Engineering, 2013, 5, 429-432
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/eng.2013.510B088 Published Online October 2013 (http://www.scirp.org/journal/eng)
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. ENG
Relationship Research between the Chinese Medicine
Constitution and Sub-Health*
Xiufeng Liu, Bo Xu, Zhenhu Chen
School of Medical Information Engineering, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China
With further development of the bio-psycho-social medical model, people began to re-examine the knowledge of dis-
ease and health. The concept of sub-health has also been proposed in western medicine. Because of the lack of a specif-
ic standard, it is difficult to make clinical diagnosis and treatments for sub -health. Chinese medicine constitution th eory
has been widely accepted in China, and has a set of executable standards. This paper puts forward a new research me-
thod that connects the sub-health in western medicine and Chinese medicine constitution theory together . The potential
relationships and influences between Chinese medicine constitution theory and sub-health were analyzed and key con-
tent and research progress were discussed. The research method in this paper will provide new ideas for sub-health re-
Keywords: Chinese Medicine Constitution; Sub-Health; Relationship
The concept of Sub-health State was first proposed by
the scholar Beckman of the former Soviet Union in the
1980s. It is called the “third State” which is the physio-
logical state between health and illness. It means that the
body has no apparent disease, but the adaptive capacity
reduced physically, so as to resulting in a poor mental
state. In 1988, United States Centers for disease control
and prevention identified a group of chronic persistent or
recurrent fatigue symptoms of mental and physical,
which continue for 6 months or more, as the main cha-
racteristic of the syndrome. This synd rome was officially
named for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and the
diagnostic criteria for CFS were also set subsequently.
The CFS standards were also further developed in Aus-
tralia and United Kingdom on the basis of the works of
2. Influence Factors and Research Progress
1) Sub-health Influence factors
The cause of sub-health can be summed up as: 1) ex-
cessive stress, imbalance of physical and mental state; 2)
unreasonable diet, unhealthy eating habits; 3) disordered
biological rhythm, unscientific lifestyle; 4) increasingly
serious environmental pollution, small living space; 5)
reduced quality of emotional life, interpersonal tensions;
6) bad mood, bad character . In short, personality fac-
tors, psychosocial factors, poor bad living habits and
unhealthy environmental factors are associated with the
sub-health state, embodying much tension, strong pres-
sure, recurrent frustration, excessive fatigue, environ-
mental pollution, and so on. These all are the key risks of
the formation of sub-health.
2) Sub-health Research progress
Wang Qi suggested that the sub-health state was a
low-quality state of body and mind between the health
and morbid state. A lthough the body has no clear sign of
disease, people’s physical and/or psychological feelings
were not really well, resulting in a pathological state of
reduced vitality and adaptability to the outside world.
Wang Qi focused on the subjective feelings of the human
body and mind . However Wang Yuxue believed that
sub-health is an intermediate state between health and
illness. It is not only a separate stage but also a dynamic
process, and it means that body begins to show signs or
symptoms, but has not reached to the standards of dis-
ease. Wang Yuxue focused on the process of develop-
ment . Liu Baoyan set a time limit when introducing
the concept of Sub-health State. Liu stressed the persis-
tence and repetition of sub-health and pointed out that
sub-health was a state with no clear diagnosis, but the
adaptive capacity that has being reduced significantly for
*This paper is supported by
Guangdong Province Tech nology Project in
Social Development Field of Guangdong Provincial Department of
Science and Technology, China (201102). The corr
esponding author is
X. F. LIU ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. ENG
at least three months or longer . Currently no common
standard is available for sub-health diagnose, however, a
conclusion was reached that sub-health is a state or a
process between health and disease featuring with usual-
ly reversible psychosomatic disorders. The development
of sub health is often closely related to the social and
psychological factors. Sub-health associates with a va-
riety of symptoms which often cannot be detected with
existing methods or shows inconsistence test results [5,
3. Chinese Medicine Constitution
The concept of “Constitution” has been put forward since
the Spring and Autumn period by the ancient scholars in
China, but it was not accepted by general physicians until
the Qing dynasty, which has been being developed con-
tinuously since then. Scholars from different schools hold
different opinions on the concepts of traditional constitu-
tion. Mr. Kuang  and Mr. He ’s point of views are
more or less similar: the factors affecting the formation
of constitution consist of the congenital physical form
and acquired influence factors, the physiological state
and pathological characteristics. The two scholars’ con-
ception of Chinese constitution is based on the physiolo-
gy and pathology areas. In the early 90’s, Wang Qi stu-
died the Constitution theory in ancient and modern times
systematically, proposing his constitution concept: “the
Constitution is developed in the course of individual
lives, finally forming a integrated, relatively stable state
of morphological, physiological and psychological cha-
racteristics on the basis of congenital genetic and ac-
quired factors .” Concept of constitution contains the
psychology category. Mental State mainly refers to the
individual and unique personality which is persistent and
comprehensive characteristic of behavior and psychology.
Wang’s views are finally accepted widely and agreed
with to a point that the theory of traditional Chinese me-
dicine constitution is led by trad itional Chinese medicine
theory, its goal is to explore various kinds of constitutio n
features and the relevant physiological and pathological
characteristics, and basing on which to analysis the dis-
ease reaction, lesions and trend, thus guiding people to
prevent and treat illness.
