Introduction to Constitutional Medicine

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Underlying a person’s health, and many aspects of their personality, is their constitution, which could also be described as their 'nature' or 'temperament.' There are four distinct constitutions and, whilst not one of them is inherently better or healthier than another, each one is markedly, and most interestingly, different!

What determines a person's constitution is where they sit along two key spectrums that make them relatively cooler to hotter and, at the same time, relatively dryer to damper.

Cooler to Hotter

The first spectrum is described as going from Cooler to Hotter. People don't start out in life with a greater or lesser store of ' energy' but we can see that some people focus their energy more inwardly, which puts them towards the cooler side of this spectrum, whilst others channel their energy more outwardly, which puts them towards the hotter side of the spectrum.

The way we naturally direct our energy is just one aspect of the cool to hot spectrum, it also relates to how we interact with people and the environment, how we deal with health problems, even how we look and feel. If you read the page linked below in the section 'which one are you?' you will see how, in the process of working out a person's constitution, there are a number of practical ways in which this spectrum is entwined in our life and health.


Dryer to Damper

The second constitutional spectrum goes from Dryer to Damper. This aspect overlaps the first spectrum so people tend to be relatively cooler to hotter and, at the same time, they tend to be relatively dryer to damper.

A tendency to be dryer or damper can reflect in quite obvious ways in a person's skin and internal fluids but this spectrum equally has a huge influence on how we think, how we feel and how we like to engage with our work and the world we live in. Again, if you go through the 'which one are you?' section just below you will see a number of examples of how this spectrum reflects in life.


Which one are you?

If you have not seen me in person then you can work out your constitution, or someone you know, by going through a series of questions to find out 'which one are you?' this is found here

When you know, click on one of the links below to learn more...

Tigers: Hotter & Damper

Eagles: Hotter & Dryer

Elephant/Butterflies: Cooler & Dryer

Bears: Cooler & Damper


Further Reading

For some time now I have been sharing my experiences and understanding of this fascinating subject with my colleagues and students via seminars, webinars, articles and forums. With my fellow practitioners in mind, but also for anyone who has a keen interest in this subject for their own reasons, I include the following articles and PDF charts:

Origins & Adaptations

This constitutional model is based on the humoral system of the Ancient Greeks but has been significantly adapted, to read more about how and why read here

Constitutional Notes

Each constitution has qualities that come to the fore in sickness and in health and each has characteristic differences that are reflected in the elements and the seasons. The 'Nature of constitutions' chart is found here

Next is a 'Constitutional Medicines' chart, this must not be read to mean that some herbs are only suitable to some people, that is not the case at all, but rather simply that there are certain herbs that tend to work especially well for certain constitutions... this chart is found here

Cycle of Healing

The Cycle of Healing links an understanding of the constitutions with what it is that can most help a person to heal from chronic illness. This subject is introduced and further discussed here and there is a chart that illustrates how herbs work in with the healing cycle found here

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!





© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd