Understand Your TCM Body Constitution and Get Healthy!

10 min read


By Wing Joo Loong Team

Key Takeaways

  • Pay attention to the physical and emotional changes you may experience, such as heart palpitations, fatigue or hot temperedness. They can be signs that your body is out of balance. Ignoring them may lead to long-term health issues. 
  • TCM classifies body constitutions into nine types, and each of us has a unique mix of primary and secondary body constitutions influenced by genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. 
  • Knowing your current body constitution allows you to tailor your lifestyle and self-care habits for optimal wellness.
An individual who has an imbalanced body constitution may experience long-term health issues if it is neglected.

Feeling fatigued? Experiencing heart palpitations? Or falling ill too frequently?

These common well-being concerns have become increasingly prevalent in light of Singapore’s fast-paced hustle culture. According to Mercer’s 2022 report, one in five individuals in Singapore felt drained at work, double the Asia average. These physical and emotional manifestations caused by daily stressors may indicate disharmony in your body, and if ignored, can lead to long-term health issues.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), achieving and maintaining balance within your body's systems is key to having optimal health. This balance is influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors such as living or work environments, diet, exercise habits and emotional well-being. 

What does 'body constitution' mean in TCM?

During consultations with TCM practitioners, they will examine your facial complexion, tongue and pulse to identify physical manifestations of imbalance within your body. By combining these observations with a comprehensive understanding of your recent lifestyle habits and routines, TCM practitioners can diagnose the imbalances occurring within your body and determine their underlying causes. 

In TCM, body constitutions are classified into nine main types, with the neutral body constitution considered the healthiest and ideal state to strive for. Our body constitution serves as the foundation for well-being and plays a significant role in determining overall health and susceptibility to specific health conditions.

Each of us possesses a unique body constitution consisting of one primary and one to two secondary constitutions. Both the primary and secondary constitutions can be influenced and modified by lifestyle, diet and environmental factors.

Understanding your unique body constitution can empower you to make informed lifestyle choices and adopt self-care practices that cultivate internal well-being and harmony.

What are the 9 body constitution types?

1. Neutral body constitution

An individual with a neutral body constitution is regarded as being in an optimal state of health.

The neutral body constitution is considered an optimal state of health, indicating a well-balanced body. People with a neutral constitution often exhibit certain characteristics, including a radiant complexion, an abundance of energy, a healthy appetite, regular bowel movements and a stable emotional well-being.

2. Yin deficiency body constitution

An individual with a Yin deficiency body constitution commonly experiences increased thirst and a strong craving for cold beverages.

Ah, the walking deserts! Do you often feel thirsty and find yourself enjoying colder beverages? 

These could be signs of having a Yin deficiency body constitution, which indicates an energy imbalance characterised by a lack of Yin fluids to counterbalance your body's warming Yang energy.

In TCM, Yin represents the cooling, calming and nourishing elements of your body such as blood, sweat and semen. 

Common characteristics and symptoms of Yin deficiency physique include:

  • Warm palms, soles or chest
  • Frequent thirst and a preference for cold drinks
  • Red lips, dry and red tongue with little or no coating
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia

Potential causes of Yin deficiency physique may include:

  • Consuming excessive heaty, spicy and greasy foods
  • Insufficient rest or sleep
  • Prolonged stress and fatigue

How to balance Yin deficiency physique?

  • Consume foods and herbs such as wolfberries, lily bulbs, snow fungus, spinach, pear in your diet to support Yin replenishment and reduce excess heat
  • Engage in gentle activities like yoga or meditation to promote relaxation and reduce stress
  • Get adequate rest and avoid late nights

3. Yang deficiency body constitution

Do you feel every day is sweater weather? This could be a sign of having a Yang deficiency body constitution, which indicates an energy imbalance where your body’s Yang energy becomes weakened, resulting in reduced warmth and metabolism.

In TCM, Yang represents the warm, energising and active aspects of the body, including metabolic functions and vitality.

 tend to have cold limbs and frequently crave hot food and drinks.

Common characteristics and symptoms of Yang deficiency physique include:

  • Preference for hot drinks and food
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Pale swollen tongue with white, moist coating and teeth marks on the edges
  • Fatigue, low energy

Potential causes of Yang deficiency physique may include:

  • Consuming too much cold and raw foods
  • Overworking for a prolonged period

How to balance Yang deficiency physique?

