Humans and nature are interconnected.
When the founder of the Dr. Hauschka line, Dr. Rudolf Hauschka, began his initial experiments with the benefits of plant extracts, his focus was that symbiotic connection. Today, his vision continues: effective, plant-based cosmetics that honor both the body and the earth.
The intrinsic link
In 2001, when we first started our journey into the world of natural skincare, we became acquainted with The Four Temperaments. In a stunning Montreal spa, our founders were trained in the Dr. Hauschka treatment whose core theory was “whole body” sensory treatment with scents, colour, kind hands, and a meditative focus.
This experience was unlike any other spa treatment we knew. It was truly wholistic, meaning that the focus on one’s inner world is just as crucial as the outer skin. The Four Temperaments in a wholistic spa context honours the completeness of nature, the body, and the spirit.
A colourful mosaic
Bearing the intrinsic link between people and the earth, and its mental, emotional, and spiritual being within, how does one begin to categorize human nature? Can our behaviours be lumped into categories, or is the diversity between our personalities so vast, that it’s only our diversity that each of us have in common?
Spiritual thinkers and scientists alike have attempted to decode the cryptics behind the human personality. One such notable attempt bases its theories on the model of The Four Temperaments: we are not made up of merely data which is passed down our ancestral line, but also a set of qualities that are completely their own. Our characteristics blend together into a colourful mosaic of personality traits that determine our overall temperament.
The Four Temperament theory suggests that there are four fundamental personality types: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic.
The belief was that moods, emotions, behaviours, and bodily conditions were caused by and affected by a balance of body fluids in the body. Those fluids were the “humours.” They were classified as blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic, respectively.
Although today we don’t typically correlate body secretions with our personality (jokes aside), we can still apply the Four Temperament theory as metaphor when addressing our everyday wellbeing.
Do you identify with the temperaments?
The Latin word “temperare” means “to mix.” As the Humoural theory states that ideal health relies on the four fluids being in perfect balance within the body, The Four Temperaments encourage an equal blend of all four categories for ideal wellness. Generally speaking, one or two of the four qualities are more prominent than the others, and it is when one or two qualities excessively dominate the others that we might find ourselves feeling emotionally imbalanced. Do you identify with one or more of these temperaments?
Sanguine personalities are highly talkative, enthusiastic, and extroverted. They are the social butterflies in the room, engaging the crowd, and taking risks. Classically, they are associated with the spring, the planet Jupiter, and the alchemical element of Air. It may signal a life stage that is youthful and vibrant. Its humoural fluid is thought of as “moist and hot.” This mirrors the seasonal changes of the spring, when the earth begins to warm, but we’re still experiencing the moisture of the winter season, and so welcome the rain.
As the air warms and rises, so does the jovial spirit of the Sanguine. They seek to rise and are motivated. They are optimistic, joyful, creative, and content. However, a personality that is too strongly sanguine is also fundamentally impulsive and prone to escapism. They may be chronically late for appointments, forgetful, or sarcastic, and prone to high “ups” as often as deep “lows”. As such, it is crucial for the flighty, energetic Sanguine to take some alone time. Seek holistic therapies that ground the spirit and encourage deep, rhythmic, restful breathing.
The aroma of spruce is recommended in part by Dr. Hauschka, including their Spruce Warming Bath Essence*. Its deep, resinous quality serves as a harmonious counterbalance to keep the Sanguine grounded.
*Spruce Warming Bath Essence is available seasonally, generally between October and December.
Another extroverted type is the Choleric. Those with choleric personalities are often described as goal-oriented, independent, and ambitious. They are natural leaders. They’re associated with the elemental Fire, Mars, and the season of summer. This is a life stage of adulthood. The humoural fluid is considered “hot and dry.” This is because as spring intensifies and turns to summer, the rains dwindle and the earth heats up.
The fire and energy of summer mirrors the choleric personality. Like a brilliant star high above, they are naturally successful, magnetic, and upward-motivated. They are honorable and loyal to their values, and make strong leaders. But not unlike the god Mars of classical myth, Cholerics may also be quick to temper. They may be impatient and reckless, or their strong passion may be mistaken as domineering. An individual who sways too far into the choleric trait may be either highly disorganized or organized, but rarely in-between.
A hot-headed temperament may benefit from lavender to cool its intensity. Lavender is anti-inflammatory and calming to conditions of heat and redness in the skin, and eases the temper. A long soak in Dr. Hauscka’s Moor Lavender Calming Bath Essence helps choleric personalities wind down after a stressful day.
Being young and dipt in folly, I fell in love with melancholy.
Indeed, the Melancholic is the sombre type. Deep thinkers, self-reliant, and heavy feelers, melancholic personalities are thoughtful, reserved, and often moved by ugliness and beauty.
The Melancholic temperament is represented by the dwindling embers of summer. The heat gives way to the chills of autumn, and the earth is still parched and dry from the lack of summer rain. The humoural fluid is considered “cold and dry.”
In classical thinking, melancholics are symbolized by the alchemical element of Earth and the planet Saturn. It represents a middle stage of life. These personalities are detailed and deliberate in their actions. They consider all aspects of a situation before coming to a decision. They are fundamentally introverted and considerate, and may be highly creative in the arts.
Their strength lies in their empathy as they are good listeners and often choose caring professions. On the flipside, too much of a melancholic temperament may lead to a “life isn’t fair” attitude, which can quickly spiral into depressive states of self-pity and pessimism. As they absorb the feelings of the people around them, they can be elegant or chaotic depending on the crowd.
When life wavers down the lonely road for the Melancholic, rosemary is the herbal remedy. Rosemary lights a fire in the cold, inspiring action instead of self-destruction. A few drops of Earth’s Aromatique Rosemary Essential Oil to the bath will draw melancholic temperaments out from their blackened states of worry.
Phlegmatic individuals are relaxed, quiet, and easy-going. They are sympathetic, caring, and good at making compromises. Classically ruled by Water, and the planet Venus, the Phlegmatic humour is “cold and wet.” It is old age, it is winter. This is when the earth is cold and shrouded in rain.
Those with phlegmatic personalities are content with themselves, warmly attentive, and affectionate to those around them. They are receptive to others, although shy, and often prefer stability in relationships, jobs, and environment rather than uncertainty or unexpected changes. They are consistently loyal: call on your Phlegmatic friend when you need a calm, compassionate shoulder to cry on.
They can also be sluggish. Despite their compassionate nature, they hide their own emotions, and may be passive-aggressive. They are detail-oriented and often find themselves stuck in routine and insolation.
Therapeutically, an overly Phlegmatic temperament may benefit from Dr. Hauschka's Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Body Milk. This is a bright, uplifting fragrance that will snap them from the doldrums of routine and lift the weights of rigid thinking. Bright, citrusy fragrances energize the body and stimulate the intellect.
There is a profound connection between what goes on inside our bodies, our minds, and our environments around us: our skin is what connects our inner and outer world. When we care for ourselves in a total-body wholistic mindset, considering all facets that make up our person, we may become more finely attuned to our emotional, physical, and aesthetic needs.
So, brew yourself a cup of Earth’s Aromatique artisal tea, and ponder which temperaments you may most relate to. Consider their gifts, their challenges, their individual quirks, and exquisite history. Recognize where you might rebalance, and as always, love your body for the magnificently rare and powerful force that it is in this moment.