Group Picture Korea-kl

Korea October 2017

by Carla Fuhlrot, the Vice President of ETCMA


The Director of the Workshop Dr. Byungmook Lim (Pusan National University) and Hyunmi Jung (Research and Program Coordinator Pusan National University) were excellent hosts and made sure we did not miss anything.

The 10-day workshop was very well structured with lots of information about TKM and its situation in Korea. The following presentations were held:

  • Introduction of Korean Culture
  • Summary of Korean Medicine
  • Sasang Constitutional Medicine in Korea
  • Acupuncture and related interventions in contemporary practice of Korean Medicine
  • Health Policy and Management for TKM
  • The past, present and future of TK education in Korea
  • Quality Control & Regulations of Herbal Medicine in Korea
  • Recent Trends in Korean Medicine
  • Traditional Korean-Western Medicine Collaboration
  • Standardization Activities of Traditional Medicine

The doctors of TKM mainly work with the Sasang Constitutional and SAM Technic. The teachings of TKM can be found in the books "Donggui Bogam", which are now also available in English. The university has an incredible number of research studies on TKM. We were told that TKM was the world's best researched traditional medicine. We also had the opportunity to have an insight into the new techniques and trends of acupuncture.

It seems that a pulse measuring device is quite common in the hospitals of TKM. The device draws a geometrical figure representing the pulse. The treating physician will interpret it. In Korea TKM is equal to western medicine. The patient can choose if he wants to be treated in a traditional or in a western medicine way. There are hospitals, private hospitals and private practice. Many doctors are specialised. one of the specific fields of expertise that TKM is known for is for boosting growth in children. It was stated that a burst of growth takes place in the children within two months after the start of the treatment.

Korea is very proud to produce the best Ginseng, red Korean Ginseng. Apart of the raw herb it’s also distributed as granules, beverages, cookies and candies. The Korean Ginseng has also found its way into pricey cosmetics. The Materia Medica of TKM is the same as TCM. However, the formulas differ from the classical TCM formulas. The Korean insurance companies only pay for a few herbal medicines (the list consists approx. 50 individual granular herbs and a smaller selection of formulas). Therefore, the main population gets treated with the focus on acupuncture.

The already mentioned Sasang therapy is a treating system which is based on four constitutions – Lung, Spleen, Kidney and Liver. It relies on the personal appearance, personality and temperament and pulse diagnosis. The root of the patient is treated. The treatment includes acupuncture, herbal medicine and also advice in nutrition and lifestyle. In a beautiful private clinic, which we visited, the compaction of blood cells was examined, a stress test and an iris diagnosis were made in addition to the classical TKM diagnosis.

Besides well-known acupuncture, moxa and cupping the TKM doctors also work with bee venom therapy, acupotomy (needle knife), laser acupuncture, superficial needle embedding and catgut embedding if indicated. The treatment given is based on the underlying theories of classical meridian theory, microsystem, five elements, constitutional based, neurophysiology, myofascial needling. The TKM is continuously being researched and they are constantly looking for new possible treatment methods and devices, as shown by the needle and catgut embedding method, which is very popular in the facial rejuvenation therapy.

Although TKM is equal with western medicine, there are conflicts between those two. To treat a patient in a hospital with both western and traditional medicine is not possible. These two medical systems are strictly separated from each other.

Over all I had a great time in Korea with wonderful people and a insight into high quality TKM. It is a very busy country with lots of high tech, skyscrapers, good food and very friendly locals. A trip to Korea is definitely worth it.

If you are interested in more information, please contact me Carla Fuhlrott


Carla Fuhlrott-Capello (Vice President ETCMA), Dinca Valentina (Technical Officer in Standardization, Standardization Association Romania), Dr. Eva Müller (Medical Expert and Legal Expert SMS Societas Medicinal Sinensis), Eric Raymond Buckley (Vice Chair American Society of Acupuncturists), Henri Yves Alain Truong Tan Trung (President French College of Acupuncture), Lee Andrew De Lorme (Board Officer The National Center for Acupuncture Safety and Integrity) Mary Cecilia Plunkett (Dean Irish College Traditional Chinese Medicine), Nguyen Thi Phuong Mai (Vietnamese Pharacopoeia and Formulary Center Secretary, Subcommittee of Materia Medica and Traditional Medicines of Vietnamese Pharmacopoeia Commission), Raymond Bourret (Chair Ordre des Acupunctures du Quebec), Suzanne Cochrane (Lecturer & Academic Course Advisor School of Science & Health, Western Sydney University), Sutat Pattaravoratham (Chief of Rehabilitation Medicine & Acupuncture Physician, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration General Hospital), Thomas Joseph Shanahan (Director Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine)

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