4. Phlegm-dampness body constitution

Perhaps you might feel an icky stickiness at the back of your throat and experience sluggishness? You may have a phlegm-dampness body constitution, which indicates an imbalance in your digestive system, affecting your body’s ability to regulate and distribute fluids properly.

In TCM, dampness refers to excessive moisture or fluid accumulation in the body, which can transform into phlegm when it becomes thick and stagnant.

An individual with a phlegm-dampness body constitution has a tendency for  excessive sweating that feels sticky in nature.

Common characteristics and symptoms of phlegm-dampness physique include:

  • Oily face
  • Excessive and sticky sweat
  • Swollen tongue with thick white greasy tongue coating
  • Excessive phlegm in the throat
  • Sluggishness and fatigue

Potential causes of phlegm-dampness physique may include:

  • Consuming too much cold, deep-fried, greasy or sugary foods
  • Lack of exercise

How to balance phlegm-dampness physique?

  • Consume foods and herbs that improve digestive function, reduce dampness and phlegm such as Chinese yam, si shen tang, tangerine peel
  • Engage in regular exercises that promote circulation and sweating like jogging or vinyasa flow yoga
  • Keep your living spaces well-ventilated to prevent humidity buildup

5. Damp-heat body constitution

Are you experiencing irritability frequently or have recurring issues with bad breath? These could be signs of having a damp-heat body constitution, which indicates an imbalance in your body’s digestive system, fluid regulation and energy balance, which leads to an excess of dampness and internal heat accumulation.

In TCM, dampness refers to excessive moisture or fluid accumulation in the body while heat represents an excess of heat energy in the body.

Common characteristics and symptoms of damp-heat physique include:

  • Often experience a bitter taste, bad breath or strange taste in the mouth
  • Oily complexion, prone to acne breakout
  • Thick yellowish tongue coating
  • Short, scanty and dark yellow urine
  • Irritable and short-tempered

Potential causes of damp-heat physique may include:

  • Consuming too much spicy, deep-fried or greasy foods
  • Prolonged exposure to a hot and humid environment
  • Smoking, drinking or frequent late nights

How to balance damp-heat physique?

  • Consume foods and herbs that have cooling properties, help drain dampness and are gentle on the digestive system such as Chinese barley, liu wei tang, honeysuckle
  • Engage in regular exercises like pilates and brisk walking to promote circulation
  • Keep your living spaces well-ventilated to prevent excessive moisture buildup

6. Qi deficiency body constitution

An individual with a phlegm-dampness body constitution commonly experience persistent fatigue.

Do you often feel drained, regardless of how much rest you think you have had? It could be indicative of a Qi-deficient body constitution, which signifies an imbalance in your body's vital energy, leading to insufficient Qi to support optimal functioning and overall vitality.

In TCM, Qi represents the vital energy that flows through the body, providing nourishment and balance to all organs, tissues and body systems.

Common characteristics and symptoms of Qi deficiency physique include:

  • Easily feeling tired and fatigued
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness when standing up
  • Prone to catching colds
  • Pale tongue with white coating and teeth marks around the edges

Potential causes of Qi deficiency physique may include:

  • Poor nutrition or digestion
  • Overworking or physique deterioration after illness recovery
  • Excessive anxiety and stress

How to balance Qi deficiency physique?

  • Consume Qi-boosting herbs and warm, easily digestible foods that nourish the digestive system such as ginseng, wolfberries, red dates, Chinese yam
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Engage in gentle exercises like yoga to support and regulate your energy levels

7. Qi-stagnation body constitution

Experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression or restlessness? It could be a manifestation of having a Qi-stagnation body constitution. This imbalance disrupts the smooth flow of energy, causing Qi to become stagnant within your body.

Common characteristics and symptoms of Qi-stagnation physique include:

  • Persistent anxiety and emotional tension
  • Dull or sallow complexion
  • Poor sleep quality and decreased appetite
  • Pale red tongue with thin white coating

Potential causes of Qi-stagnation physique may include:

  • Prolonged periods of high stress without sufficient rest
  • Excessive worrying and frequent low moods
  • Poor dietary habits such as consuming excessive spicy, greasy and heaty foods

How to balance Qi-stagnation physique?

  • Nourish your digestive system and promote Qi flow with foods and herbs like French rose buds, hawthorn, mint and tofu
  • Cultivate emotional well-being through relaxing and joyful activities like journaling and meditation
  • Create serene living space with plants and soothing scents to support emotional well-being and promote harmonious Qi flow

8. Blood stasis body constitution

If you frequently notice unexplained bruises on your body, it could be a sign of having a blood stasis body constitution. This indicates an energy imbalance where there is a disruption or blockage in the smooth flow of blood throughout your body.

