By Dr. Hyun K. Lee
In my previous column, I talked about the four types of constitutions in Korean Constitutional Medicine. Each of these four types have differing internal temperatures. Keeping this degree at its ideal point will help balance the chi in your body’s organs and lead to better health.
Proper exercise is also important in keeping the organs functioning at their best and important for the body’s core temperature balance, so different constitutional types require different types of exercise. Some constitutional types are more temperature sensitive than others. While Tae Yang In and So Yang In individuals typically have stronger constitutions that balance themselves properly where temperature is concerned, So Eum In and Tae Eum In (types of Yin) individuals have a more difﬁcult time.
So Eum In types require heat, while Tae Eum In types require cool. For the So Eum In type, they need to insulate themselves as their systems have a difﬁcult time maintaining an ideal temperature. Their digestive system can be compared to a pot on the stove. The pot needs heat to cook the food. Without heat, the food in the pot remains uncooked. The uncooked food will cause stomach aches, gas and pain.
So Eum In types may ﬁnd when they eat or drink cold foods, digestive problems will soon occur. They cannot drink large amounts of liquids quickly, especially cold liquids, and, as a rule, prefer warmer weather. These types of people beneﬁt from showers or cold/lukewarm baths, because they do not allow for sweating, thereby making for a better internal temperature balance. Sweating, the body’s natural cooling system, is not good for So Eum In types. Heat needs to stay in the body, so an activity like swimming, where their pores are closed and sweating does not occur, is their most ideal form of exercise.
(It is of note that this constitutional type tends to store fat in their midsection. This is the body’s way of insulating that area. If the midsection is kept warm, fat will be less inclined to gather there, assuming you subscribe to proper diet and exercise.)
Tae Eum In individuals function oppositely: Their internal system is overheated and needs to expel the heat to balance the temperature. For these types, very active forms of exercise, where the body can sweat, are better, i.e. running and aerobics. Swimming is the worst form of exercise they can take part in, not only from the sweating aspect, but the chlorine in pool water further weakens an already weaker lung chi.
Tae Eum In types also beneﬁt from hot baths, saunas, hot tubs and the like because it causes the skin to soften, the pores to open, and sweating to occur. This constitution tends to take in a lot of negative energy throughout the day. Being active and sweating expels this energy, helping to balance the body.
Both types need to watch their water intake. Too much water will cause an imbalance, as they have enough water energy in their constitutions. The key is to listen to the indications your body gives you. Don’t over-water yourself, or deny yourself hydration. Drink however much water makes you feel the best.
For the other two types, Tae Yang In, and So Yang In, (yang types) they both need well balanced forms of exercise. So Yang In types tend to have a naturally stronger upper body, so exercises to strengthen the lower body is ideal to balance the body. Walking, running, lunges and bicycling are some beneﬁcial exercises for this type. All forms of exercise are beneﬁcial for Tae Yang In constitutions.
Taking exercise and body temperature into consideration in addition to eating the proper foods will help move your body to balance and lead you to a happy, healthy way of life.
To make an appointment with Dr. Hyun K. Lee in the Solvang office, call 805-693-5162. His office is located at 2030 Viborg Road, Solvang. The clinic is held every Wednesday only. He also has ofﬁces in Los Angeles, and Atascadero.