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About Korean Hand Therapy

Updated on March 11, 2010

The South Korean Flag

yin and yang of the South Korean flag
yin and yang of the South Korean flag

Korean Hand Therapy (KHT)

When I lived in Seoul, South Korea, I had the pleasure of being exposed to Korean Hand Therapy. This therapy is also known as Koryo Hand Therapy, KHT, Korean Hand Acupuncture, or Sooji chim.

I had the most amazing yoga teacher who taught me positions that I never knew existed. She was also a licensed Korean Hand Therapist. She could also tell that I was getting cramps in my legs trying to do what many of the much older students were doing - yes, much older students - like all the elder women in their 70's and 80's, women who were able to do headstands and everything else.

At some point she asked me if I was interested in hand acupuncture. Actually, she didn't speak English, and I understood little Korean (Hangul) except how to order food and of course a polite greeting and thank you. But the Korean people were so kind and generous so I just said yes - nei (nay) to everything. So this is how I wound up in a lovely tea room with my wonderful yoga teacher doing hand therapy and sticking needles in my hand.

I admit that it did make me more limber and energetic, but it was only when I got back to the U.S. and did some research that I found that hand therapy was based on other philosophies, and has only been recently developed - in 1970.

About Korean Hand Therapy (KHT):

- KHT was developed in 1970 by Dr. Tae Woo Yoo, O.M.D., Ph.D.

- KHT is a combination of acupuncture and reflexology for the hand.

- It is based on the belief that the whole meridian system of the body is represented in miniature in the hand.

- It is believed that there are 14 micro-meridians and 345 acupuncture points in each hand providing an energetic access to internal organs.

- The points can be stimulated by needles, small magnets, and other devices and use massage, electricity, color light, laser and heat.

- Diagnostic techniques include pulse-taking, abdominal diagnosis, and conventional medical techniques.

The therapies have specific titles which include:

- Micro-meridian Balancing

- Five Element Tonification

- Special Points Therapy

- Yin and Yang Pulse Diagnosis

- Three Constitutions

- and more

Since 1993, KHT has become more widely used in the U.S. with certification program standards being developed in association with the American Institute of Koryo Hand Therapy.

For additional information please visit:

For other traditional health practices see links below:


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    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks for the compliment and rating, EnLydia Listener! You've summed it up - our hands and feet correspond to the whole body. We have so many choices!

    • profile image

      EnLydia Listener 7 years ago

      rated this up...both hands and feet correspond to the whole body...awesome hub!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Great idea Lord Bryan! Pusan/Busan is where the major annual film festival is held. It is a great city and should have acupuncturists easy to find. I hope you try it and report back. Meanwhile, eat as much as you can because the food is outstanding - and the quality is far superior to food stuff in the US.

      Have big big fun!

    • profile image

      Lord Bryan 7 years ago

      Interesting. I'm going to Pusan, Korea in May. I am going to look into this and see if I can find someone to do this on me. I get an ache from time to time in my hip from my exercising. I am sure I'll be doing A LOT of walking and will need this therapy. I'm not a huge fan of needles, but, hey, I'll try anything twice. Thank you,

      Lord Bryan

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Good idea! I hope you try it and then write a hub about it letting us know how it worked for you!

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 7 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Great hub! I may need to try hands & feet bother me sometimes...

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello izzytellsall. Thanks for your input about EFT. There is nothing like a personal recommendation. I plan to write about more therapies because I am getting such a positive response about drug-free therapies.

      Nice to meet you by the way!

    • izzytellsall profile image

      izzytellsall 7 years ago

      This sounds like a really intriguing treatment--thank you for sharing about it! I've been a user of EFT for several years now and it's done wonders for my back pain, and I'm always really interested to learn about drug-free approaches to better health.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello again Deltachord! I think I am going to do a hub with a list of other therapies that are beneficial but still new here in the US. I'm glad we are embracing healthy alternatives.

    • Deltachord profile image

      Deltachord 7 years ago from United States

      You are welcome BK.I have an interest in this because I studied massage therapy.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you Deltadhord! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Deltachord profile image

      Deltachord 7 years ago from United States

      This is so interesting and informative...

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello there Maita! Yes, it is like Chinese Acupuncture except all treatment is done in the hand. So for those afraid of needles - you don't have to imagine yourself looking like a porcupine. And if you just can't take the needles, then heat or magnets etc. can be used.

