Should a Christian participate in acupuncture / acupressure?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The origin of acupuncture is Chinese Taoism. Taoism is the philosophical system evolved by Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu that advocates a life of complete simplicity, naturalness, and non-interference wit...

July 01 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Data Steven Best Former mil intel analyst, chiropractor & Bible Teacher
I am a retired chiropractor, who studied acupuncture in school. After reading the Bible through several times, I decided that the Yin-Yang dualistic spiritual philosophies were decidedly antithetical to Christianity. My efforts to get an acupuncture license immediately ended. Then, one of my favorite instructors, himself a Christian, made me rethink everything. At 77 years of age, he was an esteemed apologist for our profession, who lectured around the world, and could seemingly recite the entire Gray's Anatomy and Guyton's Physiology textbooks by heart.

When questioned regarding acupuncture, he would cite studies indicating the efficacy of its treatment, and then ask, "If acupuncture is proven to be effective, does it immediately follow that their explanation of how it works is correct? After a short pause he would add, "I have found in my personal investigations, that acupuncture does work, but it seems to me the answers, as to how it works, will be discovered in the physiology of the nervous system." Later, a television documentary showed open brain surgery and removal of a human brain tumor, conducted with the use of no anesthesia or pain meds of any kind, only acupuncture. The patient was conscious and talked to the surgeons throughout the procedure. The investigator ended by stating the patient recovered far more quickly, and urging that science look more closely into the physiology of it.

While Eastern studies on the efficacy of acupuncture have been favorable, those in the West have been equally unfavorable, raising the question of cultural bias. The West dismisses the Eastern findings by faulting the research methods used. The Cochran Studies, probably the most well-known in the West, ascribed any benefits to the placebo effect, since there seems to be little change in effect when the needles are placed outside the prescribed course. Just the same, improvement is noted, though not in all conditions. Neck pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, nonspecific low back pain, and arthritic pain responded most favorably, while acute pain, allergies and many other conditions showed no measurable improvement. Furthermore, since acupuncture has been a mainstay of Eastern medicine for over 3000 years, many argue it could not have remained in favor this long, were it not effective. 

So what is a Christian to do? Scripture says we are to examine all things, and hold fast that which is good. Proverbs advises us: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths." Staying connected with God and His Word, in my estimation, are key. Since some Western studies showed acupuncture effective for myofascial pain syndrome a condition which kept me from sleeping for over 2 years. I prayerfully spoke to a Christian chiropractor friend, then tried acupuncture, as well as acupressure treatments. Acupressure was equally effective for me but less uncomfortable, so I continued with it, and even incorporated acupressure treatments into my practice. In accordance with my mentor, I utilized neurology and physiology as the basis for my pressure points, rather than following the Eastern charts. This seemed to work well for me and my patients.

I believe there may be much to be learned from acupuncture, if thoroughly investigated in relationship to the neurophysiology of the human body. Yet, I also believe one must be on guard against Eastern mysticism and New Age paganism which are so often associated with it.

June 08 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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