Some women that I knew in a previous parish came for a visit recently. They came to visit public health centers to introduce their
capsicum (an extract from peppers) plaster (PAS) treatment for medical problems. They gave me a demonstration of the possibilities for treatment putting a very small half inch square patch of capsaicin on different parts of my arms and face. The thinking of those who use acupuncture is that in our bodies there is the flow of energy (Ki) and if the Yin and Yang is not in balance things will not be right. Working with these points that relate with different organs they try to get the (Ki) to flow correctly. These women were using the same points used for acupuncture but with the small patches at these points.
In Korea acupuncture was in the past the first method of treatment for many ailments. There was a development to hand acupuncture (needles in the acupoints of the hand), moxibustion (heat in these same points ), acupressure ( pressing these points), and now according to these woman a non invasive way with no bad side effects by using hot PAS patches on the meridian points.
It is very inexpensive for with a package of PAS, cut up into small one half inch squares, you have enough small patches to last you for over a year. I have seen these small patches on the hands of many of our Catholics but now I know what they signify. If I knew the meridian points that relate to the different organs of the body I would know what ails them.
There are many alternative ways of dealing with medical problems in Korea. Some of them are harmless but the medical profession would see some of them as harmful for they keep the person from going to a doctor when something could be done and medical remedies prescribed.
Despite all the years I have been in Korea not once have I been treated with acupuncture. I do not like anything which I think is invasive. When you get sick and are in a doctor's care that thinking is forgotten. The ladies left me a package of capsicum PAS and the next time I get a plugged nose I will be using a couple of those patches.With this kind of treatment for a head cold there is little that I would find objectionable. Before they left they did mention that I have to believe in the effectiveness of the procedure; acting on that suggestion if there is good results, I will never know if it is the hot patch or the placebo effect.