London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Traditional Korean medicine and hand acupuncture in Team Korea House

Team Korea House will be located at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, 60 Knightsbridge, during the 2012 London Olympics, from the 27th of July to the 12th of August. In addition to the interviews with the medal winners each morning (9am), a variety of interesting activities and events will take place, including: a drop-in workshop on Korean handicrafts, a traditional Korean music performance by Dulsori, a display in which a robot dances to K-pop, and the opportunity to have your photo taken in traditional Korean costume (Hanbok). You can also have the acupoints on your hands massaged, while relaxing to the sound of the meditation music of Kim Young-Dong. This is ideal for visitors who have a hectic schedule over the Olympic period.

Traditional Korean medicine (TKM) differs from traditional Chinese or Japanese medicine, as it is primarily focused on elevating the vital energy of the body in the prevention and treatment of diseases. One of the most important ways of achieving this is through the relaxation of the body and mind, a process described in the most important textbook on TKM, the Donguibogam. This fundamental approach, which has always been at the heart of TKM, predates other methods of treatment such as herbal medicine and acupuncture.

Hand acupuncture (Soojichim) is a popular acupuncture method unique to Korea, which is commonly used by people to look after their own health. The hand is believed to be a microcosm of the entire body, each part of the hand corresponding to a different part of the body. For example, the top of the middle finger relates to the top of the head, while the centre of the palm represents the stomach. Stimulating these acupoints can have a beneficial effect on the corresponding part of the body. This can be achieved by applying pressure to points of the hand on a regular basis, even without needles. So when you have an upset stomach, for instance, it can be cured instantly by pressing the palm firmly.

Self-healing/treatment has always been a popular idea with Koreans. Over 300 million people have learned Soojichim since it was developed by Dr. Yoo Tae-Woo in the 1970s. Learning and applying Soojichim is relatively straightforward, and consequently it has become a widely recognised form of Korean acupuncture. Its effectiveness as a treatment has also contributed to its popularity. In Korea, acupuncture is an officially recognised and legally protected area of medicine. Only licensed traditional Korean medicine doctors (KMDs) are permitted to treat other people. However, Soojichim learners may perform hand acupuncture on themselves though not on others.

According to Dr. Yoo, his discovery and development of Soojichim was partly based on the theories of Japanese academics, who said that indications of diseases of the internal organs occur on the body’s surface. He found that these indications appear as points/areas on the hand, and are painful when pressed or/and may also have an unusually dark coloration. You can try to find those points to diagnose yourself using the Korean hand acupuncture chart below.

Korean hand acupuncture chart
Korean hand acupuncture chart (click for larger version)

In Soojichim, the middle finger represents the head and neck. The index and ring fingers correspond to the arms, while the thumb and the little finger relate to the legs. The front of the hand represents the front of the body and the back of the hand represents the back of the body. If you hold your hands in front of you with palms open, and facing downwards, the left half of each hand represents the left side of the body. This is mirrored by the right half of the hand, which represents the right side of the body. For example, the right-hand index finger represents the left arm and the left-hand thumb represents the right leg.

Massage points for losing weight
Massage points for losing weight

In Team Korea House, there will be hand acupoint massage machines, which are designed to stimulate every acupoint of the hand without penetrating the skin. The machine can also be used for self-diagnosis, if you make a note of the location of any pains or aches you may have felt while using it. Also, note any unusually dark areas on the hand. KMD staff will be on hand to give you advice if needed. The experience could be useful as well as relaxing!


  1. Heo Jun. Donguibogam. Hadong, Korea: Donguibogam publisher; 2005, p.17, 19.
  2. Tae Woo Yoo. KHT Koryo hand therapy. Korea: Koryo hand therapy, INC.; 2010, p.1, 16-17, 19-20, 22, 24, 48.

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

One thought on “Traditional Korean medicine and hand acupuncture in Team Korea House

  1. I would be intersted in any and all literature on korean traditional medicine. i own two books on hand cupuncture, one published in french by SATAS in Belgium, and one from Argentina, but bothing beyond that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.