If you’re often feeling fatigued, even after a full night’s rest, and sensitive to the cold even during hot summers, you may have qi deficiency. Qi deficiency can leave you feeling lethargic, spontaneously sweaty even in a neutral environment, with poor digestion, and a weak immune system. It can be caused by a variety of reasons like chronic stress, age, and cardiac issues.
Those are also attributable to age, gender, diet, and lifestyle habits — even the seasons of the year. Though not all the factors that contribute to your body constitution are changeable, once you know which body constitution you are, you’ll know how to ease your discomfort from the root.
Qi Deficiency: the Tell-Tale Signs
The Qi Deficiency body constitution in TCM is marked by—true to its name—a deficiency of qi, the vital energy that is always circulating throughout the body, helping you to feel energized in everyday life.
According to a study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences, a qi deficiency diagnosis is based on:
- Shortness of breath or no desire to talk
- Spontaneous sweating
- A swollen tongue with teeth marks on the side
- A weak pulse
- Poor digestion
- Cold limbs
- Weak immune system
- Chronic loose stool
Common temperaments and other non-physical attributes of qi deficiency are:
- Emotionally exhaustion
- Mental fog
Qi deficiency is also linked to:
- Heart disease
You’re not stuck with qi deficiency
Before you reach for another cup of coffee to mask your fatigue or explain spontaneous sweating by just assuming you run hot, consider the TCM way: addressing your symptoms with diet, lifestyle or environmental changes.
Restoring Your Balance with Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Focus on nourishing your spleen and stomach, two digestive functional organs that create qi. For those with qi deficiency a cleaner and simpler diet will help nourish the body. It’s best to avoid refined sugar and grains e.g. white bread, pasta, oily and fried foods. Cold beverages and foods like salads are also damaging to your qi. meats like pork are best not to be eaten and can overwhelm the digestive system. To improve your system and boost your qi, you can incorporate the ingredients below into your diet:
- Nuts and Grains – rice, barley, quinoa, lentils, oats, spelt, wheat bran
- Fruits – Stewed fruits, cherries, figs, dates
- Vegetables & legumes – asparagus, button mushroom, cabbage, eggplants, peas, potatoes, squash, tomato, yam, sweet potato, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas
- Meats and dairy – Chicken, beef, lamb, pheasant, quail, goose, tuna, anchovy, perch, eel, oysters, octopus, mussel
- Herbs and spices – bay leaves, liquorice
Incorporate whole grains, cooked and warm fruits and vegetables that are warm in color. Rice, sweet potatoes, dates, barley, mushrooms, chicken, and beef are especially good for you.
De-stress every day
Ensure you have enough qi throughout the day by sleeping 7-9 hours a night, taking a daytime nap if you need it. A nap of 15-20 minutes is shown to be the most effective to recharge. Taking relaxation breaks throughout your day to vitalized yourself.
It sounds counterintuitive if you’re prone to sweating, but staying warm is important for keeping qi flowing. Avoid windy areas and keep your neck covered with a scarf on cooler days—according to TCM, pathogens can enter through the neck area. Any iced food or drinks during the winter time will diminish your vital qi energy, so please be mindful to keep your vital energy during the winter time.
Don’t over exercise
Mild, regular exercise is best for you—think of yoga classes like hot yoga or vinyasa to warm up your body. HIIT (High intensity interval training) at an optimal level is good but don’t push yourself too much, that is exhaustive. It is recommended that exercise of 20-35 minutes with a heart rate reaching 90-160 per minutes twice or three times a week is good to maintain health.
Stick to comfortable clothing
Opt for loose and light clothing and give your belts a few extra notches of room. Tight, heavy, restrictive clothing diminishes the flow of qi in the body. Soft materials like cotton, linen, and silk are best.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Finding your balance is an ongoing process. Don’t put too much pressure on any single one of these tips — try what speaks to you, listen to your body, and adjust as needed. Reaching balance isn’t a one-and-done deal for most people. Follow your natural ebbs and flows, adjust your lifestyle and nutrition as needed, and your body will thank you.
Want to know your constitution? Take our quiz to find out!