Podcast Interview of Jaguang Sunim by Michael Max, L.Ac.

Recently I was honored to be a guest on Qiological, a podcast about Chinese Medicine.

We discussed the body constitutions of Sasang Constitutional Medicine, and the use of Five Element natal charts (“Bazi” in Chinese, or “SaJu” in Korean).

Michael Max is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Five Element Sasang takes a slightly different approach to seeing constitution, and how one diagnoses and treats symptoms, so we had an interesting, exploratory, and engaging conversation.

I encourage you to listen to this podcast, as our conversation covered many interesting areas.
Qiological is a well-known and popular Chinese medicine podcast. Find it wherever you listen to podcasts.
Or, go to his website via the link below.

Qiological Podcast
The Four Body Constitutions
Five Element Sasang Constitutional Medicine
In Five Element Sasang there are four primary body constitutions, as described by the Sasang originator, the Korean practitioner of Oriental Medicine,  Dr. Yi Jae Ma (1837-1900).

Within each of these four constitutions are many variations, so these are rather general categories.
However, each of us falls into one of these four constitutions, according to the distribution of Five Element energies we receive when we are born.

Lesser Yin: A Winter Constitution
The Lesser Yin constitution is described as having a cold, damp stomach/spleen. It is often described as a winter landscape, with the core of the body being cold and damp.
This internal coldness will usually push the body heat out to the surface of the body, so the extremities are often warm.
For some, the internal energy is so cold and damp that the person feels cold both inside and out.
People of this constitution often, but not always, also have excessively strong kidney energy, the Water element, creating particularly cold, sluggish circulation and a sluggish metabolism.
The Lesser Yin individual will usually feel a sense of heaviness or sluggishness in their lower body. Again, there are exceptions to this, according to their Five Element configuration.
This constitution benefits from avoiding foods that create further cold dampness to their stomach/spleen, (“cooling” foods) and emphasizing foods that provide more heat and dryness (“warming” foods).
Greater Yin: A Spring Constitution
The Greater Yin constitution is divided into two varieties:

  1. Greater Yin with cold, damp stomach/spleen
  2. Greater Yin with hot, dry stomach/spleen

The Greater Yin constitution is recognized by its excessively strong liver energy, the Wood element, combined with strong stomach/spleen energy the Earth element, plus very weak lung energy, the Gold or Metal element.
It is described as a spring constitution due to the strong Wood energy. In spring, vegetation comes to life – fruit trees blossom, bulbs come up and bloom, and tree leaves emerge from their buds. Wood energy is most active in spring.
The Greater Yin constitution with cold, damp stomach/spleen are people we practitioners don’t often see, not because there aren’t many of them, but because they feel overly confident about their health.
They don’t feel the need to see a doctor or seek advice concerning their health.
This is a constitution that can be oblivious to internal health issues, then suddenly be hit with severe symptoms that seem to have come out of nowhere.
This constitution is particularly prone to problems with the nervous system, such as numbness or paralysis, due to their weak liver energy, and lung/liver imbalance.
This constitution will benefit from either warming or cooling foods, depending on which variation of Greater Yin they are. They will also benefit from avoiding any foods that specifically strengthen the liver, and emphasizing foods that strengthen the lungs.

Lesser Yang: A Summer Constitution
The Lesser Yang constitution is described as having a hot, dry stomach/spleen, combined with deficient kidney energy, the Water element. The internal energy is often extremely dry, like the desert in summer.
People of the Lesser Yang constitution have energy that circulates quickly, in contrast to the Lesser Yin constitution that tends to have a sluggish metabolism.
The Lesser Yang individual will tend to be somewhat impatient, hurry through their day, make to-do lists that keep them busy, and are unlikely to be found sitting around doing nothing all day.
In this constitution the hot internal energy will easily rise upward and gather in the upper body. It can easily create tightness and tension in the upper chest, shoulders, upper back, and neck. This can also make some Lesser Yang individuals prone to headaches.
Learning to stop, take a breath, calm down and ground their energy is essential for these people
The Lesser Yang constitution will benefit from emphasizing cooling foods, and avoiding all warming foods.
Greater Yang: An Autumn Constitution
The Greater Yang constitution has a hot, dry stomach/spleen, combined with excessively strong lung energy, the Gold or Metal element, and deficient liver energy, the Wood element.
Like the Lesser Yang constitution, these individuals will also have deficient kidney energy, the Water element.
This constitution is described as being an autumn constitution due to the excessively strong Gold energy.
Gold energy is compared to the ripening of fruit into seeds, the ripening of grains and nuts into firm seeds, and the advanced stages of flowers as the petals fall and the remaining stem forms seeds. This is nature’s transition from soft, flexible summer energy into the hardening or ripening process preparing for winter.
Greater Yang individuals will have similar characteristics to Lesser Yang people, in that they will be impatient, and hurry through their day.
They also need to remember to calm down, stop rushing through their day, and learn to bring their hot internal energy downward into their lower body.
The Greater Yang constitution will benefit from emphasizing cooling foods and liver strengthening foods, and avoiding warming foods and lung strengthening foods.
How Can We Determine Someone’s Body Constitution?

