JUNE 2004, AUGUST 2009, APRIL/OCT. 2012/APRIL/JULY 2013




[A summary of this article was carried in “Streams of Living Water”, Calcutta Catholic Charismatic Renewal, issues of August-September and October-November 2006]



News about acupuncture [Latin acus, needle; punctum, prick] hit the headlines when in 1971 a group of Americans witnessed surgery on the chest of a patient at the Peking Medical College in China. Apart from a dose of morphine injected at an acupuncture site near his jaw to act as a tranquillizer, the only anaesthetic used seemed to be a needle inserted into the man’s forearm and manipulated [moved up and down, to and fro] by an acupuncturist.

The patient was able to communicate with the surgeons and even eat some fruit! This incident prompted several American medical institutions into initiating acupuncture research programmes. Between 1976 and 1977 alone, more than 100 articles were written in medical journals to explain how the system worked.

Acupuncture had come to the West to stay.

Acupuncture is not only about pain alleviation. It is also used to heal a variety of ailments using different methods.

A laser beam is used in laser acupuncture, while the needles are connected to an electrical supply which produces vibrations in electro-acupuncture*. Ear acupuncturists claim that all the needle sticking points have their equivalents in the ears, thus making whole-body acupuncture unnecessary. Animals are also treated with acupuncture nowadays.

In acupressure, the pressure of the fingers substitutes for the needles. *see pages 1, 5, 6, 14, 17



The earliest textbook on acupuncture, dating from around 400 BC was the Nei Ching Su Wen or The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine.

“Acupuncture is a holistic system of healing, in that it treats the whole man, not just his present condition. It is a system in tune with Universe, and to understand it, we must understand something of Chinese philosophy,” says E.G. Bartlett, writing in favour of Alternative Therapies in his book
Healing Without Harm, Pathways to Alternative Medicine.

In ancient China, since dissection of the human body was prohibited for religious reasons, the Chinese had only a vague idea of anatomy. So, early Chinese medicine was more influenced by the astrological
concepts of the time. The qualities of five known ‘elements’ [water, fire, wood, earth and metal] were correlated to five solid organs of the body [like the heart] which corresponded with five hollow organs [e.g. the stomach], and were later allocated a planet and a season of the year. According to the theory of acupuncture, there are two more organs in the body unknown to Western man: the ‘Triple Warmer’ and the ‘Gate of Life’, both of them being Yang.

They believed that diseases were sent by gods and demons. The earliest doctors were shamans who performed rituals with incantations and spells, while sticking needles into the patient in an effort to expel the demons. Later the demon model was exchanged for an astrological one. The Emperor Huang Ti observed from a study of the stars that harmony and balance reign in the universe. He concluded that man is the microcosm and must correspond to the macrocosm. In other words, man’s physical and mental processes must be maintained in tune with each other. Further developments took place with the emergence of a philosophical school called Taoism. Taoism comes from Tao [meaning ‘the way’] which was believed to be the first principle, the universal cosmic energy behind the order of nature, preceding even God. It dates back to the philosopher Lao Tse. The Tao’s two faces are the Yin
and the Yang. Each has several attributes that are in opposition to the other, yet they are still one. Everything in the universe is either Yin or Yang. For example, good is Yang and evil is Yin. They do not oppose each other, but are simply two sides of the same coin. Similarly, Chinese medicine understands man as one in body and spirit, a complete unit that finds its ultimate harmony only in Tao. This is the doctrine of monism or ‘all is one’. Fundamental was the chi or life energy which permeated all things, and was all things, with its polar components of Yin and Yang, which constantly strive or interplay to achieve a harmonising balance. Disease in the human body was manifested due to imbalance in the chi or energy body of a person. Man can function properly only when his chi is in harmony with the cosmic energy of the universe. Acupuncture was performed to restore the balance of chi in the patient, arriving at a harmony between Yin and Yang, thus ensuring good health. 1.




Along with the use of meditative techniques, Taoists sought for the ultimate wholeness, a surpassing of the human condition, in the prize of immortality. Some modern Western acupuncturists downplay or ignore its Taoist underpinnings, while others adopt the use of the pendulum
and other practices that Christians consider occult.



The seat of the chi is said to be the stomach. The body receives its chi from the air through the respiratory system which is connected to the large intestine. The stomach filters out the chi, passes it to the spleen and through a complex system of major [traditionally there are 14] and minor meridians, to the entire body.

Some acupressurists use their fingers to manipulate the abdomen in order to release congested chi in the stomach.

