Destination Spotlight

Several Thousands of Years of Traditional Korean Medicine

Destination Spotlight
Health care in the western world is changing. As fees for state of the art medical support are sky rocketing, access to optimal medical care is becoming more difficult for an increasing number of people who have insufficient health insurance. As a result, many individuals are looking for more financially viable treatment options outside of the mainstream medical system.

This trend is being further accelerated by those who are averse to intrusive surgery and/or side-effect laden pharmaceuticals and are seeking less aggressive, more holistic alternatives. In Korea, this “alternative” can be found in its own tradition. Traditional Korean Medicine is based on the same philosophical background as Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Like western medical doctors, traditional Korean medical doctors are often specialists in certain fields, however all TKM doctors use the same holistic approach to treating issues. TKM has been used for myriad health issues to rebalance the body system, and to that end it offers a wide variety of treatments, including acupuncture, herbal remedies, moxibustion, cupping, and chuna manipulation therapy.

In eastern medical philosophy, the human being is understood as a micro universe contained within the macro universe. Using the basic concept of the dualistic Yin and Yang principle, health is perceived as the balance and harmony of these complementary forces which exist in all matter.

Traditional Korean Medicine is the product of several thousand years of clinical experience. Throughout its history, TKM has developed a deep understanding of the organic interactions within the body as well as environmental influences on the body system. Oriental Medical Doctors understand all kinds of “disease” and manifesting symptoms as signs of disharmony. According to the degree of imbalance, the disease may be seen either as “functional” or “organic.”

Functional disease involves those cases where patients have specific symptoms in the absence of conclusive test results, even after thorough diagnostic assessment. Organic disease involves cases in which diagnostic assessment through diverse screening methods has suggested an advanced state of imbalance or disease.

Imbalance at both functional and organic levels can be effectively addressed with TKM. A typical treatment may include acupuncture to regulate the energy flow through the body meridians. In addition, herbal mixtures, which are based on tried and true recipes, may be consumed to internally harmonize the organic functions. TKM can even correct various degrees of spinal misalignment, disc herniation, and joint problems through a special manipulation technique called Chuna therapy.

Traditional Korean Medicine can compete in many fields with western “scientific” medicine. However, in modern Korean society, TKM is the medical treatment of choice for cases involving chronic or degenerative skeletal and joint problems, female-specific issues such as infertility or menstrual disorders, and also in a variety of different cases where the allopathic western approach could not bring any satisfying resolution to the problem.

In the last 20 years, some traditional eastern treatment techniques, like acupuncture and moxibustion, have been introduced to many western countries. Since this time, their safety and efficiency has been supported in large scale studies, and they have become accepted by most medical communities as well as a number of insurance companies. Indeed, once other facets of TKM, such as eastern herbal medicine, become better known in the west, Traditional Korean Medicine is likely to be perceived as a primary or complementary medical care option rather than merely an affordable “alternative.”

Dr. Raimund Royer is Korea’s only “Western” Oriental medical doctor and the medical director of the Jaseng Hospital of Oriental Medicine’s International Clinic in Seoul, Korea, Specializing in non-surgical treatment of spinal disorders. This is where East-meets-West. Along with the state-of-the-art test tools from West, doctors at Jaseng combine the best of eastern and western medicine to treat patients. For more information go to

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