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Integr Med Res. 2014 Jun;3(2):49-59. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2013.08.001. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

An introduction to Chuna manual medicine in Korea: History, insurance coverage, education, and clinical research in Korean literature.

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College of Oriental Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea.
Bundang Jaseng Hospital of Oriental Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.
College of Oriental Medicine, Woo-suk University, Wanju, Korea.
School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan, Korea.
Korean Medicine Health Technology Research Group, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.


The objectives of this study were to summarize the curriculum, history, and clinical researches of Chuna in Korea and to ultimately introduce Chuna to Western medicine. Information about the history and insurance coverage of Chuna was collected from Chuna-related institutions and papers. Data on Chuna education in all 12 Korean medicine (KM) colleges in Korea were reconstructed based on previously published papers. All available randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of Chuna in clinical research were searched using seven Korean databases and six KM journals. As a result, during the modern Chuna era, one of the three periods of Chuna, which also include the traditional Chuna era and the suppressed Chuna era, Chuna developed considerably because of a solid Korean academic system, partial insurance coverage, and the establishment of a Chuna association in Korea. All of the KM colleges offered courses on Chuna-related subjects (CRSs); however, the total number of hours dedicated to lectures on CRSs was insufficient to master Chuna completely. Overall, 17 RCTs were reviewed. Of the 14 RCTs of Chuna in musculoskeletal diseases, six reported Chuna was more effective than a control condition, and another six RCTs proposed Chuna had the same effect as a control condition. One of these 14 RCTs made the comparison impossible because of unreported statistical difference; the last RCT reported Chuna was less effective than a control condition. In addition, three RCTs of Chuna in neurological diseases reported Chuna was superior to a control condition. In conclusion, Chuna was not included in the regular curriculum in KM colleges until the modern Chuna era; Chuna became more popular as the result of it being covered by Korean insurance carriers and after the establishment of a Chuna association. Meanwhile, the currently available evidence is insufficient to characterize the effectiveness of Chuna in musculoskeletal and neurological diseases.


Chuna manual medicine; Korea; clinical research; education; history; insurance coverage

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