The number of acupuncture points in the body, located along the extremities of the meridians near its surface, may be a few hundred [traditionally there were 365] or a few thousand depending on the acupuncturist you select, and the chart he uses. The needles are made of gold, silver or steel and vary in length between 1.5 and 7 inches.

They are used in different combinations, for different periods of time, heated or cold, to solve different health problems.

If the Yin is too strong, a gold needle is inserted in the appropriate place to strengthen the Yang.

Twisting the needle clockwise will stimulate Yang, and vice versa. If the Yang is too strong, a silver needle is used.

But there are no fixed procedures. Methods of diagnosis also vary among practitioners.

Needles are not the only form of treatment used in acupuncture. Moxabustion uses burning of moxa leaves close to the body, Cupping employs bamboo cups to remove negative chi, and Cutaneous Acupuncture uses ‘plum blossom’ or ‘seven-star’ needles that are tapped on the skin surface and do not penetrate deep.

Also, through listening to the body’s energy vibrations and smelling to detect the body’s subtle aromas, acupuncturists may locate the centre of the Yin/Yang imbalance.

One tool is the pulse diagnosis, which is not simply the rate of the heartbeat, but an indication of the vibrations of the patient’s cosmic energy, giving insight into his condition. The left and right hand pulses [each wrist is said to have six], and either superficial or stronger pressures provided details of the different individual body organs. The procedure is said to bring the subconscious of the patient and healer in touch with each other.

Since acupuncture is a holistic treatment, during diagnosis one may be questioned regarding one’s lifestyle, fears and phobias etc., to determine the exact procedure.



Acupuncture treatment is on offer for every conceivable illness including depression and alcohol or narcotic addiction, as well as to augment anaesthesia during surgery. But there is no documentation to show that acupuncture was, at any time, the sole agent of anaesthesia. Surgery is always started with a short period of general anaesthesia.

After a period of time, the patient regains partial consciousness, but continues to be pain-free. Should he indicate pain, more analgesics are added to the intravenous infusion. Neurophysiologists say that what is actually taking place is an unconscious distraction from pain through acupuncture. This is why we rub our shin after we collide with something: we follow a natural instinct to exert pressure on the location to alleviate the pain-reaction in our brain.

But this did not explain all the effects of acupuncture.

Tests with needle-stimulation on mice revealed the secretion of pain–reducing substances in their brains.

These endorphins, which act like morphine, a pain-killer, are produced in the human brain as a reaction to pain.

Further research showed that when a patient swallows a placebo, a fake medication which is administered as a medicine, the brain releases endorphins into the body. It just required that the patient believed that he had taken a pain-killer.

The sensation of pain returned after the injection of a drug that blocks the effect of the endorphins.

Pain conditions are also greatly influenced by psychological factors.

There might well be some truth in the conclusion of some researchers who trace acupuncture back to hypnosis and the power of suggestion. Patients of acupuncture display a rock-like faith in the method, and are exposed to intensive psychic disciplining before the actual sessions begin.

An exhaustive research concluded that acupuncture was, at best, a powerful placebo: The Clinical Journal of Pain, June 1991, as referred by John Ankerberg and John Weldon in The Facts on
Holistic Health and the New Medicine”.

They add: “Further, psychic healing may be deliberately or inadvertently or deliberately engaged through the practice of attempting to regulate or channel psychic energies. Needle stimulation has produced physical complications such as infection and nerve damage.”



In 1822, after Western concepts of healing reached China, the Great Imperial Medical Board issued a ban on acupuncture, and again the practice was banned by the Kuomintang government in 1929. Largely because of lack of trained physicians, the ancient practice survived and was revived by Mao’s communist regime.

Only about 10% of all surgery in China was performed with acupuncture according to the 1976 U.S. National Academy of Sciences report, and even then it was combined with Western methods of anaesthesia.

According to a 1980 German medical review, Chinese doctors admitted in the Beijing Wenhui Bao newspaper that acupuncture had been used as a propaganda tool during the Cultural Revolution, performances being staged to impress Westerners. It said that patients did not dare to scream although they experienced pain. 2.




Research on volunteers in Toronto has shown that needle-stimulation of ‘wrong’ points led to the same pain-relieving effect. Others concluded that it takes less analgesic to produce freedom from pain than was assumed before.

Not only has acupuncture failed to present scientific evidence, but science itself has failed to validate it.

No disease which is caused by organic change can be influenced by acupuncture despite the claims of its proponents, as has been repeatedly confirmed in controlled studies. In the case of functional diseases [arthritis, migraines etc.,] there is success, but because of the factors discussed earlier. But even here, the success rate is about one in three patients, and is temporary. Since pain can be an indication that something is seriously amiss and requiring medical attention, it may prove dangerous to subdue the pain through acupuncture.



