Daegu’s Yangyeongsi Herb Medicine Cultural Festival enlightened and soothed visitors from October 1st-6th in Republic of Korea.
The festival was held in Yangyeongsi Market, the home of the city’s more than 350-year old tradition of oriental medicine.
The scents of fragrant herbs wafted through the 700-meter alley dubbed Yakjeon Golmok. Shop owners opened their doors to all to pore over and sample wares like teas and herbal medicines. Additionally, acupressure, skin therapy, health tests and diagnoses were offered.
The world of Eastern medicine can be a daunting one for foreigners to venture into but the festival eased the foray for many. Proprietors were gracious, patient, informative and welcoming of the hundreds meandering through the alley.
English-speaking volunteers staffed booths that further eased those new to oriental medicine.
The festival even featured a one-day tour for sixteen foreign guests sponsored by medical tourism programs. The October 4th tour included a guided tour as well as the opportunity to experience a range of treatments and medicines.
American Gary Lynn was among the fortunate sixteen. Post acupressure, he offered, “It worked magic on my back. Even though there was pain during my treatment, I felt much better after getting acupressure therapy.”
A special ceremony also celebrated the Korea’s contribution to oriental medicine. The anniversary of Donguibogam, a compendium of medical knowledge and treatment techniques compiled in 1613, was at the forefront. The book was designated a seventh UNESCO World Heritage in 2009.
At the end of the day, festival attendees reflected on their experience and eased tired feet in the herbal pond situated in front of the Museum of Oriental Medicine.
The annual Oriental Medicine Festival again successfully celebrated its storied history but perhaps more importantly, better embraced its future by becoming even more foreigner-friendly as well as offering more tangible, inviting and interactive opportunities to the uninitiated.