Chimgugyonghombang is an old Korean medical book on acupuncture and moxibustion.
Ho Im, a scholar of Koryo medicine in the period of feudal Joson dynasty (1392-1910), brought together the fundamental theories of acupuncture and moxibustion and his long clinical experience and compiled the book by dividing them into 70 items. That’s why it is also called “Hoimchimgugyonghombang”, or a book on Ho Im’s experience of acupuncture and moxibustion.
He began to acquire medical knowledge to cure his parents’ disease as he worked as an odd-job man in a doctor’s home and took a special interest in acupuncture and moxibustion.
In the course of this, he broadened his experience and got the knacks of acupuncture and moxibustion. He became widely known both at home and abroad and was therefore appointed as a court doctor which was a kind of medical officer at the time.
He asserted that medical science could be developed through the combination of theories and practice since the beginning of his medical career. In 1644 he systematized his all medical experience to compile Chimgugyonghombang, the first book specializing in acupuncture and moxibustion in Korea.
The book consists of the general and particulars. The general 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, how to set acupoints and 57 extra channels. The particulars follow the original style and systems of the book to give a 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 classifying and compiling in a manual style acupuncture and moxibustion methods for internal and surgical treatment and that of infectious diseases, female disorders and children’s diseases.
In the book he not only put together the basics of acupuncture and moxibustion and excellent treatment experiences but corrected the acupoints and applying methods the preceding medical books misled and revealed new acupoints with high efficiency.
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.
In case a needle is to be inserted five phuns (a phun is equivalent to 0.119 inch) deep, a doctor pricks it two phuns deep first, another two phuns after a while and finally one phun after a little interval and gets a patient to take a breath before plucking out the needle at one try and rubbing the acupoint to save the spirit. And another one is that the doctor inserts the needle five phuns deep at one time and plucks up it two phuns at each interval and makes a patient breathe out before removing it without rubbing the acupoint. The former is a method for tonification and the latter for excess-curbing.
The book shows well the development of acupuncture and moxibustion in Korea at that time and made a great contribution to the later development of the therapies. The tonification and excess-curbing method he developed is still being applied in practice.