This book attempts to explain how one might use the art of Sasang Medicine to maximize one’s health.  The author tells us that Sasang Medicine is a combination of Eastern medicine and natural health care developed in Korea.  Sasang Medicine targets diet, herbal supplements, acupuncture and exercise, addressing the whole person instead of just individual symptoms.


The book is not easy to read, partly due to being unfamiliar with Eastern language, but also because the author is quite repetitive in his explanations. Dr. Kim, does however, give us one of the most enlightening explanations of Yin and Yang that I’ve ever come across.


Sasang Medicine is based on the idea that people fit into one of only four “constitutions” and each constitution has a particular body type.  Each constitution is fully described and the book includes a questionnaire, which the reader can fill out to help identify his or her own constitution.


I filled out the questionnaire and found that the characteristics of the type of constitution that I tested to were only about fifty percent accurate, with some characteristics very far off the mark.


There are many dietary restrictions prescribed for each type of constitution.  For my type of constitution, the diet would be rather unappealing.  There are also exercises required for each type of constitution.


There is a section in the book where the author assigns body types to famous people and analyzes each person.  I found that to be interesting, but again, not terribly accurate in what we historically know of these people.


I believe that a quote from Dr. Kim best describes what I find to be a problem with Sasang Medicine as described in this book:  “Also, although an individual’s constitution never changes throughout his or her life, the manner in which a constitution manifests may vary widely.” The basic inconsistency with an entire belief/health system built upon it is just too odd for me to recommend to others.


~review by Jae

Author: Joseph K. Kim, Ph.D., O.M.D.

Career Press, 2001

pp. 253, price: $14.99