Korean Medicine

About Korean Medicine

All human beings aspire to a healthy life. This aspiration to health is one of all human being’s fundamental rights. The definition of health has varied from age to age. In the past, health vaguely meant the state of not having a disease or illness, but the WHO charter of the 1950s defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. In broad terms, today it can also mean a state of an individual coping with his inner and outer environmental changes in order to maintain complete wellbeing at all levels. More broadly, health can mean an optimal state in which an individual can effectively play his social roles and responsibilities. The purpose of medicine, therefore, is for an individual to maintain a healthy condition. Currently there are two major branches of medicine in Korea:Korean Medicine (KM) and Western medicine. KM is quite different from Western medicine in its origin and development. Western medicine tends to find the cause of a disease from external factors. For example, Western medicine sees germs and viruses as the cause of a disease so it tries to get rid of them to cure the disease. KM, however, thinks that a person gets a disease because his / her healthy qi (Jeongqi in Korean) is weakened so much that it cannot resist the attacks of pathogenic qi (Saqi in Korean). Therefore, KM rather focuses on reinforcing the weak vitality. In addition, KM sees that getting a disease does not simply concern certain parts of a body. Rather, it thinks that a disease comes from physiological disharmony of the body. That is, yin and yang of the body is not well balanced. Just as KM takes a very different approach in diagnosis of a disease from western medicine, it also takes a substantially different approach to treatment, compared with Western medicine. While western medicine diagnoses and treats a disease based on partial and apparent results, KM regards a human body as a small universe and uses a variety of treatments to deal with a disease. Hence come the huge variations in KM s treatments. This wide variety may explain the KM’s long time popularity with the Korean people.

This Wide variety may explain the KM’s long time popularity with the Korean people.

Characteristic of Korean Medicine
Ground Work
  • Philosophy & theory of yin and yang and five elements
  • Centered on theory of internal organs, meridians and collaterals, qi and blood
  • Relationship between mental activity and internal organs is important
Cause of Disease
  • Internal causes such as functional disorder of body regarded as important
Diagnosis Methodology
  • Centered on finding out the disharmony of body
  • Peculiar examination to KM by inspection, inquiry, listening and smelling examination and palpation
  • Emphasis on adjustment of functional change
  • Emphasis on acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal medicine
  • Ailment therapy / Allopathy
Sa Sang Constitutional Medicine
  • A disease is caused by the disharmony of the whole body
  • Man has his own deficiency and excess in internal organs based on the constitution he is born with
  • Four Constitutions: TaeYang, SoYang, TaeYin and SoYin
Original Text
  • Title a Book : Korean Medicine Introduction to Korean Medicine
  • Publisher : The Association of Korean Medicine
  • Publication date : March 19, 2010