Tibetan Medicine and Integrative Health: Validity Testing and Refinement of the Constitutional Self-Assessment Tool and Lifestyle Guidelines Tool


Cameron, M.E., Torkelson, C., Namdul, T., Prasek, A., & Gross, C.R.


Tibetan medicine offers an ancient, timely model for the promotion of health and treatment of disease by teaching individuals to make healthy lifestyle choices. This holistic model consists of analyzing one's unique constitution and recommending supportive lifestyle modifications. An experienced Tibetan medicine practitioner is the gold standard for constitutional assessment. Because few Tibetans practice Tibetan medicine in the United States, research-based tools with content and criterion validity are needed for self-assessment.


To test the validity of and refine the Constitutional Self-Assessment Tool (CSAT) and Lifestyle Guidelines Tool (LGT).


Mixed methods pilot study conducted in three phases.


Tibetan Medical Institute (TMI) of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala, India and the University of Minnesota, a U.S. research University.


Six TMI senior faculty; 88 students at the university.


Phase 1: TMI faculty evaluated the tools' content validity.

Phase 2: 59 students completed the CSAT, had a Tibetan medicine consultation, completed the LGT, and answered qualitative questions.

Phase 3: 29 students studying Tibetan medicine followed a modified phase 2 method. Quantitative and phenomenological analyses were performed to investigate the CSAT's criterion validity (agreement of CSAT results and consultations) and refine the tools.


The tools were shown to have high content validity. Phase 2 CSAT had 51% agreement and 0.24 kappa statistic, suggesting fair criterion validity. Phase 3–refined CSAT had 76% agreement and 0.50 kappa statistic, suggesting moderate criterion validity.


The refined CSAT and LGT in demonstrate the potential for additional research and use in integrated care.

Learn more about the Constitutional Self-Assessment Tool and Lifestyle Guidelines Tool