The concepts of constitutions (metabolic style, physical appearance, personality) ,humors (essences with a physical form like “blood”, “bile” or “phlegm” ) and the five elements (earth, fire, water, air space) exist in numerous cultures. If we follow a strict diet, adopt an specific lifestyle, live in a favorable surroundings and engage in certain rituals/practices there will be balance and wellness when life changes.
Here are some signs that your constitution could use some support or that there is some level of disharmony in your environment-nightmares/struggles with sleep, digestive issues/food sensitivities, skin issues (rashes, hives eczema), “bad luck”/accidents/obstacles, conflict with others, apathy, anxiety, social isolation, fatigue, chronic health issues that do not resolve with medical treatment, heart palpitations, feeling dizzy or light headed.
Self massage with oils tailored to our constitution or an imbalance in the humors/elements will keep our physical body, mind, and spirit/emotions healthy. Self massage can take the form of an overall application of oil over the entire body as if using lotion, a deep stimulation of muscle issues as if in a therapeutic setting, or stimulation over specific points as medical need or spiritual practice dictate.
Benefits in the form of
stimulation- of tissues in order to move wastes, lymph, blood, and stagnant energy.
aromatherapy– if oils are scented.
nourishment-moisture, cooling/heating for the skin and tissues.
medicine- if oils are infused with herbs.
therapy– to address tight muscles, misaligned structures, energy points, injury, scar tissue, and stress.
spiritual/emotional support– to heal trauma, promote relaxation, or as part of of ritual practice.
Problems in one area such as the emotional body may move to create disharmony in another such as the physical body. Something subtle, acute or exterior if not addressed can eventually move deep into the interior where it affect an organ.
Constitutional Types (just pick the one you most resemble now)
“Wind”-thin, moderate or tall in height, olive/brown skin, dark eyes, dry/rough/cracking skin and hair, sensitive to cold, creative/innovative, has thoughts never stop, nervous/anxious/insecure, impatient/restless, (ignorance), light sleep/prone to insomnia, very active (fast), spends money too easily/does not have enough. Health problem- premature aging, constipation, gas/bloating, anxiety, poor weight gain, joint/nerve/back pain, or cramps.
“Fire”-muscular, average or short in height, yellow or reddish skin often with moles, oily skin/hair, sensitive to heat, gray/red/blonde hair, intelligent/sharp, aggressive/competitive /irritable, envious/jealous/proud (anger), can survive on little sleep, athletic, spends money only on important things. Health problems-liver/gall bladder issues, ulcers, acid reflux, nausea, inflammation, hives/rashes/acne/, headaches, or heart disease.
“Water”-stocky/muscular or heavy, pale or fair skin, thick, wavy hair, calm/steady/slow/lazy, caring/gentle/patient/compassionate, dependable/loyal, humble, balanced, greedy/attached (desire), requires deep sleep, has lots of wealth/likes to save money. Health problems-bronchitis, sinus infections, asthma, kidney/bladder issues, tumors/growths, poor circulation, edema, or weight gain.
Ingredients if you are prone to…….
Wind-use untoasted sesame oil or almond oil infused with sweet and warming spices (clove, nutmeg, cardamon). Massage over kidneys and your knees.
Fire- use sesame or olive oil infused with cooling and cleansing herbs (dandelion, chickweed, coriander). Massage over liver and gallbladder.
Water-use sunflower or safflower oil infused with clearing and moving herbs (ginger, fennel, mullein). Massage over your spleen and lungs.
The shoulders and back
The hands and feet
The abdomen (including digestive and reproductive organs)
Lymphatic-very light strokes that go towards the heart and stimulate areas where there are lines of lymph nodes.
Deep tissue-strong, firm pressure applied to muscles or areas that are tight or sore. Using the thumbs or knuckles to wring, knead, and rolls the tissues.
Effleurage– circular motion made with the palm of the hand that can be gentle ,pleasant and relaxing.
Anointing -similar to applying lotion but with a sacred, purifying or ritual intent. Often includes the use of essential oils or pleasant smelling herbs.
Using the fingers to tap lightly or a cupped hand to percuss strongly are also options for stimulating the movement of stuck “energy”.
Massage can easily be done at home to care for yourself during stressful times. There will be future posts on other practices of self care to come.
Are you aware of your constitutional type? How do you stay in balance during life or seasonal changes?