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The Sasang [Sa-Sáng] typology is a traditional Korean medical typology, which was systematically theorized by Jae-Ma Lee in his book "Dong-Yi-Soo-Se-Bo-Won” [the principle of life preservation in oriental medicine] in 1984.
This medical typology divides people in four types based on their traits; Tae-Yang, So-Yang, Tae-Eum and So-Eum type. Although the Sasang typology utilizes same acupuncture points and medical herbs as Kampo and traditional Chinese medicine, it is based on the combination of the medical tradition of Korea and Neo-Confucianism which describes nature as quaternary. This typology explains the individual differences in behavioral patterns, physical characteristics and susceptibility to a certain disease based on their bio-psychological traits. The nature of each type is four emotions; Sorrow, Anger, Gladness and Enjoyment1. These emotions stimulate specific organ developed or underdeveloped. As a results, their healthy and unhealthy signs are determined. So the Sasang typology is a traditional Korean medicine based on personality.
It also shows temperament-based guideline for safe and effective use of acupuncture and medical herbs even with significant adverse events. The Ephedra sinica is bad for So-Eum type but not bad for Tae-Eum type, and Aconitum is not bad only for So-Eum type (from traits of Sasang typology2). The acupuncture points suggested for specific type are as follows.
Tae-Yang type So-Yang type Tae-Eum type So-Eum type Suitable LR3(+) KI3(+) LU9(+) SP3(+) Acupoints LU9(-) SP3(-) LR3(-) LI4(-)
These features are sometimes not obvious and can be mistaken as another type. The bio-psychological traits can be a good guide since the emotion is the nature of each Sasang types.
1. Sasang typology from big five personality traits;
The Sasang types were comparable to Extraversion and Neuroticism dimension in Hans Eysenck's theory. So-Yang type has high Extraversion and low Neuroticism, and the So-Eum type showed opposite features. Tae-Eum type was extravert and neurotic, and highly distinctive in such physical traits as Body Mass Index and blood Triglyceride concentration.
2. Sasang typology from Myers-Briggs Type Indicator;
- Note 1: For reference, see happiness section.
- Note 2: Chae H et. al., An alternative way to individualized medicine: psychological and physical traits of Sasang typology. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2003;9(4):519-528.
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