Constitutional Medicine

Based on physiological differences

There are 8 constitutions based on the strength of various physiological functions. For example, the Hepatonia constitution has a strong liver function, and Pancreotonia has a strong pancreas.

Since its introduction by Dr Kuon1 over 60 years ago, Eight Constitution Medicine has seen wide adoption throughout Korea, and its effectiveness has been extensively investigated through peer-reviewed clinical research.

Eight Constitutions

Get to know your constitution

Hepatonia

Hepatonia has strong liver function but weaker lungs. They are generally robust and muscular. When healthy, they have a higher than average blood pressure, and tend to sweat, but that is natural for them.

Filling the lungs with oxygen by mountain climbing or cycling is beneficial, as are warm baths or a sauna. On the other hand, speaking at length exhausts the lungs and leads to fatigue.

The liver produces bile that needs to be used to digest dietary fats. If Hepatonias eat too much seafood, a vegetarian diet, or not enough meat, they feel lethargic and the facial complexion may darken.

Pulmotonia

Pulmotonias have strong lungs and a weaker liver. They can sing or speak at length, but are generally not muscular. They feel weak after perspiring, so sunbathing and vigorous exercise leave them fatigued. On the other hand, they find swimming invigorating because it keeps the skin cool.

When eating meat and wheat, they may suffer from allergies, inflammation, or skin problems such as atopy. Vegetables, seafood, and a gluten-free diet are beneficial for Pulmotonias.

Any medication must be carefully chosen because the detoxifying function of the liver is weak. Alcohol and caffeine should be moderated for the same reason.

Pancreotonia

Pancreotonia is prone to an overactive pancreatic and gastrointestinal system, but the function of the kidneys and adrenals is weaker. This leads to higher levels of gastric acid, a sensitive stomach, and a tendency to constipation.

Pancreotonias need to take care with what they eat. Spicy food, lamb, chicken, ginger, wasabi, and alcohol can give rise to heartburn, and increase the risk of peptic ulcer, diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders. Weak adrenals increase the risk of lower libido, infertility, and prematurely greying hair and aging skin.

The good news is that a suitable diet alone has many benefits: healthier skin, easier weight control, better blood pressure, and improved libido. Iced drinks, fresh seafood and vegetables, pork, and vitamin E are all beneficial for Pancreotonias. Sweating (running/sauna/sunbathing) is good for them, but cold baths and swimming should be avoided.

Renotonia

Renotonias have strong kidneys but a weak pancreatic and digestive system. They are exhausted by overheating through vigorous exercise or sunbathing, whereas swimming is beneficial due to temperature regulation.

Renotonias generally have poor circulation, which is exacerbated by cold food, iced drinks, beer, and pork. On the other hand, lamb, ginger, and spicy food promote metabolic activity and circulation, warming their normally cold hands and feet.

Colonotonia

Colonotonias have a strong large intestine, but weaker gall bladder and liver function. As a result, a gluten-free diet low in fat and dairy is important for their health.

Sushi/rice, green leafy vegetables, clams, iced drinks, hot chocolate, cucumbers, grapes, and vitamin C are all beneficial for them. They should avoid meat, wheat, coffee, and alcohol.

A meat diet can adversely affect the immune function of the intestines, making them susceptible to inflammation, and more serious conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Dementia. Constipation or diarrhoea are early warning signs.

Colonotonias need to be careful when taking medication such as antibiotics because the liver is slow to remove toxins from the body.

Cholecystonia

Cholecystonias have strong gall bladder function but a weak large intestine. They tend to be athletic, have a good appetite, and have frequent bowel movements, typically 2-3 times a day.

A diet including beef, pork, grains, and root vegetables promotes circulation and stamina. They also need vigorous sports activity, or they can suffer from constipation.

If they consume a lot of seafood, cucumbers, and green leafy vegetables, they will often feel abdominal discomfort. They need to keep the abdomen warm, so drinking beer or swimming in cold water can result in diarrhoea, high blood pressure, and respiratory problems.

Gastrotonia

Gastrotonia has an overactive stomach and pancreas, but weaker bladder and kidney function. Foods further promoting hyperactive digestive function (such as spicy food, hot food, greasy food, lamb, chicken, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, curry, tomato, oranges, apples) not only cause digestive problems, but can also result in anxiety and autonomic function imbalance in the long run.

This constitutional imbalance can manifest as indigestion, constipation, chronic headaches, skin issues, and sometimes whole body pain. They should be particularly careful of side effects from medication (such as antibiotics). Alcohol and swimming in cold water are not beneficial.

Fresh and cool foods and drinks can help to counter-balance their overactive digestive function. A glass of cold or iced water in the morning, and mixed grains (e.g. rice, barley, red bean, foxtail millet) would reduce overactivity in the stomach, while pork, seafood (blowfish, monkfish, prawns, crab, oysters), and vitamin E are beneficial for Gastrotonia’s weak kidney function.

When Gastrotonia is on the right constitutional diet, they tend to maintain good health on their own so they usually have less need for visits to the doctor compared to other constitutions.

Vesicotonia

Vesicotonia has strong Bladder/Kidney function but weaker Stomach/Large Intestine function. Their health is closely related to digestive processes. For example, if they eat a lot of cold foods, their already low stomach function gets further weakened. Indigestion becomes the root cause of chronic illness from gastrointestinal dysfunction to psychological issues due to phlegm-dampness accumulation in the body.

Their health can be easily compromised in the Summer season because frequent sweating and cold food intake make their digestive function weaker. Small meals, warm foods, and less sweating are helpful guidelines for Vesicotonia to maintain good health especially in Summer.

Gastroptosis is the signature disorder of Vesicotonia. Profuse sweating and diarrhoea drains their energy and makes them feel fatigued and weak. They should eat small meals throughout the day, rest after meals (but not falling a sleep), avoid cold food and drinks (pork, barley, cold beverages), and prevent sweating, avoid the sauna, and shower with warm water instead of hot water.

1.Kuon, D. 1965 A Study of Constitution Acupuncture, Journal of the International Congress of Acupuncture & Moxibustion, Tokyo Japan Vol. 10, pp.149-167 2.Eight Constitution Medicine official website

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