Did you know that an acupuncturist can do more than just insert very thin needles into your skin at certain points on your body?
Yes, an acupuncturist will most likely make use of disposable sterile needles during his or her treatments. Before determining which acupuncture points to use in the treatment, they must first develop a working diagnosis of your body type. There are several ways by which an acupuncturist can provide an individually tailored treatment, one of those being according to your body constitution.
Body constitution is the individual’s body condition that makes an individual susceptible to certain diseases but not others. Our body’s structure, functions and metabolism can change as we age, therefore there’s an emphasis placed on (but not limited to) diet, environmental factors, emotional state and lifestyle that the acupuncturist will use to diagnosis and treat.
The major body constitution types that one might be classified under are as follows:
- NEUTRAL: Physically fit, emotionally stable, energetic, have good sleep habits and a healthy appetite, adaptable to environmental changes.
- QI DEFICIENT: Easily fatigued, susceptible to the common cold or flu, perspires easily with little physical activity, sensitive to changes in weather. These individuals usually take a longer time to recover from illness.
- YANG DEFICIENT: Aversion to cold and humidity, often complain about feeling cold at the hands, feet and abdomen, often feel unwell after eating cold foods.
- YIN DEFICIENT: Often complain about feeling warm at the palms of the hand and soles of the feet especially at night, dry mouth and nose, dry stools or constipation, aversion to hot and dry weather.
- PHLEGM AND DAMPNESS: Prone to excessive sebum secretions on the face and scalp, excessive phlegm production, chest tightness, sluggish metabolism, aversion to humid and rainy weather.
- DAMP HEAT: Prone to have acne on the face and neck area, often complains of a bitter taste in the mouth, feeling fatigued and heaviness in the body, sense of incomplete defecation or dry stools, excessive secretions or dampness at the reproductive organs, aversion to warm and humid weather.
- BLOOD STASIS: Prone to forgetfulness, irritable, often have dull complexion and pigmentation on the skin, dark-coloured lips, unknown bruising, aversion to cold weather, prone to bleeding disorders and abnormal growths in the body.
- QI STASIS: Copes poorly to stress, prone to mood swings, anxiety and depression, excessive sighing, palpitations, aversion to autumn, winter and rainy seasons.
It should be noted that in reality, it is hard to classify a person into just one type individually, as a mixed type is likely to be present. This is where the experience of a good acupuncturist comes in. However, continuing on with a look at these primary body constitutions, we can look at the corresponding dietary recommendations for them.
Diet should be the core of any good wellness plan. Your acupuncturist might recommend one of the following diets to work with your body’s constitution.
Foods to help treat these types of conditions:
Grains: Barley, millet, rice, sweet (glutinous) rice, oats, buckwheat
Vegetables: Asparagus, cabbage, eggplant, peas, pumpkin, shiitake mushroom, squash, sweet potato, tomato, yam
Fruit: Apple, cherry, red dates, figs, grapes
Nuts/Seeds: Almond, black sesame seeds, walnuts
Fish: Anchovy, mackerel, halibut, eel, clams
Meat: Duck, chicken, beef
Herbs/Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cumin, cloves, turmeric, licorice, jujube dates
Grains: Quinoa, sweet(glutinous) rice, wheat germ
Vegetables: Leek, mustard greens, onion, radish, scallion, squash, sweet potatoes, turnip, watercress
Fruit: Cherry, logan, peach, raspberry, strawberry
Nuts/Seeds: Chestnuts, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, walnuts
Fish: Anchovy, lobster, mussel, prawn, shrimp, trout
Meat: Chicken, lamb, venison
Herbs/Spices: Basil, black pepper, caper, cayenne, cinnamon, clove, dill, garlic, ginger, horseradish, nutmeg, peppermint, rosemary, sage, spearmint, star anise, turmeric, thyme
Grains: Barley, millet
Vegetables: Alfalfa sprout, artichoke, asparagus, kelp, mung bean sprout, pea, potato, seaweed, string bean, sweet potato, tomato, water chestnut, yam, zucchini
Fruit: Apple, apricot, avocado, banana, lemon, mango, pear, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon
Beans: Adzuki, black beans, kidney beans, mung beans, string beans, tofu
Nuts/Seeds: Sesame seed, black sesame seed, walnut
Fish: Fish(general), clam, crab, cuttlefish, oyster, sardine
Meat: Beef, duck, pork
PHLEGM AND DAMPNESS
Grains: Corn, barley, basmati rice
Vegetables: Seaweed, radish, water chestnut, daikon, shiitake mushroom, watercress, cucumber
Fruits: Papaya, grapefruit, pear, persimmon, plantain
Beans: Adzuki, lentils
Nuts/Seeds: Almonds, walnuts
Fish: Eel, tuna, lobster, shrimp
Herbs/Spices: Garlic, horseradish, nettle, parsley, white pepper, cardamom, thyme
Grains: Barley, millet, wheat, rye
Vegetables: Celery, carrots, spinach, swiss chard, eggplants, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, asparagus, watercress, arugula, radish, daikon, corn
Fruits: Blueberry, cranberry, watermelon, persimmons
Beans: Kidney beans, mung beans, Aduki beans
Herbs/Spices: Tamarind, white pepper, cardamom, thyme
Grains: Millet, wheat germ
Vegetables: Chives, eggplant, leek, scallion, garlic, onion, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, turnip, kale, carrot, celery
Fruits: citrus fruits, peach, plum, mango, papaya
Beans: Adzuki beans, black soybeans
Herbs/Spices: Cayenne, saffron, basil, turmeric, ginger, white pepper, arugula, fennel, cardamon
Grains: Buckwheat, barley, wheat
Vegetables: Asparagus, cabbage, turnip, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beets, carrots, celery, kale, spinach, radish
Fruits: Citrus fruits, peach, plum
Beans: Mung beans
Herbs/Spices: Turmeric, basil, horseradish, cardamon, cumin, fennel, ginger, dill, cayenne, garlic
Your acupuncturist can guide you through a cleanse according to your bodily constitution, help rebuild a healthy intestinal flora and finally suggest a core diet to help maintain optimal health.