In his original work, Dr. Yi Jae Ma made great efforts to find reliable indicators of each body constitution.
He described body shapes – wide or narrow shoulders, wide or narrow hips, thick or thin neck. He also described personality types – calm, quiet, vs impatient, easily angered etc.
However, none of these have proven to be reliable indicators of constitution. The modern-day approaches have also included trying to use blood type to point to constitution.
However, none of these pointers have proven to be completely reliable.

My teacher, the Korean Buddhist monk Hyunoong Sunim, discovered that the Five Element natal chart provides a clear picture, not only of a person’s body constitution, but of all the Five Element energies the major internal organs received at the time of birth.

This information allows us to design a nutritional program, using the Five Element energies of different foods, that will provide ideal internal balance for the individual.
Once such balance is established at the body’s very fundamental level, the internal healing system then takes over and begins various healing and detoxing processes.

Learning to interpret the Five Element chart to see the constitution requires considerable training and practice, but it is teachable to those who are dedicated to practicing this unique, accurate and extremely effective approach to alleviating health issues.

The accuracy of this system is evident by the remarkable improvements in health that our clients experience. Improvements will begin to appear after 3-4 weeks, if they follow the nutritional guidelines as instructed.

The Five Element Sasang system is unique in its ability to determine and correct the underlying cause of health symptoms. Once the root cause is corrected, the symptoms will disappear on their own. No need to try and battle with the symptoms. It is a simple principle of cause and effect – determine and eliminate the cause, and the effect disappears.

Many health symptoms are simply unnecessary suffering – suffering that can be easily alleviated, with the correct knowledge, and a willingness to change the foods one eats.

Wishing everyone good health, joy, inner peace, and deep wisdom.

If you would like to know your Body Landscape, and the nutritional plan that is ideal for your body, you can schedule an appointment to meet with me. Begin the process by filling out the Intake Form on my website:
Order Your Nutritional Consultation
Online Zen Practice

Online Zen Practice meets via Zoom on the third Saturday of each month. We gather to practice Zen and deepen our spiritual cultivation.

Zen practice is a process of exploring our own inner world, seeing and letting go of what causes us mental and emotional pain, and directly experiencing the True Essence of who we really are.

Our practice provides us the opportunity to connect with our own inner silence, and to realize that our daily mental/emotional noise is not who we truly are.

Each practice session begins with a Dharma Talk by Jaguang Sunim, including practice instruction. This is followed by two 25-minute periods of sitting and 5-minute periods of walking meditation. A time for questions is provided during the final 30 minutes.

The Third Saturday of each month.
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Pacific Time (USA & Canada)
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM GMT (London UK)
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM Central European Time

To register for Online Zen Practice Saturday, April 20th, 2024, click on the link below.

On the registration page, click on the “Donate” button to complete registration.

Register for Online Zen Practice
Meditation Guidance – Appointments Now Available

If you would like some one-on-one time with me to talk about your meditation practice, I have now set up an appointment link on my Zen website to schedule these private meetings.https://sixthancestorzen.org/home/

You are welcome to meet with me whether you are new to meditation and need basic instruction, or if you have been sitting for some time and feel you need some further direction.

You may be bumping up against difficulties in your practice, or feel that you are spinning your wheels and not maturing in your practice.

Whatever your questions, I encourage you to ask them and seek solutions. This is how we evolve and grow in our practice.

Schedule an appointment on my calendar via this link:

Zen Meditation Guidance
Chinese Herbal Treatments

The seasons are changing. This is a good time for an annual or semi-annual Chinese herb treatment to open energy blocks, and balance and strengthen our body overall.

If you have taken a Chinese herbal formula with us before, and know you do well with it, this is a good time to give your body that internal “tune-up”. Or, as Hyunoong Sunim likes to say, “time to tighten up those loose nuts and bolts”!

If you have not taken an herbal formula with us, and are interested in a treatment, contact me and we can begin the process of finding a formula that is the ideal fit for your body and your constitution.
As an addition to your nutritional program, it can be an excellent tonic to rebalance, strengthen, and protect your health.

We also provide formulas for Colds & Flu, for all of the body constitutions in Five Element Sasang. It can be helpful to keep 3-4 packages on hand in your freezer, to take at the first sign of a cold or flu. The herbs usually eliminate symptoms quickly, and have you feeling well again in 1-2 days. No need to be sick for a week with a bad cold.

Learn more here:

Schedule your Follow-up Consultation
Follow-up Consultation Appointment
Questions? If you are interested in having your Five Element Sasang Nutritional Consultation but have a few questions first, schedule a complimentary 15 minute informational call with Jaguang. There is no obligation with this call.
Schedule a Free Info Call
Ready to begin your journey back to health? Order your Five Element Sasang Nutritional Consultation. The link below will take you to the Intake Form. Once we receive your order we will send you an email with a link to schedule an appointment to have your first consultation with Jaguang.
Order Your Five Element Sasang Nutritional Consultation