“The Indian Medical Council Act 1956 recognizes seven fields of medicine- allopathy, ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, unani, siddha and yoga.

There are around 106 alternative forms of medicine, like reiki, acupuncture and pranic healing which are not recognised under the law. Anyone who practices these by conducting surgery, physically examining a patient or giving prescriptions is liable to face legal action,” The Asian Age, July 20, 2003.


One has to differentiate between acupuncture offered in a hospital setting purely as an anaesthetic, and acupuncture with an association with occult energy philosophies for the cure of diseases by holistic health practitioners.

The popularisation of New Age ideologies has created a lush culture medium for numerous occult therapies, and increasingly, practitioners of acupuncture are not even bothering to explain it scientifically, but in other terms :

*“The acupuncture points are the points where Western medicine, Chinese medicine and Indian yoga meet each other,” according to Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama, director of the Institute for Religious Psychology, Tokyo. He is not wrong. The chi and meridians of acupuncture are the Taoist equivalent of the prana, chakras and nadis of yoga.

“It is possible to induce mind changes by stimulating the ear, and to manipulate man’s soul,” says ear-acupuncturist C. Schnorrenberger, while Marc Duke claims, “People with whatever inner conflicts, I simply make them free,” Acupuncture, 1972.

*“Mohan of the Sujok Academy of Acupuncture in Chennai, an allopath, practices Sujok, the Korean system of
,” The Hindu Folio, May 1999.

*The true nature of these therapies is revealed in a book The Healing Touch, Shiatsu and Acupressure by Dolores Rodriguez in which she recounts her ‘search for integral and holistic harmony’ through the study of ‘energy‘, kinesiology, reiki, acupuncture, acupressure
and shiatsu
, ending at the “Lotus Feet” of Sai Baba.

The book is dedicated to ‘Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and also to the form of Shirdi Sai Baba’.

“Everything in the universe”, she says, “is vibration. It is also the first sound ‘OM‘.”

*An advertisement in Chennai’s Purusai Times describes the Chinese treatment of acupuncture as ‘a simple way of energy correction’ and ‘a valuable method of holistic healing.’

*“For the last several decades, Indian scientists have looked at the close association of mantras and chakras
with acupuncture sites. Meridians often correspond to nadis, and both are influenced by breath… yoga and intonations,” The Hindu. “Transmission of power as manifest in reiki, acupressure and acupuncture is known to India since time immemorial,” The Hindu, July 8, 2003.

*“Other practices that are gaining popularity are reiki, pranic healing, acupuncture and touch therapy.

These practices emphasise on the life force present within the individual that help in the healing process,”

Focus- Alternatives in Holistic Healing, The Hindu, June 14, 2000.

*Take the book titled Reiki, Universal Life Energy by Bodo J. Baginski and Shalila Sharamon. Shalila is an expert in ‘holistic astrology‘. Bodo was initiated at the world’s premier New Age commune
Findhorn and is trained in various alternative therapeutical practices. “Other practitioners we know of use Reiki with acupuncture, acupressure, aromatherapy, ayurveda, Bach Flower Remedies, colour therapy, homoeopathy, shiatsu, tai chi etc.,” say Shalila and Bodo. Their book is illustrated by Alois Hanslian who is described as teaching ‘New Age Art.” The artist’s conception of the earth [in a drawing on page 68] is that of the landmass as a single continent, the ‘one-world order’ of the New Age Movement. They frequently refer to prominent New Agers Marilyn Ferguson, Fritjof Capra and Rupert Sheldrake, other New Age practices like kinesiology, Touch for Health, Kirlian photography, Transcendental Meditation, Bach Flower Remedies, and quote from the works of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, C.W. Leadbeater [occultist, Theosophist and 33rd degree Freemason], and the Tao Te Ching.

*“Although considered new to modern medicine, most of the popular forms of ‘alternative therapies’ are actually ancient healing practices that have traditional cultures alive and well for centuries. They include Chinese medicine, herbalism,
acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine, shamanism, energy healing, yoga, meditation and nutritional therapy… Chinese medicine includes herbalism and acupuncture in restoring balance to body, mind and spirit” [The Greening of Medicine, The Hindu Folio, June 1998].

*Total Fitness for Life Health Care Services at Chennai offers the entire range of alternate [sic] medical systems- ayurveda, herbal medicines, yoga, homeopathy, pranic healing,
etc. [Sources & Ability January- March 1999]. 3.



In this adaptation, pressure, or as the proponents claim, the transmission of energy, is applied to the acu-points with the finger tips. Needles are not used.

