Do You Have a Balanced Constitution? 

Normal or neutral body constitution

 March 24, 2021

By  Juli Kramer, PhD

According to Chinese medicine, people with a balanced constitution are lucky to have inherited a healthy constitution from their parents. They still need to follow TCM principles to keep balanced and stay healthy.

People with a balanced, yin and yang harmonious constitution are balanced in mind and body. Physically, these people usually have a symmetrical head, shoulders, and chest. They are even-tempered. While not necessarily strong, they quickly adapt to different situations and environments. They are good at self-healing as well.

What enables a balanced constitution?

A balanced body constitution is primarily bestowed upon you by your parents.  At conception you receive strong prenatal qi. Much like the concept of genetics in western medicine, according to TCM, at conception your parents set your foundational energetic nature. Wang Chong, a Chinese medicine practitioner in the 1st century CE writes that:

Strength and long life, weakness and short life are connected with the copiousness and scarcity of the receive qi…When the qi is copious, the body becomes strong, and the body being strong, life lasts long. On the other hand, when the vital force is scanty, the body is weak, and with a weak body, life is short…A short life is accompanied by much sickness.

A yin and yang harmonious body constitution can also be cultivated through proper lifestyle choices. As an example, if your parents fed you nourishing whole foods as a child, they helped you maintain and even strengthen your healthy condition.  

Another example is if your parents created an emotionally stable environment. If you were raised in a home where people got along and learned how to communicate positively, you expended less qi. As an adult, if you continue to stay calm and use effective communication skills, your qi will continue to stay strong.

Furthermore, you can continue to build acquired sources of qi by following TCM principles. It might be easier for you to maintain a balanced body constitution than other people. However, you can also lose your good health if you make unhealthy lifestyle choices.

You can keep feeling great

Maintaining positive dietary, exercise, and emotional habits can help you maintain your balanced constitution, the ideal, yin and yang balanced, healthy state.

Here are some general patterns associated with a yin and yang harmonious state.

Common characteristics of a balanced constitution

  • Face is moist and the color is a healthy red or pink (showing good blood flow)
  • Body skin is bright, moist, and elastic
  • Hair is luxurious and dark in its natural color
  • Eyes are bright with spirit (Shen)
  • Nose has the healthy pink color and a strong sense of smell
  • Plenty of energy without tiring easily
  • Breath is gentle and regular
  • Able to tolerate both cold and hot weather
  • Limbs are strong
  • Sleep is good
  • Bowel movements are regular (1-3 times per day)
  • Menstruation is regular for women (4 days of rich, red blood without clots or cramping)
  • Pulse is gentle and strong

Common physical characteristics

  • Standard body shape
  • Strong body

Common emotional characteristics

People with a balanced constitution often

  • Easy going
  • Cheerful

Greatest health risks for a balanced constitution

  • Less likely to get sick

How to maintain your healthy constitution through diet

Even with a balanced constitution, it is important to follow seasonal changes, adjusting lifestyle and diet to each season. You should generally choose a balance of foods, with most foods being balanced in nature to balance yin and yang in the body. These foods in general tonify blood and qi, helping to fight disease and harmonize the body. The goal is to preserve your inherited qi, build more acquired qi, and keep yin and yang in balance.

In addition to eating a balanced diet, you should not stay hungry for too long. Following the Chinese medicine body clock will ensure you fuel your body properly. You should eat a large breakfast between 7:00-9:00 AM, an even larger lunch between 11:00 AM-1:00 PM, and a light dinner between 5:00-7:00 PM.

Choosing foods for your balanced constitution

Furthermore, when making choices of foods to eat, do not eat foods that are too hot or too cold in energetic nature. Hot and spicy foods can shift your body to a damp-heat or yin deficiency constitution.

To maintain your balanced constitution, choose more neutral foods, as listed below. You should also eat more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. All foods should be lightly cooked if you are over 50.

Regardless of your age, you should also avoid raw foods in fall and winter. Too much cold, raw, or frozen foods can upset your circulation. When that happens, you can develop a blood stasis or yang deficiency constitution.

What's more, eat less greasy, and fatty foods. They weaken your spleen and stomach, which weakens their ability to make quality food or grain qi.

Two final tips about dietary practices you should follow. First of all, limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol depletes qi. Secondly, avoid over-eating and over-drinking as they weaken your qi over time. Overeating can also lead to a phlegm damp constitution.

Foods to add

People with a balanced constitution should add foods that keep their qi balanced. These foods are great choices.

all beans
Chinese cabbage

lily bulb
litchi fruit
longan fruit
lotus root
olive oil
sesame seeds
water chestnuts
winter melon
Fresh longan fruit

Fresh longan fruit. Also called dragon's eyes.

Foods and beverages to avoid

If you have a balanced constitution, you can eat most foods. You should eat the following foods rarely and in moderation when you do.

fried foods
high fat foods
spicy foods

Fatty foods can harm a normal constitution

People with a balanced constitution should keep their digestion strong by avoided fatty and spicy foods.

How to strengthen your qi with lifestyle changes

Cultivate your mind

If you have maintained your balanced constitution, you most likely have balanced emotions. You do not let overthinking and worry control you. Great job! Continue to keep a calm and quiet state of mind. Moving meditations, such as qigong and yoga, as well as seated meditations will help.

On top of this, maintain a kind temperament and loving heart towards other people. This mindset will not only preserve your qi, it will add to your stores of qi. Furthermore, filling your life with love will allow you to keep an optimistic mindset. Optimism nourishes and strengthens your already robust stores of qi.

Guided meditation to keep your emotions balanced

Even with a balanced constitution, life can still throw you challenges. By clearing emotional and physical blockages from these challenges, you will be able to maintain your yin and yang harmonious state.

How to exercise for your balanced constitution

Taking regular walk outdoors will continue to strengthen your qi. Breathe deeply as you walk. Air qi will flow into your lungs and add to the qi you acquire from food.

Also, you should avoid overly strenuous exercise. Rapid breathing or holding your breath during any type of exercise can weaken your organs and qi over time. Reducing exertion and doing moderate exercise regularly is best, especially if you are over 50. 

To illustrate, you can practice tai ji, breathing exercises, yoga, and qigong.

Additionally, avoid mental and sexual strain, in order to maintain your qi. Your ultimate goal is to stay in yin and yang harmonious balance.

Quick qigong exercises

Moving consistently throughout your day is a better way to breathe in fresh air and calm your mind than doing a one-hour workout. This famous 10-minute Taiwanese qigong exercise is perfect for people with a balanced constitution.

Acupressure massage to strengthen your digestion

A strong digestive system will help your body produce essential qi. This abdominal massage is perfect to do after each meal to strengthen your digestive energy.

Body Constitution Assessment

Don't know your body constitution? Take the assessment to learn how you can achieve optimal health.

Juli Kramer, PhD

Dr. Juli Kramer earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, with a cognate in Counseling Psychology and her M.A. in Psychology. She has a diploma in Chinese Medicine Nutritional Therapy, and certificates in Chinese medicine from Dr. Zhang Yifang, Shanghai World Hospital, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. With over 30 years of experience as an educator, Dr. Kramer founded Radiant Shenti to teach people how Chinese medicine (TCM) can help them lead healthy, happy, and long lives.

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