My Question:What are your thoughts on or experiences with acupuncture?

(Mary Beth Osborn) #1

Hi everyone,

I would be interested in knowing what your thoughts are or any personal experiences you have had and would be open to sharing about acupuncture.

I have read a brief piece about it in one of Kurt Koch’s books. I am interested in any scripture you would use to support your beliefs.

Thank you in advance.

Mary Beth

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(Dean Schmucker) #2

Hmm, I was also wondering about this. Honestly, the thought of going to acupuncture has left me “on pins and needles” in the past! But all kidding aside, I would welcome anyone’s thoughts on this.

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(Brian Lalor) #3

Mary Beth,

I will try to answer your question from my experience. I think in this instance we really have to rely on Holy Spirit for guidance. The reason being, it is just hard to know if it is spiritually dangerous to Christians or not, due to the root being qi energy flow.

I tried it many times when I lived in Viet Nam. The practitioner was excellent and the needles were clean, however, this was before I became a Christian. I would not be interested in trying acupuncture again because it was not effective for my condition.

If I felt acupuncture would help a condition I have, I would pray and if Holy Spirit gives no red flags then I would proceed. I believe that if it was bad for my spirit that I would know after the procedure. If I felt it was bad I would stop immediately.

I am sorry I cannot give a concrete answer here. I hope somebody else will be able to help you with a clearer response.

Brian

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(Roy Sujanto) #4

Hi everyone,

@brianlalor is right, letting the Holy Spirit leads you is important. If you are convinced against it, better safe than sorry. Better risk missing out on a possibly good treatment than risk letting ungodly things to be done on your body with our conscious permission.

With that said, accupuncture is common in Indonesia, among the chinese community, and I have a friend, whose Reformist pastor-dad is a practitioner by profession, not that it validates or invalidates anything, just that Reform usually are more practical, while usually it is the Charismatic/Pentecostal who are more wary of all the spiritual implications.

Though I attend a more charismatic church, I’ve been to a few acupuncture treatment myself, but my nature being afraid of needles, I avoid it as much as I could, not for spiritual reasons.

To my knowledge, there is a real science to it, but there are known practitioners who are more “spiritual”, and would imbue the needle with “ungodly” spirit/energy by prayer or ritual. These spiritual practitioners, I would avoid. But for practical practitioners, I’m fine personally. So I’m never too quick to judge on this issue, when ppl in my church ask me regarding this issue. So I would suggest doing a more extensive research, not just on acupuncture, but on the acupuncturist as well.

Always remember though, at the end of it all, there’s no curse too great for Jesus’ blood to cleanse anyway.

Hope it helps somewhat. May God’s wisdom be with you always. Blessings

Roy

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(Mary Beth Osborn) #5

Greetings everyone!

Thank you for your responses and wisdom.

I have a friend who goes to acupuncture on a regular basis and she has invited me to come with her, but I have declined. I personally do not have a peace about it, but no fingers pointed toward anyone who does.

I have wondered several times if I should say something to her about its origin, but before I did I was looking for scripture and sound, verifiable documentation on the true nature of this practice.

Thanks again!
Mary Beth

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(Lakshmi Mehta) #6

Dear @MaryBeth1 , thank you for starting this thread and it has taken me some time to get back to you. Dr. Anthony Fergusson of the UK Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) has a great article, “ Acupuncture – a Christian assessment ” in which he responds to a Christian checklist that he created to assess alternative medicine. This checklist is below with some of his responses along with my thoughts on them.

1. Do the claims made for it fit the facts?

There is no supportive evidence for claims of longevity and health of the ‘traditional Chinese medicine’ approach of acupuncture. However, there seems to be limited objective evidence in the ‘Western medical’ context for nausea and vomiting, back pain, and chemotherapy pain. In the article entitled “ The Status and Future of Acupuncture Clinical Research ” (J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Sep; 14(7): 871–881) that summarized the findings of an international conference of over 300 acupuncture researchers found little evidence for effectiveness of acupuncture for osteoarthritis, low back pain, for neurologic disorders, bowel disorders or labor issues. When effectiveness in lowering back pain was observed, the location of acupuncture points played limited role and placebo effect couldn’t be ruled out. There were some beneficial effects observed for pregnancy related conditions and nausea/vomiting.

2. Is there a rational scientific basis to the therapy?

I have come across some scientific studies that show the role of the neuroendocrine system such as endorphins in eliciting the therapeutic benefits of acupuncture. These studies are promising and suggest a rational therapeutic basis for acupuncture instead of the occult explanations if acupuncture is found effective.

