What about my body type?


By Pip Atherstone-Reid


The terms Yin and Yang are central to Chinese Medicine theory. They describe the duality of life and are therefore moveable and opposing in nature. We can say that: Hot is Yang, Cold is Yin but Cold water is more Yang in nature than ice, which would then be considered Yin.

The confirmations below are a simplified understanding but follow the concepts of Yin & Yang. You may be combination of a few the confirmations and they can change as our lifestyle and age change.

Hot/strong confirmation: (Yang/Yang) Body is strong and energetic, tends to feel the heat and is prone to inflammatory type conditions. They are Yang in nature. They don’t get sick too often and other people often say they have a strong confirmation.

  • This type of confirmation can change to a vegetarian diet and really feel well. They often have good digestion and benefit from the more cooling, lighter qualities of a vegetarian diet. They can find that the inflammatory/heating processes of the body settle, through expulsion of pathogenic toxins. They also feel calmer in themselves.

Hot/weak confirmation: (Yang/Yin) Tends towards inflammatory type conditions and can feel quite hot, especially at the surface or towards the top of their bodies. But can often have cold hands and feet and an aversion to cold. They tend to have digestive problems and can get sick quite often and feel tired.

  • This type of confirmation needs to make sure that they eat a good combination of foods that aid digestion. Although they can feel good on a Vegetarian diet, they do need to make sure they are warming their internal yang with warming foods and herbs.

Cold/dry confirmation: (Yin/Yang) Body type tends to be thinner and wiry. Often have cold hands and feet and can feel the cold throughout their body. They have a fast metabolism and can have bouts of energy but also feel quite fatigued at times. They can be more prone to colds and irritability and anxiety.

  • This type of confirmation is moving towards the Yin type and can tend towards poor nutritional uptake and can be termed blood deficient or cold from a Chinese medical point of view. This confirmation needs to make sure they warm the nature of the food they eat by adding pungent warming spices, avoiding raw food and making sure they have complete protein. While they can benefit from a Vegetarian diet, they have to make good choices with their food to ensure they have good nutritional uptake.

Cold/damp confirmation: (Yin/Yin) Body type tends towards a slower metabolism, which can cause excess weight gain and retained fluid. They can feel very cold and have a slow, bloated digestion, with either loose stools or slow bowel movement. They are often fatigued and feel better resting than moving too much.
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  • This confirmation has an excess of pathological Yin (dampness) and a deficiency of internal Yang or fire. They need to make sure that they eat warming foods to reignite the digestive fire and gentle exercise.



Most beans, pulses and legumes from a Chinese Medicine point of view, are considered cold in nature, which is one reason they can be more difficult to digest. In Indian cooking, they always add lots of spices and herbs to warm and counteract the cooling nature of these types of foods.

Food should be seasonal, organic, unprocessed and local as much as possible.

Avoid cold, icy, processed, fried, old food. Avoid food that is not in season and avoid leftovers.



Pip Atherstone-Reid is the co-founder and co-owner of Kundalini House and has been an Acupuncture and TCM practitioner for over 15 years. She is available for Acupuncture & TCM appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.