EMC Staff  









Constitutional Assessment

Each of us has a unique and recognizable constitutional type which, according to Chinese Medicine, is as permanent as our genetic pattern or blood type. By knowing your body type, you and your health practitioner will understand how climate, food, herbs, medicines and other people will affect you natural energy field. This leads to harmony with Nature. Since disease (or dis-ease) is usually the result an acute or long term imbalance, by knowing your Five Element body type you can learn to take the appropriate healing action with the help of a qualified practitioner.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a 2,500 plus year-old system of healing, there are five basic constitutional types, based on the five Chinese elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Balancing these elements is a key to maintaining health. To find out which element(s) you may need to balance, look over the characteristics below. Five Element Healing principles help the practitioner to gain an understanding of the constitutional strengths and weaknesses of each individual. This understanding in turn helps the patient to gain a greater understanding of themselves.

See constitutional types below



    What Constitutional Type(s) Are You?

     Click on a Constitutionl Type below to learn more


Are You a Water Type?
Water symbolically represents fluidity, or the ability to "go with the flow." Hence, if you're person who is like water you will be yielding, flexible, and easy-going. You may also be timid, fearful and "wishy-washy" at times. This is why an excess of fear is thought to be harmful to the kidneys and bladder, the organs logically associated with the water element in Chinese medicine.

The kidneys do more than eliminate waste water, however. They also regulate pH in the blood and maintain fluid and mineral balance. This helps explain to how the kidneys in Chinese medicine also came to be associated with the bones. Weak kidneys create weak bones. This is because waste acids can't be flushed efficiently from the body causing mineral loss from the bones.

When excess water and water-like personality tendencies (timidity, fearfulness and indecision) are too strong in the body, edema, scant or clear urine, heavy sluggish feelings, bladder infections and burning urinations can manifest.  

When there is a loss of water - quality in the body, this can create brittleness and stiffness, spinal misalignment, chronic backache (especially in the low back), weak knees and ankles, arthritis and osteoporosis. Water people may lack "backbone" or have become so hardened, inflexible and rigid in their thought processes that they can no longer flow with the changes in their lives.

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Are You a Fire Type?
It's pretty easy to relate to what the element of fire symbolizes in the body. We talk about an excited person as being "all fired up" or a passionate person as being "hot" or "on fire." Fire is the element of enthusiasm, drive, desire, and passion. If you are a person who is full of fire you will be lively, dynamic, outgoing and enthusiastic. When that fire is deficient, you'll feel "burned out."

In Chinese medicine, fire relates to the heart and circulatory system. Fire also relates to the nerves and glands, although in traditional Chinese medicine they didn't really understand the function of the nerves and glands, so they called these systems the triple warmer and sex energy. Still, it's pretty easy to understand that an excess of "fire" in Chinese medicine refers to a high-strung, highly stressed person.

A person with excess fire might experience anxiety, insomnia, absent-mindedness, extremes of emotion, nervousness and tension, dizziness, light-headedness, mania or even heart palpitations.

A person who has lost their fire would feel "burned-out."
This manifests as fatigue with restless and disturbed sleep patterns. The person feels overwhelmed, tired, nervous but exhausted, and may suffer from emotional sensitivity, muddled thinking, mental confusion, loss of short term memory, loss of sexual desire, and sensations of pressure and pain in the chest that make them feel like something is wrong with their heart.

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Are You an Earth Type?

Maybe you're not the "fired-up" kind. Maybe you're more "down to earth." Earth symbolizes the nurturing mother energy, sympathetic, prone to worry and fret and maybe over-motherly to the point point it's smothering sometimes. Earth people tend to try to do too much for others and wind up stressed as a result.

Considering the associations of earth with mothering, it's very easy to understand how this earth energy could be associated with our digestive system, the stomach and pancreas (or spleen in Chinese medicine). The stomach receives our food and initiates the digestive process required to nourish us. The pancreas secretes enzymes to finish the process.

However, the Chinese concept doesn't stop with digestion. In Chinese medicine, the spleen was thought to be the organ that transforms the food we eat into flesh of muscle mass. So, the entire process of metabolizing food, and protein in particular, is associated with the Chinese concept of spleen.

