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The Seasonal Body Type System

When we live in optimal health, our bodies move effortlessly along with nature and exhibit the characteristics of each of the seasons throughout the year. The body as a microcosm matches the Earth as a macrocosm, while its internal climate balances with its external surroundings. At times we may be hot, dry, or prone to feverish activity; at others, we can feel cold, damp, sluggish, or withdrawn. As the seasons change, our bodies and constitutions should follow. 

The concept of a seasonal body type represents an imbalanced health pattern, one in which the body displays the same symptoms and characteristics throughout the year, rather than changing as the seasons do. The Seasonal Body Type System categorizes our individual constitutions and tendencies into five different body types which correspond to the five seasons of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) — spring, summer, Indian summer, fall, and winter. Most of us live with some kind of pathology or health pattern that defines what our seasonal body type is. We are figuratively “stuck” in one characteristic seasonal pattern throughout the year, continuously displaying the warmth or cold, the wetness or dryness, or the yin or yang found in one of nature’s seasons.

Each seasonal body type relates to the climate, theme, foods, and activities of that season. Individuals with a more yang-like nature resemble the yang seasons of spring and summer. They often display characteristics of “heat,” like a flushed complexion or a warm body temperature; they are marked by the same fast-paced energy and intense activity found in those seasons. In order to balance the yang in Spring and Summer body types, these individuals should eat more cooling foods and engage in slower, yin-like activities.

In contrast, Fall and Winter body types tend to be more dominant in yin, showing signs of coldness like cold hands and feet, and exemplifying the calmer, slower tempo of the later seasons of the year. Countering excess yin and restoring balance in these body types calls for more warming foods and yang activities. Indian Summer body types lie within the middle ground between yin and yang. Neutral and mild foods are appropriate for this type, as well as for the four other body types, as they help to sustain energy and build a general foundation of health.

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."

– John Muir

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