Traditional Korean medicine

Traditional Korean medicine has also been gaining popularity in recent years among those seeking alternatives to Western medicine.
Tokuko Karibe from Yokohama received acupuncture at Kwangdong Oriental Hospital in Samseong-dong last week. She also had treatment to activate her circulation and relieve pain in her back and shoulders.

She visited the hospital during her five-day trip to Korea.

Asked why she chose Oriental treatment, Karibe said, “Western medicine is good when you have a severe problem, but Oriental cures are usually to adjust the way of your life and give you a hint of what you can do in your daily life. It gives total advice, like what I should be careful of, what I should and shouldn’t do, what to eat, etc. It’s an overall approach and that’s what I needed.”

The 38-year-old said Western medicine works for a short period. “But after that treatment, it’s done and probably the problem will come back. In Oriental medicine, maybe it doesn’t work immediately, but it works slowly and for a long duration.”

A doctor at the hospital, Cho Jin-hyong, said Oriental medicine is superior to Western drugs in treating illnesses caused from weak functioning organs, while the latter focuses on the next stage if the organs develop a disorder.

She said more than 80 percent of the hospital’s foreign patients are Japanese and most of them come for cosmetic and diet purposes. “We believe healthiness inside results in beauty outside. So, we use acupuncture for both better energy circulation inside and appearance improvement in outside,” Cho said.

Kwangdong employee Sung Jin said while Oriental medicine is emerging as an alternative medicine in Japan, the country doesn’t have Oriental hospitals but only practitioners in acupuncture and moxibustion. “They trust Korean medicine because it is practiced in hospitals,” she said.

Chinese people, even though China has its own Oriental medicine, come to Korea because hospitals there don’t provide cosmetic treatments, Sung said. “Korean hospitals also have more modern facilities, attracting Chinese VIPs.”


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