A Möbius strip and Korean Culture, Traditions, and TKM

△ A concept of Möbius strips shares of basic idea of Korean traditional philosophy, literature, and traditional Korean medicine. image@envato-PixelSquid360

By David Park, Founder, South Baylo University

I explained conventional and New science and relationships in between New science and Traditional Korean medicine last month. The conventional science is based on Euclidian geometry and has been accepted as fundamentals of science. A characteristic of the conventional science is determined by linear and Universal. The conventional science could be compared with a structure or system with fundamental theories and principles and units. In the structure of the conventional science world, the universe and its structures are made with elaborate mechanical system. It is more like conventional medicine which has sophisticated manuals for each symptom than traditional Korean medicine.

New science cannot be defined or explained by linear or universal concept. There are no such definite fundamental theories or principles. Everything in the world or universe are co-exist and its relationship is more like a web. In the web, Hierarchy theory which focuses on levels of organization and issues of scale with a specific focus on the role of the observer in the definition of the system. Basic idea of New science and traditional Korean medicine shares a basic idea.

A good example of idea of nonlinear and non-universal is a Möbius strip. It is a surface with only one side and only one boundary. The Möbius strip has the mathematical property of being unorientable.


Traditional Korean medicine is like a Möbius strip. There is no specific manual for diagnosis and treatment of certain symptoms. The medicine also considers the human body, and mind, and the universe in one. You can easily understand the idea of wholeness in the traditional Korean medicine. After treatment symptom A, the patient says symptom A resolved and symptom B, and C which were not complained, resolved too. Like a Möbius strip does not have its end point and continues eternally, a pathogen created symptom A, B, and C and removing the pathogen causes resolving all symptoms.

It has been only 150 years for a concept of Möbius strips accepted. But Korean people have applied basic concept of Möbius strips for thousands of years to culture. Korean traditional custom which called Hanbok and symbol of Taiji, called Taeguk and Yin and Yang theory are good example of application of concept of Möbius strips. Hanbok does not have front and back and made with 2-dimensional fabric to create curve shape of the custom. Also, custom is considered as 2-dimensional object but after people wears and moves in the custom turn out to be considered as 3-dimensional object and purposely designed Hanbok’s wrinkles expand its space.

Specially, Masters of Hanboks explains that ways of using cloth is exactly same way to make Möbius strips.

Yin and Yang theory shares same root with Möbius strips. Ying and Yang is fundamental substances, and both have opposite characteristics like the sun and moon, day and night, bright and dark, man and woman, etc. And Yin and Yang cannot exist by itself. Even Yin and Yang is different but to be existed, Yin needs Yang and Yang needs Yin and two different substances should be balanced.

All organs could be grouped Yin and Yang organs and interestingly Yin organ is considered more important. Yang organs works as needed but Yin organs work continually. Therefore, Yin organs are essential for maintaining life.


I would like to ask for my readers. Please be an acupuncturist with warm heart and sympathy. It is more important to remember certain acupuncture points or herbal formula for certain symptoms. Also, please try to understand Korean philosophy and virtues first then try to understand skills for treatment. One of the most respected Korean acupuncturists through Chosun Dynasty, Huh, Joon said there are 8 different levels of acupuncturist. Most respected and admired acupuncturist is mind and body comforting acupuncturist. That level could be achieved by treatment history with sympathy and sincerity. I would like to see an acupuncturist who achieves the highest level that Master Huh, Joon said in America.




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