Ho Im famous for his book on old therapies

Chimgugyonghombang authored by Ho Im
Modern reproduction of Chimgugyonghombang in south Korea. (Photo Credit Heoim.net)

Chimgugyonghombang compiled in 1644 is Korea's earliest book on acupuncture and moxibustion.

It was authored by Ho Im (1570-1647), a Koryo medical specialist in the period of the feudal Joson dynasty.

He began to acquire medical knowledge as he worked as an odd-job man in a doctor's home, and took special interest in acupuncture and moxibustion.

While practising the therapies, he broadened his experience and got the knacks of them.

He became widely known both at home and abroad and rose to the status of a court doctor which was a kind of medical officer at the time.

He compiled the book at the closing years of his life by systematizing his long and rich clinical experience and successes.

The single-volume book is classified into 70-odd items and consists of the outline and details.

The outline explains in brief the acupoints physicians may mistake, symptoms of different diseases and their relations with the bowels and meridians, positions and functions of commonly-used 138 acupoints belonging to the 12 hard pulses, methods of applying acupuncture and moxa, indications and contraindications of the therapies and their principles.

The details give a simple and clear description of the causes and symptoms of various diseases occurring in relevant parts from the head to legs and the intestines and cures for them, while bringing together the treatments for various diseases in a systematic way and in a manual style.

He also came up with a unique tonification and excess-curbing method based on his view that patients respond differently according to how the needles are inserted.

At present, this method is named after Ho Im and used in clinical practice.

(Pyongyang Times - November 22, 2020)

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