from Beijing University explains the story behind the Body Type System
One of the most fascinating treatment methods in TCM is to determine the Body Constitution Type. Oriental Balance is working with this system, because it enables the doctor to identify the optimal treatment for every patient. Even more importantly, it gives the patient the chance to understand the own body and live healthy. On the International Conference of the Modernization of Chinese Medicine & Health Products in August 2014 we were honored to talk to one of the most important figures for the development of the Body Constitution Type System, Prof. Wang Qi from Beijing University.
Prof. Wang, thank you very much for this interview and sharing your thoughts with us. For many years you have been doing intensive research on TCM, and you already published a great volume of scientific literature in national and international journals. Regarding your research on the Body Constitution Types, we would like to know: When you started your work thirty years ago, what was your original motivation?
Prof. Wang Qi:
My motivation… Well, I was wondering: How come we can cure one person with a certain drug easily, but for the next person the exact same medicine doesn’ t seem to work at all? Is the medicine gone bad within a blink of an eye? Or is it something else, that we might overlook?
If two people have the same illness, but the same treatment can’t cure both of them, we shouldn´t wonder about the drug, but switch our focus to the patient. Every patient is different, so the treatment must reflect that. In fact, we must change the order of treatment altogether: Patient comes first, only then followed by the illness. In a second step it is then important to make sure we don’t look at „Sick People“, but at „People’s Sickness“.
Could you explain to us how the system of the Body Constitution Types came to life?
Dr. Wang Qi:
We were looking for a modular framework, that could easily be applied to all kinds of different patients. So we started our project and categorized health statuses, illnesses and their similarities of 12000 probands. It took a while, but step by step we managed to reduce the categories and in the end we established nine different Body Constitution Types. Similariy we developed a questionnaire to identify each patients constitution easily.
From your experience, how long does it usually take for a patient to reach a balanced level?
Prof. Wang Qi:
Once identified, the doctor will consider the Body Constitution Type and chose the treatment accordingly. Due to this customized but easy to apply treatment, the recovery of the whole body system to a balanced level will usually need only half a year, followed by another six month of stabilization.
Now let’s have a look at the bigger picture. Where do you see the Traditional Chinese Medicine on an international level? In your opinion, does TCM apply to everybody and can non-Asians profit from it, too?
Prof. Wang Qi:
As I said, every patient is unique. Moreover, the environment and circumstances we live in vary a lot. But as we look closer at China, we see a vast country with many kinds of geology and living circumstances. People from Guangzhou and Tibet traditionally differ in diet and lifestyle as well as their looks, but still the Body Constitutions apply to both of them. It works, because the system assesses the individual body traits, not race or skin color. Interestingly though, living circumstances and DNA play a vital role as they can influence the proportional distribution of the Body Constitution Types in a society.
Could you give us an idea about the future of TCM? For example, may we ask what are you currently working on?
Prof. Wang Qi:
We currently analyze which Body Constitution Type is prone to which illness. We know for example that among Blue Discomfort Types a common illness is Depression. If patients and doctors are aware of these susceptibilities, spotting symptoms and curing developing illnesses will be much more effective.
And even though the Body Constitution Types already play a successful part in the Chinese Medical System, much work still needs to be done to ensure greater access for every patient. Especially in rural areas with only a limited number of hospitals preventive measures will be of tremendous help. A broader knowledge of the personal constitution and helpful nutrition will empower everybody to take care of their own health.