In TCM, blood is a vital substance that nourishes and moistens your body, supplying nutrients, oxygen and energy (Qi) for overall well-being.

Common characteristics and symptoms of blood stasis physique include:

  • Frequent occurrence of bruises or unexplained bruising
  • Dull and rough skin complexion
  • Dark and dull lips
  • A dark/purplish tongue colour or dark spots on the tongue’s surface

Potential causes of blood stasis physique may include:

  • Long-term Qi and blood deficiencies
  • Emotional instability
  • Excessive consumption of cold or raw foods

How to balance blood stasis physique?

  • Consume foods and herbs that promote blood circulation and resolve stagnation such as Chinese angelica root, Chinese yam, black fungus, black beans
  • Exercise regularly to promote blood circulation and relieve stress
  • Consider warm baths or using warm compresses to relieve any discomfort
Do exercises such as Yoga to promote blood circulation and alleviate the symptoms associated with a blood stasis body constitution.

9. Allergic body constitution

Are you highly sensitive to certain substances and prone to allergies? Do you frequently experience conditions such as asthma, hives, nasal, pollen or drug allergies? If so, you may have an allergic body constitution.

Common characteristics and symptoms of allergic physique include:

  • Frequent and unexplained nasal congestion, sneezing and runny nose
  • More prone to allergies triggered by drugs, food, pollen or seasonal changes
  • More sensitive to changes in temperature, humidity, air quality or other environmental factors

Potential causes of allergic physique may include:

  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Weakened immune system
  • Long-term unhealthy eating habits

How to balance allergic physique?

  • Eat a variety of whole foods and grains like Chinese barley, lotus seeds, millet and mushroom to nourish the spleen and stomach, boost Qi and strengthen the immune system
  • Exercise regularly and practise stress-relieving techniques like deep breathing exercises 

Getting healthy with optimal body constitution

Wellness is a continuous journey and nurturing healthy habits is vital in this process. Regularly monitoring your body's condition can give you valuable insights into your body's unique needs and help you take proactive steps to achieve balance and well-being.

Curious to know your body constitution?

Identifying your body constitutions can be complex due to the interconnectedness of our body systems.

Visit any Wing Joo Loong store for a complimentary AI face scan and receive personalised reconditioning guidance, including tailored lifestyle and dietary tips for your unique body type.

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Any self-care tips to help manage menstrual pains?

1.Avoid cold drinks, reduce water sports, and keep warm before your expected menstrual period.

2.Drink Brown Sugar Ginger Tea 2 days before menstruation starts or when menstrual cramps occur. Boil 15g of brown sugar and 15g of young ginger in a pot of water.

3.Acupressure massage for pain relief:

He Gu Acupoint

Location: Tender point found on the back of the hand between the thumb and the index finger

Function: He Gu Acupoint is a common point used to relieve pain and can help to relieve painful period cramps

How to massage: Press the acupoint with your other thumb and massage for 1 minute each time

Tai Chong Acupoint

Location: Tender point between the big toe and second toe

Function: Tai Chong Acupoint belongs to the Liver meridian and can help to improve Qi circulation to help improve mood and reduce irritability

How to massage: Press on the acupoint with your thumb and massage for 1 minute each time

Qi Hai Acupoint

Location: 1.5 inches below the belly button

Function: Qi Hai literally translates to “Sea of Energy” and is believed to be the point on the body where Qi gathers. Pressing this acupoint can help to increase Qi and energy and reduce bloating

How to massage: Press with your index and middle finger and massage for 1 minute each time

4.Add TCM herbs to your cooking or as dietary supplements

  • Angelica root (当归): Nourishes blood, regulates menstrual cycle and improves blood flow
  • Rehmannia (熟地): Nourishes Kidney, regulates menstrual cycle and improves blood circulation
  • Red peony root (赤芍): Improves blood circulation and relieves pain
  • Sichuan loveage root (川芎): Improves both Qi and Blood circulation

5.Exercise moderately to improve blood circulation, strengthen immunity, and increase Qi to overcome fatigue during menstruation.

Any self-care tips to help manage menstrual pains?

The information above serves as a general guide only. Please consult a certified TCM practitioner for a more accurate diagnosis and treatment.

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