3. Is it the methodology or is it the principle which is the effective element?

Dr Mann, the best-known British acupuncturist from the mid 1980’s, who puts no faith in Yin-Yang/chi believes the ancients stumbled upon something that worked empirically, needed an explanation for it, and therefore expressed their understanding in the terms of their own cultural beliefs. He sees the methodology as having limited but definite benefit and is skeptical about the necessity of the precise acupuncture points. While the American college of Physicians guidelines recommend non-pharmacologic methods for back pain, Josephine P. Briggs, MD, director emeritus of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health, and David Shurtleff, PhD, its acting director, stated, “ Nonspecific factors, including the effects of application of localized irritants and the effects of the patient-clinician interaction such as conditioning, positive patient expectations, and reduced patient vigilance, appear to account for much of the therapeutic benefits associated with acupuncture treatment ”. Cherkin DC et al (in Arch Intern Med. 2009 May 11;169(9):858-66) studied 638 patients and say “ Although acupuncture was found effective for chronic low back pain, tailoring needling sites to each patient and penetration of the skin appear to be unimportant in eliciting therapeutic benefits. These findings raise questions about acupuncture’s purported mechanisms of action. It remains unclear whether acupuncture or our simulated method of acupuncture provide physiologically important stimulation or represent placebo or nonspecific effects”. These studies indicate methodology of acupuncture that depends on acupuncture points can’t be supported scientifically.

4. What are the assumptions of the world view behind the therapy?

The principles of the chosen therapy must be explainable without invoking non-Christian worldview, and that seems to be possible with acupuncture. Here’s another example of alternative medical therapy where I apply this idea. Ex . I see no problem using natural herbs that have a direct action for specific indications as described in Ayurvedic medicine, because nature is created by God. However, if I was using natural herbs trying to follow the Ayurvedic philosophy of balancing the five elements in the body - earth, fire, water, air and ether (space), to increase life force, then it would go against my Christian worldview. In the second case, I would be possibly be subjecting myself to spiritual harm.

5. Does the therapy involve the occult?

Here one thing to note as @RoySujanto pointed out is that while the therapy might not involve the occult, the therapist might!

As General Secretary of CMF Dr. Ferguson shares an experience – “ I spoke once on the phone to a lay Christian, an ordinary person without any training or expertise in health matters. He told me how he had visited an acupuncturist in his village, and after half a dozen treatments he had indeed achieved relief of the chronic painful condition he’d first gone with. He put this down to the therapy (though I must say I wondered if the condition had got better anyway over the two month period in question!). But what he went on to say was concerning. He told me that while the acupuncturist was twiddling the needles he was always muttering something inaudible under his breath, in what sounded like an incantation. He noticed too that progressively over that two month period his own spiritual life had begun to dry up. He found it hard to pray, he lost interest in going to church, he lost some of his love for the Lord. Eventually he came to realise that perhaps he’d come under some harmful spiritual influence from the acupuncturist. Simple repentance and prayer was immediately completely effective in restoring his spiritual life .

6. Has the therapy stood the test of time?

In the case of acupuncture, probably!

Scriptural support for practices considered as abominations:

  • Deu 18:9-14 – sorcery, medium, spiritism, witchcraft
  • Is 47:12-15 - astrology
  • Lev 19:31- mediums, necromancers

Spiritual connection of Chinese acupuncture with astrology – In the article The untold story of acupunctureBen Kavoussi writes “In China, for instance, the numinous qi was believed to mirror the sun’s annual journey around the celestial sphere and to circulate in a network of 12 primary ‘jing luo’ ( 络) known in English as the ‘chinglo channels’, or simply ‘channels’ or ‘meridians’ (a term coined in 1939 by George Soulié de Morant, a French diplomat), which run from head to toes and interconnect approximately 360 primary points on the skin”.

Dr. Fergusson final recommendations -

There is evidence that acupuncture works for a few painful conditions and there are suggestions for a rational scientific basis such that no belief need be placed in Eastern religion. I do not believe acupuncture necessarily involves the occult at all, though as in all alternative treatments I advise great caution about the therapist. I believe that performed for a proper indication by a reliable practitioner (preferably medically qualified) acupuncture can be acceptable. I suggest traditionalists using it in other situations and for other indications should be avoided as of course should anything that might be occult.

Alternative to traditional acupuncture:

Western medical acupuncture like dry-needling , a therapeutic modality involving the insertion of fine needles using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, and the principles of evidence-based medicine may be something to consider…

Overall, my impression is that most studies do not give a strong evidence for the methodology of acupuncture. I don’t see a compelling reason to consider it as a form of treatment and that too if there is spiritual element involved. Thanks for your question!

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(Mary Beth Osborn) #7

Lakshmi,

Thank you, again, for your well researched and informative response to my question and also for the time you invested in your reply. I will be using this as a reference to share with others when this particular subject comes up, which I anticipate will be very soon.

Grace and peace,
Mary Beth

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(Lakshmi Mehta) #8

@MaryBeth1, You are welcome :slightly_smiling_face: Glad its helpful!