Thursday, December 28, 2006

Acupuncture and Christians

I had a conversation today with some people about Acupuncture, and so I thought it would be good to write in this blog about the implications of Acupuncture for Christians.
To know about Acupuncture you have to know about Qi, Yin and Yang, health and finally Acupuncture itself:

Behind Acupuncture is the idea that the human body has a life force in it called Qi (Chee). This lifeforce is described as:
'The Qi consists of all essential life activities which include the spiritual, emotional, mental and the physical aspects of life. A person's health is influenced by the flow of Qi in the body, in combination with the universal forces of Yin and Yang . ('

Qi travels through special pathways around the body called Meridians.

Yin and Yang:

Wikipedia defines these as:
'two primal opposing but complementary forces found in all things in the universe.'

For good health, a good flow of Qi is needed. If this is not the case then there is an imbalance of Yin and Yang, and illness will occur.

By putting needles into the skin where the mederian points are,
the Qi is able to circulate evenly and the balance of Yin and Yang is restored.

Is it scientific?
There is a popular belief that Acupuncture is in fact scientific and not spiritual. This has not been scientifically proven however and reminds me of the misinformation that used to be put out that it had been proved scientifically that homosexuals were born gay. This was in fact never proved scientifically (nor has it ever been proved for heterosexuals either). What has been happening recently however is that doctors have been recommending Acupuncture to clients, not because it is scientific, but because a number of people claim to have experienced pain relief from Acupuncture. Given its apparent lack of side effects, it would seem to some doctors to be a safer choice than drugs.
It should be noted that there is a lack of scientific evidence that Acupuncture can actually heal people, and it is mainly claimed to bring pain relief rather than healing. This pain relief may possibly be from the 'placebo effect', or could even be from the spiritual forces that the method seeks to employ. Scientists have come up with many conflicting theories on why Acupuncture sometimes works and given the age of Acupuncture a consensus may never be drawn (unless we all agree on the original idea behind it).

Was Acupuncture invented by God?
Some believe that God may have created the human body with these meridians in them, so that humans would be able to heal themselves using the technique of Acupuncture. If this was the case then why is this not mentioned in the Bible? Why do we instead find it in Taoism? Why was it not mentioned in the Torah where God had been so specific about how to treat mildew in the camp? According to it's adherents, Acupuncture has been around for 5,000 years. That would make it accessible to the people in Moses' time. Perhaps some of the Canaanites practised it? Perhaps they didn't! But what we do know is that God warned the Israelites
to not copy the practises of the heathen: 'You must not worship the LORD your God the way they worship.' Deuteronomy 12:4 NET Bible.

As Christians we base our beliefs on the Bible. This means that if scientists teach a theory of evolution that denies a creator God then we ignore this theory in favour of the Bible's account of creation. Interestingly a great number of scientists are leaving the 'Big Bang' theory arguing that there is no good scientific proof for it. We find a similar situation in the case of Acupuncture:
Scientists have been unable to prove it is a scientific method of healing or pain relief, in fact they have come up with many conflicting theories of why Acupuncture sometimes works. Even without this fact however, we Christians must base our beliefs and actions on the Bible rather than any scientist's or healer's opinion.

With the lack of scientific consensus it seems unwise for Christians to undergo Acupuncture when it's teachers teach that it is based on a belief of Yin and Yang and Qi: Apart from the obvious spiritual implications of being involved in such a practise, there is the command from God to not worship the way the heaven do, and to avoid the appearance of evil (1Thes 5:22).

For myself as someone who experiences chronic back pain, I believe that God is far more powerful than any Yin and Yang force, and that ultimately he can heal me if he desires to. I know that Biblicaly it is acceptable to see doctors (Paul used to take Luke the physician around with him), however I do not believe that I would be glorifying God by seeking Acupuncture when the basis of it appears to not be on physiology, but rather on Oriental mysticism.
At the end of the day our actions must glorify God,
'So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.'
1 Corinthians 10:31 NET

Peace D

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