In Chinese medicine, determining an individual’s body type allows doctors to prescribe advice corresponding to their patients’ individual constitutions. The easiest way to ascertain your body type is by the shape of your face (while facial contours may change a bit as weight fluctuates and as we age, the basic shape remains fixed).
A rectangular face shape represents the “wood” body type, square represents “metal,” an inverted triangle represents “fire,” an inverted trapezoid is “earth,” and oval is “water.” Follow the advice below to achieve the best longevity for your body type.
Wood Body Type
The best advice for wood body types is to relax. Wood types (rectangular faces) are prone to liver and gall bladder imbalances as well as cardiovascular disorders such as heart attacks, hypertension, and stroke. The personality tends to be high-strung, impatient, assertive, and competitive, predisposing wood types to nervous disorders such as mania, depression, and panic attacks. Problems with muscles, tendons, and finger or toe nails may be common. Rest and relaxation are key to keeping the wood type from going up in flames. Stress-release meditation and Tai Chi will also help counterbalance this high-strung constitution. If you recognize yourself as this type, you’d be well advised to minimize alcohol, red meat, and fatty foods.
Metal Body Type
The best advice for metal body types is to exercise. People who are metal types (square faces) follow law and order. Almost engineer-like, they are precise, organized, methodical, and often idealistic. These cerebral, logical perfectionists may dwell too much in the intellect and lose touch with their feelings and physicality. Consequently, repressed or unacknowledged feelings, especially sadness and grief, can lead to stress and a weakened immune system. Metal types are prone to problems with the lungs, sinuses, throat, intestines, and skin. If you’re a metal type, regular exercise will help to balance body and mind. Try using art to express feelings, and avoid overly spicy, highly processed, or refined foods.
Fire Body Type
If you’re a fire type (inverted triangular face), you’re attentive to minute details, passionate, charismatic, and spontaneous. Fire types are also very creative, and their minds are constantly at work. They’re empathetic and connect with people on an emotional level. They are, however, prone to heart problems, especially palpitations and fast heartbeat, and tend to develop circulation problems such as varicose veins. Emotional breakdowns, anxiety, and overexcitement sometimes disrupt their lives. Fire types often have difficulty sleeping and tend to run on nervous energy. Does this shoe fit? If so, you need a stable, calm, and supportive lifestyle and will likely benefit from avoiding excessive excitement in your life (and stimulants in your diet).
Earth Body Type
The best advice for earth body types is to eliminate sugar from their diet. The earth types (inverted trapezoid face) are caretakers, like the earth energy they embody. They are generally well-liked, have easygoing personalities, and willingly make personal sacrifices to enable a good friend or family member to achieve a personal goal. Yet earth types tend to worry incessantly and are prone to developing digestive problems, having low energy, and becoming overweight. Bloating, water retention, and muscle aches are common. Giving freely of themselves to others, they gravitate toward food for their own fulfillment. Earth type, do your best to avoid sugar, sweets, and refined carbohydrates like breads, pasta, and pastry. Learn to say no to others’ requests to avoid depleting your energy. Remind yourself to be more spontaneous, playful, and physical.
Water Body Type
The best advice for water body types is less salt. Those who are water types (oval face) are introspective, mysterious, and truth seekers. They tend to be highly imaginative, original, and possessed of a strong sex drive. Water types like to be self-sufficient, disdain waste, and do not give up easily. They may struggle with loneliness and isolation, because they can be critical and find it hard to share with others. This body type is prone to disorders of the kidney, bladder, and reproductive systems and may have back pain, poor teeth, and memory loss. Hormonal imbalances are another common issue here. Chinese tradition advises avoiding salt in your diet and adding more sweetness in your social life. Finally, finding spiritual connection is key to your fulfillment.
It is important to keep all the elements balanced in your own life and body. Another great way to do this is with herbal supplements such as our family formula, called Five Elements for Health. It is our most powerful formula and offers whole body support, combining all the herbs from the Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood elements. It is a balanced, natural whole food combination of 44 traditional Chinese herbs to support healthy function of the five bodily systems. Five Elements helps promote physical vitality, higher tolerance for stress, strong immunity, a clear mind, suppleness of body, healthy appetite and digestion, proper fluid metabolism, and balanced hormonal function.
I hope this article helps you learn more about you and your health and will add years to your life!
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao, is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He practices acupuncture, nutrition and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, a Wellness Medicine group that won the “L.A.’s Best” Award. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica over 25 years ago. In addition, he is the cofounder and Chancellor of Yo San University in Venice/Marina del Rey. To subscribe to a free newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310-917-2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at [email protected]
Tai Chi and Qi Gong Classes
1412 14th Street, Santa Monica
The Wellness Store offers classes in Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Dao-In Yoga to help increase your energy, improve balance and reduce stress. All our instructors are CHI certified and drop-in attendees are welcome. Please call the Wellness Store for a complete class schedule.