      It was great living in S. Korea and visiting China, Malaysian and Singapore. Meeting people, visiting museums and going on tours I got to learn so much first hand. It was great. And living in NYC - so many people from ancient cultures live here and Western medicine is not considered the right choice - first there is prevention/eating properly, then herbal medicines, then you can go on to the other treatments like acupuncture, massages, etc.

      Thanks for writing Maita!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      Korean hand therapy, now I know about it, I heard it from a friend, Is it like reiki? I supposed it is different as it has constitutions, it sounds like Chinese acupuncture BK< You are amazing, you know lots of asian way of medicine and healing, YAY, Maita

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello lelanew55. The good thing about Korean Hand Therapy is that it doesn't have to be needles, it can be magnets, and heat and other options. I'm finding a lot of people don't like needles. My hands feel good still, no stiffness - even though I can sit here and type all day.

      I've read, Paradise7, that acupressure works quite well. In fact my KHT/yoga teacher showed me a place on my feet to apply it to keep the cramps out of my legs when I was learning her impossible yoga moves - it was to press the spot right under the bone on the inside of my foot. I often just do it because it just feels good. A lot of hubbers have written some good hubs about acupressure.

      This was new to me too Ann Nonymous. If I didn't happen to have that great yoga teacher in Seoul, I never would have known about it - or just assumed it was acupuncture in a particular place - as opposed to acupuncture just on the hand representing all the organs - without putting needles in other parts of the body.

      Thanks so much for the comments.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      I never, ever, ever heard of this...and if I did, I unfortunately never, ever, ever paid attention! You did a good job here,'s short and to the point!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very interesting hub. My sister is having problems with her hands. She will not go for acupuncture but may go for acupressure. It would be nice to have some non-drug method of relieving her pain.

    • lelanew55 profile image

      lelanew55 7 years ago

      Yes this is a very interesting hub, BKCreative. I have never tried acupuncture. So maybe I will start with the hand. MY hands could use it. They feel stiff at times. Thanks for sharing

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you lctodd1947 - you said it all so nicely. I appreciate it.

      Also while I was in S. Korea, anglnwu, I learned that the foot is the 'second heart' and so much healing is done through the feet. The amount of information is just overwhelming - but so exciting!

      Thanks Jen's Solitude for the congrats. There is the fear of needles for so many - but I was so fascinated by it all that I just sat there. But the good thing is that there are also options like heat, and magnetics, something will work. And Anyunghaseyo - hello - to your sister in Korea!

      Ahh but Mickey Dee if you learn this skill you can then 'needle' all your friends. (I know your sense of humor now - having visited your hubs).

      It is wonderful Mystique1957 - I just love how much I learn when I travel and visit these ancient cultures. I think this is still pretty new in many places - the idea that the hand can be the source to our internal organs - so maybe soon it will reach you!

      It is new Amber Allen - and old which is interesting. Based on the benefits of acupuncture and reflexology. I'm glad you found it interesting.

      I used to do a lot of crocheting PWalker and suddenly I'd find my hands just cramped - but while I was knitting and doing all those other fun crafts in S. Korea, I had no problem and none since. And yes, that hologram concept that you brought to my attention in TCM. There is auricular acupuncture for the ear - now that makes me a little uncomfortable - maybe because I can't see it happening.

      Thanks so much for the comments. I'm glad this was interesting and may be useful!

    • profile image

      PWalker281 7 years ago

      Fascinating! Never heard of this one. I'm a crocheter and knitter and often get cramping and/or pain in my hands. Definitely something to look into. And there goes that hologram again - accessing the entire body from one point, the hands ... also heard the ears work this way too. Thanks for sharing.

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 7 years ago

      This was a new therapy to me and it was an extremely interesting hub. Thanks


    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela


      Very interesting technique! We have to admit that our Oriental brethren knows best! I would love to have KHT therapy(any!) Unfortunately, it is not available here in my country. Let´s see when my opportunity comes around! Thumbs up! Thanks for sharing!

      warmest regards and blessings,


    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Great hub. I wish I wasn't too old learn stuff. I'd try to take that up. I've done some massage but I tend to rub people the wrong way. Thanks BK!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      First, I just noticed you have 707 fan/followers! Congrats on that! lol

      My sister is, as I type visiting South Korea, so your hub immediately caught my attention. However, I don't think I can conquer my fear of needles enough to even try acupuncture, although I am intrigued by it. Thanks for the info BK.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 7 years ago

      Interesting hub on Korean hand therapy--it's amazing how the hand is the microcosms of all the meridians in the body. So neat! Thanks for sharing.

