CHANGWON, South Gyeongsang Province (Yonhap News) ― The chairman of the executive committee of a traditional medicine fair opening this week said Thursday that the event will strive to cure the minds and bodies of urbanites who require rest from the high-stress modern society.
The World Traditional Medicine Fair & Festival will be held in Sancheong County in South Gyeongsang Province, from Friday to Oct. 20, according to the organizers.
Choi Gu-sik said he had a special nickname for the event, given its therapeutic and salutary nature.
“Twenty-two hundred years ago, Emperor Qin Shi Huang of China sent an expedition to Mt. Jirisan in South Korea’s southeast to find the fabled herb of eternal youth,” the chairman said, referring to the Chinese king from BC 246 to BC 221 who was famous for his obsession with immortality.
“And since our event will be held at the eastern tip of Mt. Jirisan, where the life force is known to be the strongest, I’d like to call it the ‘Healing Expo,’” he added.
The word “healing” has become popular in South Korea following the success of a local talk show called “Healing Camp, Aren’t You Happy,” which aims to console the minds of city dwellers who live in a society where the suicide rate is among the highest in the world.
The fair is set to take place in Donguibogam Village, named after the traditional Korean medical encyclopedia. It is nestled between the two highest peaks of Mt. Jirisan, rendering it ideal for rehabilitation and relaxation.
The festival marks the 400th anniversary of the Korean medical text, which has garnered interests from the West for its focus on preventative medicine and non-invasive methods such as moderating one’s diet and lifestyle, Choi said.
Though Western medicine has ushered in a new era in which humans live until 100, Choi said there are health issues that remain unsolved due to the highly commercial and competitive nature of the field.
“This event is originated from the fact that the mind and the body are not such separate entities, and neither are humans and nature,” he said. “We thought there needed to be a new approach that delved into this fact.”
Visitors can experience foot baths, beauty massages, acupuncture and moxibustion at the Oriental Medicine Spirit Experience Center in the middle of the village.
Lesser known methods such as “shinchim,” or sleeping on pillows stuffed with pine straw, await them as well, in addition to having one’s body composition diagnosed according to the four types set forth in the “Donguibogam.”
At the Oriental Medicine Healing Town, visitors can book one- or two-day stays that are served with a free body diagnosis, along with “yakseon,” or traditional Korean snacks, and other first-class Korean medical treatments.