SEOUL, KOREA– Traditional Korean medicine or Korean medicine will soon meet with the rest of the world. Organized by the International Society of Oriental Medicine (ISOM) and the Association of Korean Oriental Medicine (AKOM), the 16th International Congress of Oriental Medicine (16th ICOM) will be held at COEX in Seoul from the 14th- 16th of September. This year’s ICOM is a ‘pre-expo’ event leading up to the 2013 World Traditional Medicine Expo in Sancheong, Korea (Sancheong Expo), which will celebrate the 400th year since the birth of Donguibogam. Next year ICOM will be one of a variety of scholarly functions hosted at the Expo.
These events are likely to solidify Traditional Korean medicine, a practice that has drawn worldwide attention ever since Donguibogam became the first medical publication designated as a UNESCO Memory of the World in 2009. This book is composed of a total of 25 volumes compiled and edited by Heo Jun. DonguiBogam is a set of experience-based medical books that contain the essence of East Asian medicine in the 17th century. Eui-bang Yu-chi, which includes an impressive 365 volumes and Hangyak Jip Seong-bang were compiled 150 years earlier during the reign of King Sejong the Great. Donguibogam is still used as an important material in the study of oriental medicine, as they cover everything from the basics of medicine to symptoms, diagnosis, differentiation, acupuncture, and hypogastric breathing. Dr. Ahn Sang-woo, Director of Global Donguibogam Center, explained, “At that time, Donguibogam was so popular that even the Chinese emperor read the books and sought its consultation. In Japan, more copies were printed than in Korea.” He said, “It was an international best-seller, so to speak.”
16th ICOM– venue for discussion and exchange about world's traditional medicine
ICOM was first held in Seoul in 1976, aiming to integrate traditional medicine into science and develop it as an-evidence-based medicine. The event is held every two years, and is the oldest international conference in the traditional medicine field. With the aging population worldwide and an increase in chronic disease, the world is paying more and more attention to traditional medicine. This event, too, will likely receive such keen interest, as many experts expect rapid growth of the traditional medicine industry. The international traditional medicine market is expected to expand from USD 40 billion (approximately KRW 45 trillion) in 2010 to USD 5 trillion (KRW 5,690 trillion) by 2050.
The 3-day congress will host over 16,000 people including 1,000 visitors from 50 countries. Events will include: with 19 field conferences, a poster session, six workshops for academic societies, a welcoming ceremony, gala dinner, government forum, and an ISOM directors’ meeting, all under the theme “the Future of Medicine, Traditional Medicine.”
This year, the attendants are planning to discuss and share Korea’s own technological fields as well as the traditional domains of traditional medicine. Korea is an active contributor to scientific development of traditional medicine by using state-of-the-art devices such as the robot pulse-meter. Furthermore, on the last day of the event, the attendants will take a tour around Sancheong, the host city of the Sancheong expo in 2013.
The exhibition of the 16th ICOM will be divided into three sections: the Industry Hall to show industries related to traditional medicine; World Traditional Medicine Hall to introduce and offer the chance to experience traditional medicine of different countries; and Bio-oriental Medicine Hall to provide information on standardization of, and a glimpse into the future of traditional medicine. Additionally, the Sancheong Expo Hall aims to promote Sancheong expo.
“This event will certainly give us an opportunity,”Dr. Kim Jeong-gon, President of AKOM, to consider “to reassess the value of traditional medicine, which is in increasing demand worldwide, and its position in the world healthcare field.”Further information can be found on the website of the International Congress of Oriental Medicine at www.icom2012.org/