We all recognize that worry and stress create stomach upset. "Don't worry too much, it will give you an ulcer." It's not a good idea to eat when we feel rushed and stressed, but in today's face-paced, fast-food world, many of us do it anyway. As a result we often wind up with a sour stomach, bloating, gas, and other signs of digestive upset.

The Spleen Type may experience occasional acute indigestion (acid stomach, acid reflux, gas, bloating, foul belching, etc.). This type usually has a "do it all" kind of attitude where they take on too much trying to help other people. As a result they wind up with worry, stress and the frequent digestive upset that accompanies it.

The Earth person often has weakened digestion and poor metabolic efficiency, so they are not assimilating nutrients - especially protein. They tend to be thin, pale and unable to gain muscle mass and have a difficult time transforming food into energy.

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Are You a Metal Type?

Metal is the stuff that swords and shields are made of, so it should be of little surprise that the guarded, aloof, socially-correct person has a lot of "metal" in them. If you're a metal person, you may have a lot of unacknowledged grief and sadness inside, so you may have shielded yourself to avoid experiencing more emotional pain.

The Chinese associate the metal element with the lungs and colon, but it might be more correct to say that metal element is related to the mucus membranes which line both of these systems. These mucus membrane linings in the digestive tract, lungs, and sinuses are the body's first line of immune defense. Most infections will enter through this route. So, metal is also symbolic of our immune response - swords and shields, again.

Metal invokes ideas of substance, structure and strength. The metal element is associated with autumn because this is the time of year when all things begin to consolidate within themselves. A metal person would begin to pull all reserves and store up for the coming winter. Although life appears to fade on the surface, it is still present, deep within things.

Metal Types have a tendency toward acute respiratory congestion, bronchitis, asthma, wheezing, coughing, allergies, sinus headaches, etc... and often need help opening up congested respiratory passages.

Metal Types may also experience chronic weakness of the lungs, prolonged grieving, chronic deep coughs, tightness of the chest and other conditions which suggest chronic weakness of the metal energy in the body, so supporting metal strengthens this primary line of immune defense. This can also help deeply repressed grief and sadness and the inability to express this emotional pain for those tend to be aloof and emotionally distant.

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Are You a Wood Type?
Wood is symbolic of life and the process of renewing life. In Chinese philosophy, it is associated with assertiveness, aggressiveness, strong drives and anger. When the wood element is weak, that drive is diminished, making a person feel discouraged or depressed, If you are a wood person, you are prone to these types of emotional responses.

Wood relates to the organs of the liver and gallbladder. The liver is the biochemical mastermind of the body. It is the major center for neutralizing environmental toxins and the primary organ for preparing nutrients for transport though the bloodstream, this is why the Chinese say the liver builds the blood. The gallbladder helps digest fats, which are essential to healthy skin, nerves and glands. It also serves as an avenue for eliminating certain types of toxins.

When the liver is stressed and overworked, a Wood person will tend to feel irritable and cranky. They may be restless and unable to get to sleep at night, but feel groggy and "hung over" in the morning. Hypoglycemia, migraine headaches, PMS symptoms, allergies, abdominal pain and skin conditions can all occur when the liver is thus burdened. The wood excess type needs support in reducing excess wood energy, and support of the liver and gallbladder in reducing the toxic load in the body.

People who are deficient in wood energy experience weakness in the liver and gallbladder. This results in an inability to move forward in a constructive manner and possible feeling of discouragement and depression. Physically, this chronic weakness of the liver and gallbladder energy would result in fatigue, vague health problems (that doctors say are "all in their head"), menstrual problems in women, intestinal inflammation, abdominal pain, chronic liver problems, anxiety, depression, low energy and digestive problems.

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By utilizing Chinese Medicine Techniques, Autonomic Response Testing (Applied Kinesiology), and food allergy/intolerance testing, Dr. Price can quickly and easily help you to gain a greater understanding of your constitutional make-up. Constitutional dietary modifications, nutritional and natural supplement therapies, homeopathic medicines, and vibrational therapies may be indicated to bring your body, mind, spirit into greater balance and harmony.







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