6월 29, 2011

History and features of Korean Traditional Medicine






Korea opened its gates to the outer world in 1876. Since that, western civilization has been flooding into Korea and medicine was no exception. Hwalinseo and Hyeminseo, traditional medical institutions for citizen was closed. Instead, Jejongwon which was operated by western doctors was opened.

Japan annexed Korea in 1910 and the Japanese colonial period had lasted until 1945. From 1913, Japan issued licenses, called Eui-sang which position was inferior to Western Doctors' , for TKM doctors. It limited the TKM doctors' sphere of activaty. In 1930s, the colonial Japanese government changed their health policy. However, this does not mean the encourangement of TKM. As the relationship with China aggravated, the provision of medical herb became unstable and it started to support Korean oriental medicine. From that time, TKM revivalism was running. Especially Jo Heon-yeong emphasized a well-balanced compromise between Korean and western medicine.

After Japan defeated in World War Ⅱ, Korea was independent of Japan in 1948. From that time, the TKM system was sattled. In 1961, Korea government abolished the TKM system and oriental medical schools by the doctors' strong insistence. However the TKM system revived through revised medical law in 1963. Since then, Korea maintained the dualistic medical system, which meant oriental doctors and western doctors treating patients independently.
Meanwhile, DongyakEuiyak college, which had been built in 1946, had the department of TKM and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1955. In 1964, the college got the equal educational system to medical colleges'.( a two years preparatory course and a four years regular course). The next year, DongyakEuiyak college was connected to Kyung-Hee university and it lasted as the department of oriental medicine and pharmacy of Kyung-Hee university. Since the end of 1970s, a number of the department of Oriental medicine was been built in many other university.



Features of Korean Traditional Medicine

The basic theory of Korean medicine before the Four Constitution medicine was Taoism. Therefore, medical theorists at that time tried to explain medical theory by Yin-yang and Five Phase Theory. However, Je-ma, Lee, the author of Longevity and Life Preservation in Eastern Medicine was mainly affected by Confucianism.

The difference between Taoism and Confucianism generated the differences. In this background, genuine feature of Korean medicine compared to the Chinese medicine was generated. These characteristics of Korean medicine are human-oriented pathology, Structure based on number four and Curative means by balance between body and mind

Human-oriented pathology
Taoism’s medicine considered a human as a part of nature. It explained the causes of sickness by Yin-yang and Five Phase Theory and correspondence between nature and human. For example, reasons of the sickness could be the food and other one-sided natural environment. However, four constitution medicine more values yin-yang theory and human itself. In the four constitution medical theory, not only food and the natural environments but also emotional change in human can be the major reason for the disease.

Structure based on number four
The four constitution medicine analyzes the world by number four. Je-ma, Lee considered the major components of universe as nature, human, temperament, and life. Also, he regarded four human constitutional components as greater yang person, lesser yang person, greater yin person, and lesser yin person.

Curative means by balance between body and mind
Korean medicine before the four constitutional medicine tried curing by herbal medicine and acupuncture practices. However four constitutional medicine started mental stabilization as the curative method. Je-ma, Lee thought that mind was not only a part of body but also the part of human that composed human with the same importance with body. Therefore, Four Constitutional medicine recognized the role of mind in the formation of constitution.

Human-oriented pathology, Structure based on number four and Curative means by balance between body and mind are the major distinctiveness from the Chinese medicine. Other than these three characteristics of Korean medicine, unique view of herbal medicine by Je-ma, Lee and life nurturing in daily life can be other characteristics. Due to these uniqueness, the book Longevity and Life Preservation in Eastern Medicine and its author are important in today’s Korean medicine.


4 constitution medicne - Longevity and Life Preservation in Eastern Medicine

Longevity and Life Preservation in Eastern Medicine(東醫壽世保元) is the book of Four-constitution Medicine (the branch of traditional Korean medicine initiated by Lee Je-ma, which stresses the theory of the four constitutions: physiology, pathology, diagnosis, and maintenance of health). It was written by Lee Je-ma, who was a medical scientist at the end of the Joseon Dynasty and divided people into four classifications based on their inherent traits. The name of book, ‘Dongeui(東醫)’ means medical practice or medicine of the Korea, 'soose(壽世)' implies longevity and 'bowon(保元)' signifies preservation of life.
The contents of the book is divided into seven sections : Seongmyeongron(性命論), Sadanron(四端論), Hwakchungron(擴充論), Jangburon(臟腑論), Uiwonron(醫源論), Gwangjeron(廣濟論), Sasanginbyeonjeungron(四象人辨證論). And it demonstrates respectively the formulary and treatment. The author divided human body into four types of constitution(a greater yang person, a lesser yang person, a greater yin person, and a lesser yin person) according to the temperament and personality. In treating a disease, he insists that the doctor place emphasis on the constitution rather than the symptoms of a disease.
'Seongmyeongron(性命論)' classified the foundation of nature(天機) as region(地方), humanity(人倫), society(世會). The foundation of nature(天機) regarded that ears hear the time of nature(天時) and humanity(人倫) smells something, with combining features.
‘Sadanron(四端論)’ divided human into four types and demonstrated that choices of the prescription and medicine change according to types.
'Hwakchungron(擴充論)' considered various matters that are relevant to the foundation of nature(天機) in Seongmyeongron in connection with sad and angry temperament of a greater yin-yang person and happy and glad temperament of a lesser yin-yang person in Sadanron.
'Jangburon(臟腑論)' explained the position and physiological function of viscera and bowels.
'Uiwonron(醫源論)' contained all time medical books of the China from Pyeonjak(扁鵲) and especially, Treasured Mirror of Eastern Medicine of the Korea.
'Gwangjeron(廣濟論)' account for difference of personality from childhood to old age and difference of temperament by job.
'Sasanginbyeonjeungron(四象人辨證論)' statistically explained results which distinguish many people into four constitution types.

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