1) Classification of Chinese Medicine Constitution
Wang Qi and his followers consulted 168 kinds of li-
terature, analyzed 12,471 cases of epidemiological in-
formation, and then summarized 408 kinds of physical
characteristics. T hey specified that Chines e medicine con-
stitution includes nine basic types: constitution of yin-
yang harmony, constitution of qi asthenia, constitution of
yang asthenia, constitution of yin asthenia, constitution
of phlegm-dampness, constitution of damp-heat, consti-
tution of blood stasis, constitution of qi stagnation, and
allergic constitution . In order to uniform the stan-
dards, the research group of classification on Chinese
Medicine constitution leaded by Wang Qi establishes a
standardized scale and for m the Classification Criteria of
Chinese Medicine Constitution . These criteria have
been listed as the Chinese medicine standards of Chinese
Association (for trial implementation), and can be ap-
plied to the health assessment directly.
2) Effect factors of Chinese Medicine Constitution
Formation o f the Constitution is closely asso ciated with
the congenital genetic and acquired geographical factors,
it is interac ted with the climate co ndition, diet hab it, emo-
tion state, work environment, rest efficiency and so on.
Graduate student Gao Fei in Beijing University of Chi-
nese Medicine studied 624 copies of medical information
during December 31, 2008 and December 31, 2008 from
the Beijing Chinese Medicine Hospital. He classified
those patients as nine kinds of types according to the
above criteria and found that BMI (weight index) and
three kinds of biased constitutions including yang-asthe-
nia, blood-stasis and qi-stagnation are positive related,
related coefficients are respectively 0.191, 0.099, and
0.105 upon examination of statistically significant d iffer-
rences (0.05) . It shows that the body weight can ob-
viously affect the constitution formation and develop-
ment, and the abnormal body weight is easy to bring
about the sub-health pr o blems.
4. Chinese Medicine Constitution and
Constitution is inherent and comparatively stable indi-
vidual characteristic from innate and acquired essence.
Different people have different constitution types, which
have been accepted by the scholars at home and abroad.
Constitution of yin-yang harmony can not only benefit
people’s health, but also help the transformation of sub-
health into health. However the people of biased consti-
tution may tend to be in the sub-health state due to the
disordered yin-yang harmony, although it has not devel-
oped into disease. The biased constitution easily tends to
develop into disease, at the same time determine to some
extent the development and process of disease.
1) Biased constitution and sub-health
Epidemiological survey shows that yin-yang harmony
accounts for 14% of 9 constitution types, with biased
constitution for 67.86% . The top 3 of 8 biased con-
stitution types are qi-asthenia, damp-heat and yang-as-
thenia, accounting 13.42%, 9.08% and 9.04% respec-
tively. They are the main types of biased constitution
types for human beings.
Gao Fei et al. studied four biased constitution types,
yin-asthenia, damp-heat, blood-stasis and qi-stagnation
and their potential of developing into sub-health status.
The results showed that: 1) the probability of developing
sub-health status for Yin-asthenia was 1.618 times higher
X. F. LIU ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. ENG
than that for non Yin-asthenia; 2) the probability for
damp-heat was 1.585 times higher than that for non
damp-heat; 3) the probability for blood-stasis was 1.6
times higher than that for non blood-stasis; 4) the proba-
bility for qi-stagnation was 1.891 times higher than that
for non qi-stagnation . Sub-health state can be pro-
posed by person with biased Constitution, which can
develop into sub-health status under stimulation of cer-
tain conditions. Therefore, more investigations on biased
system are necessary for further understanding the rela-
tionship between biased constitution and sub-health.
2) Constitution and sub -he alth in yin-yang harmony
The significance of constitution lies in exploring the
nature of the disease in treatment. The essence of “Sub-
health” Symptoms is one kind of pathological constitu-
tion. In order to harmonize “sub-health”, we must iden-
tify the constitution first, which is the so-called “treat-
ment by constitution identification ”. It uses the individu-
al constitution as research object, and grasp individual
differences and general whole factors of health and dis-
ease in terms of physical characteristics and different
constitution classifications, on the basis of which to de-
velop the prevention principles and select the appropriate
method of treatment and prevention.
Zheng Ziqiang studied the homemade “digestant for-
mula tea” by doing research on the 3 patients of phlegm-
dampness constitution in the July 2009 - October 2009,
finding that this product have a good effect on adjusting
symptoms in phlegm-dampness Constitution . So we
can draw a conclusion that traditional Chinese medicine
can recuperate biased pathological constitution signifi-
cantly, so as to prevent sub-health and even the disease.
Chinese medicine constitution is also considered in the
same treatment for different diseases and the different
treatments for the same disease. It is also strongly sug-
gested that scholars can research the sub-health problems
from the view of constitution types.
The standard of Chinese medicine constitution has al-
ready been introduced for some time, but in fact the
scholars have spared no efforts to improve the standards.
Although detecting gene is a good method for constitution
identification, the cost is too much for people to afford.
Subjective consciousness will exist inevitably when do-
ing questionnaire investigation of family history or life
history, which will affect the accurac y of the constitution
type’s judgment. Therefore each clinical expert should
do their best to develop simple but exact method to judge
the constitution. What’s more, the four biased constitu-
tion types have been proved to be pathological features,
but the key point is what causes the concern of the mass-
es and help them adjust biased constitution to yin-yang
harmony constitution, so as to prevent disease effective-
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