Introduction to Constitutional Medicine

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Underlying a person’s health, and many aspects of their personality, is their constitution, which could also be described as their 'nature' or 'temperament.' There are four distinct constitutions, none of them is better or healthier than another but each is certainly markedly and interestingly different!

What determines a person's constitution is where they sit along two key spectrums that make them relatively either cooler or hotter and, at the same time, either dryer or damper.

Cooler to Hotter

The first spectrum goes from Cooler to Hotter. Partly this reflects in how a person naturally directs their energy more inwardly or outwardly, but it also relates to how they interact with people, their environment, and how they deal with problems and challenges.

Being hotter or cooler even impacts on how a person tends to look and feel. If you read the chapter on working out your constitution (linked below under 'which one are you?') you will see how there are many practical and interesting ways in which these spectrums are entwined in our life and health.


Dryer to Damper

The second spectrum goes from Dryer to Damper. This aspect overlaps the first spectrum, so a person will be cooler to hotter and, at the same time, will either be dryer to damper.

This spectrum reflects in obvious physical ways, i.e. how relatively damper or dryer a person is on their skin and in their bodies, but it also has many other connections with their personality, their food and climate preferences, their natural inclinations towards work and play etc.


Which one are you?

So long as you keep an open mind and don't rush to decide, you should always be able to figure out which constitution you are, or work out that of someone you know, by going through the 8 questions and making some observations as discussed in the article called 'working it out' found here

When you know, click on one of the links below to learn all about it

Tigers: Hotter & Damper

Eagles: Hotter & Dryer

Elephant/Butterflies: Cooler & Dryer

Bears: Cooler & Damper


Further Reading

The further reading in the next sections is written especially for students of some of these old ways, but equally it is there for anyone who has a keen interest or would like to learn more for their own reasons...

Origins & Adaptations

This constitutional model is based on the humoral system of the Ancient Greeks, but it has also been significantly adapted, to read more about the how and why of this read here

Medicines Chart

It is very important to understand that any person from any of the constitutions can potentially benefit from the right medicinal herb at the right time.

That said, it can also be seen that certain remedies often match particularly well to different constitutions or can likewise be of particular help when a person becomes too hot, too cool, too damp or too dry.

A PDF chart showing these common matches can be downloaded here

Cycle of Healing

The cycle of healing includes the four stages of cleansing, activation, nourishment and rest. Whenever a person becomes sick and is not getting better by themselves, there is always at least one part of this cycle that has become blocked. Understanding, care and attention to that stage will set a transformative process of healing into motion.

A PDF chart showing how certain herbs support each phase is found here

The cycle of healing itself is discussed in depth here

Tongue & Pulse Diagnosis

A person can gain immediate insights into a person's constitutional nature as well as where they may need help in the cycle of healing by simply looking at their tongue and learning how to feel their pulse.

This in-depth article is especially written for students or practitioners of holistic medicine, but may also have much to offer a person who has a keen interest in this subject for their own reasons, it's here

Emotional Healing

Lastly, there is an extensive chapter on emotional health and healing for each of the four constitutions but please note that, for these somewhat tricky and rather dark subjects, there are no easy solutions on offer so proceed with caution! The introduction to this section is here

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!





© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd