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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 6 (2009), S1, Pages 51-57

Genetic Approach to Elucidation of Sasang Constitutional Medicine

1Division of Constitutional Medicine Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 461-24, Jeonmin-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 305-811, Republic of Korea
2Department of Medical Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (KIOM), 461-24 Jeonmin-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-811, Republic of Korea

Received 12 March 2009; Accepted 22 May 2009

Copyright © 2009 Bu-Yeo Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sasang Constitutional Medicine (SCM) offers a medical principle that classifies humans into four constitution groups and guides their treatment with constitution-matched medical assistance. The principle of this traditional medicine, although requires significant scientific support, appears to suggest a genetic influence on constitution type. The relative frequency of constitution types in a population, for instance, has remained relatively constant since Jema Lee first described them from his observations. In addition, the body compartment concept of SCM appears to be related to the anterio–posterior patterning of the embryonic gut and associated internal organs. This study describes the attributes of the constitution concept of SCM that can be interpreted in the language of genetics and current approaches to identity the genetic factors that make up the constitution. These efforts should make it possible to interpret the principle of this traditional medicine scientifically. Considering the recent trend in medicine that pursues individualized or tailored medical offerings, once SCM is proven to be explainable with scientific evidence, it will be able to contribute to and take a place in the rapidly evolving medicine environment.