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 7 years ago from USA

      The is interesting and helpful information. Well written and great...What else can I say? Good work.

      thank you for sharing

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you Sandyspider. Glad you found the hub interesting!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Very interesting hub.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you msorensson. I am so happy to have tried this therapy while in Seoul and can share how it benefited me.

      I didn't realize, Pamela99, that this was a new spin on old traditional practices, acupuncture and reflexology. We are entitled to have healthy options.

      Thank you both for commenting!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      BK, This is a very interesting hub. I never heard of Korean hand therapy. It is encouraging to know that there are many ways to receive medical treatment without going to medical doctors. Good hub,

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 7 years ago

      Very informative and timely, BkCreative.

      I will look at the links. Thank you for sharing.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You know I want to add here that I have for years been doing crafts and lots of handwork - and as I responded to Putz Ballard above, I did piano lessons and so much more while in Seoul, but not once did I have a problem with my hands - and more than two years later my hands are still flexible and no pain.

      And to continue, there are many teaching programs starting up - since it is only the hand and not the whole body, it seems like one year certification programs are being offered.

      Thank you for your enthusiasm theherbivorehippi - I would certainly do this again.

      You're welcome creativeone59. Thank you for commenting.

      Hello fasfreta - I know we would all love to hear a hub from you if you use this therapy. CA has such a large Korean population - perhaps this may be easily accessible for you.

      Maybe it will work for you Hello, hello. I am still fine after my treatment over 2 years ago.

      Nei VioletSun, it was just such a lovely time. I so appreciated all the love and kindness and generosity - and the respect Koreans have for their elders - wow!

      Hello pigfish, it's worth a try. Somehow looking at needles in my hand didn't bother me. And then my yoga teacher put very tiny needles at a point on my hand and then taped it on. That was interesting too.

      Thank you loveofnight - I'm glad you found the hub informative.

      Thank you Susan Carter. I'm glad we are embracing these 'older' practices.

      Thank you all for the input!

    • Susan Carter profile image

      Susan Carter 7 years ago

      Interesting subject. Sometimes the "older the medicine practice", the better the results.

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 7 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      very informative hub.....this is something of interest to me......thx 4 share

    • pigfish profile image

      pigfish 7 years ago from Southwest Ohio

      I didn't know about acupuncture in the hand. Thank you BkCreative for your informative hub. I start back to work at the garden center in a couple weeks and just might get brave enough to seek out this treatment for my aches and pains that are sure to come. Acupuncture has always freaked me out, but maybe in the hand I can hand-le (pun intended) it.

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      I echo the comments by your readers, and will also check out this therapy. Just finished doing EFT tapping but without any phrases as just touching the meridian points is balancing. I smiled at your saying nei to everything. :)

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Another interesting lesson. Thank you. I also got problems with my joins and hands and I definitely learned from your hub. I prefer alternative healing any time.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 7 years ago from Southern California

      BK this one really interests me, because I have a chronic condition that I'd like to address with this therapy. I'm going to look into this here in So. Cal. Thanks for sharing this one.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you BK on a great Korean Hand therapy hub, thank you for sharing it with us. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      345 acupuncture points in each hand??!! That is ridiculous! wow. I want to get this done! This sounds so fabulous!! Thanks for sharing such great information!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you KwameG - I am finding out that so many people, even very young are having problems with their hands and the joints. Perhaps this will work on the smaller scale. My hands have been fine even though I was doing a lot of hand work.

      I so love alternative therapies Veronica Allen. They work, are not invasive, are affordable, and no side effects.

      Thanks for writing!

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      BkCreative - thank you for sharing with us the wonders of alternative therapies. You are just a wealth of knowledge.

    • KwameG profile image

      KwameG 7 years ago from MS

      Very interesting hub - I will have to look a little more into this as my wife suffers many of the same aliments as Putz..Thanks for some great info.

      Putz, when is the CD going to drop?

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Please let me know what you find out Putz Ballard. This may be ideal.

      During that whole last year I was there I took piano lessons 5x a week, did beading classes for 2-3 hours at one time every week, did origami, and started knitting a small blanket. All things that may normally cramp your hands but they never did. So whatever my teacher did - and this was over 2 years ago - I remain pain free with very flexible hands.

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 7 years ago

      An interesting hub, I have had carpal tunnel but after cortisone shots and changing my job it went away. I now have rheumatoid arthritis which my doctor tells me is now dormant thanks to the new medicines that I have been taking. I play fiddle, guitar and banjo and these type therapies may be of help. I will check them out. thanks for sharing.