Human Typology

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMAN TYPOLOGY

          During the last five thousand years or so we humans have been seeking a clearer understanding of what it means to be human. From Ying or Yang to today’s blood type diets and Men being from Mars, Women from Venus, we have developed systems of classification to predict behavioral and/or physiological characteristics. Simple put why we are the way we are? How are we very similar to all other Homo Sapiens around the planet and how are we actually quite different…perhaps predictably and measurably different?

          Ancient writings suggest that most past civilizations had basic methods of Human classification. The Ayurvedic system, developed in ancient India five thousand years ago, categorized everyone as one of three constitutional types, the Vata (changeable), the Pitta (intense) or the Kapha (calm) type. Twelve hundred years ago, Dr. Galen, considered one of the most influential physicians ever, classified humans according to temperament type, naming his the Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic types. Socrates, Jung and Freud all typed according to behavioral characteristics, the essence of today’s personality types.

          “Human Typology” emerged from our medical world in the 1920’s with Dr. Lewellys Barker’s system based upon Endocrine (gland) types. He theorized that different types of metabolisms mutated in response to changing environmental conditions such as type of food available, body motion demands, and variations in the climate. He concluded that we are each born with a genetically programmed group of inherited characteristics including body shape, temperament and speed of metabolism.

          In the 1940’s and 50’s, a team of Physicians headed by Dr. William Sheldon of Harvard, introduced a system of classification based upon anatomical body type (somatotype). The willowy built Ectomorph, the hourglass shaped Mesomorph and the rounded Endomorph types are descriptive terms still used to describe the thin, medium and strong physique types.

          In the 1950’s and 60’s, Drs. Henry Bieler, Melvin Page, George Watson, Herman Rubin, Melvin Ott, and Roger Williams each produced wellness programs or books that classified everyone into one of only a few “bio-chemical” types.

          In the last twenty years numerous others have developed and refined “type” based programs including; Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. William Kelly, Dr. Elliot Abravanel, Dr. Gerald Berkowitz, James D’Adamo N.D., Dr. Sandra Cabot, Carolyn Mein D.C., Dr. Jeffery Bland, Dr. Vasant Ladd, William Walcott, Jay Cooper, Anna Louise Gittleman and Edward Jackowski.

          The efforts of these pioneers have influenced mainstream thinking away from the traditional one size fits all dogma.