*“New Life Reiki Master Dr. P.S. Lalitha for all ailments through reiki, crystal pranic healing, acupressure, acupuncture and magnetotherapy.” Advertisement, Mylapore Times, October 17-23, 1998.

*The Acupuncture Foundation Research Centre in Coimbatore offers ayurveda, homoeopathy, magnet and pyramid therapies etc. with acupressure
: My Doctor, February 1996.

*“At Delhi’s giant Apollo Hospital’s… holistic medicine centre… the ancient medical system of acupuncture
and acupressure is going mainstream for the first time in India,” India Today, July 28, 1997.

*Other hospitals have followed suit. The Devaki Hospital in Chennai has opened a centre that “offers treatment through alternative medicines like yoga, ayurveda, reiki, pranic healing, acupuncture, homeopathy and
music therapy by experts from the respective fields,” Mylapore Times, August 12-18, 2000.

*The Non-Surgical Orthopaedic and Rheumatology Centre in Chennai offers acupuncture, acupressure, magnetotherapy etc., Mylapore Times, December 13-19, 1997.

*In a book review of ‘Mind Body Soul: The Bodyshop Book of Wellbeing’, “Alternative therapies- acupuncture, massage techniques (reflexology)… also find place,” Express Magazine, December 6, 1998.

*Teegarden, a yoga and acupressure expert for seven years says that ‘The Chinese meridian system was arrived at… by way of meditation, yoga and paraclinical (i.e. occult) observation’. He also notes that many forms of acupressure like yogic acupressure (acu yoga) are related to, or arrived at through occult meditative means and may depend upon a psychic ability more than scientific knowledge,” The Acupressure News, Summer 1978.

*The India Today of July 10, 2000 reports that “selling ‘spirit-tools‘ is big business, from Chinese wind chimes, crystals and pyramids to magnets, do-it-yourself acupressure kits, meditation cushions, yoga mats and ‘energized candles’.”

*The Le Mirage Health and Fitness Club at the Le Royal Meridien in Chennai offers ayurvedic massage with yoga lessons, aromatherapy and shiatsu [Economic Times April 24, 2004].

*The Sanjeevani Yoga Ayurveda Foundation, Chennai has now started an aromatherapy programme which includes yoga, ayurveda, pranic cleansing, homeopathy, acupressure and
osteopathy. [Mylapore Times (MT) March 7-13, 1998]. At Sanjeevani “there are plans to start consultancy services in complementary therapies like reiki, self-hypnosis, Transactional Analysis, Neuro Linguistic Programming, astro diagnosis and alfa music” [MT July 1997].



In Japanese, shi means ‘finger’ and atsu is ‘pressure’. Hence shiatsu, finger pressure, is the Japanese version of acupressure
which came there from China in the 6th century, and was originally known as anma.

The Yang and Yin organs are here called Zang and Fu. The Japanese equivalent of chi, is ki. In shiatsu the acupoints, which are called tsubos, are pressed not only to stimulate ki but also to diagnose the presence of disease, in the belief that when ki is blocked in an acupoint, it becomes sensitive to pressure.

“Shiatsu is simply a way of neutralising energy patterns in the body that are out of alignment” [The Hindu May 1999].



Another relative of the acu family is Reflexology, also known as Zone Therapy, or ‘compression massage’.

It is a technique of diagnosis and treatment in which certain areas of the body, particularly the feet, are massaged to alleviate pain or other symptoms in the organs of the body. Of Chinese and ancient Egyptian origin, it was introduced to the West in the 1920s by Dr. William Fitzgerald, an American ENT specialist. Along with Ms. Eunice Ingham, who mapped out the sensitive areas on the feet, he applied ten zones or energy channels to the body, hence ‘Zone Therapy‘.

The zones do not correspond to the meridians of the Chinese system. A person’s ‘vital energy‘ is said to flow along these zones, ending in the hands and feet. Thus, when pain is experienced in one part of the body, it could be relieved by applying pressure elsewhere in the body, within the same zone.

Recent reflexologists have concentrated mainly on the feet, though reflexes exist in the hands too.

Some reflexologists dismiss suggestions of any connections to the chi and yin/yang of acupressure. They claim that they are breaking up and dispersing ‘impurities in the blood’ or ‘crystals’ which are causing congestion and interfering with the blood circulation. The crystals settle in the soles of the feet where reflexologists claim to be able to feel them. Others link their work with their belief in the existence in man of an etheric body, and they are bringing about a state of harmony between the physical and the etheric body.

The American Medical Association calls reflexology simply “a cult”: Der Spiegel, Fussmassage, 1979.


Acupuncture- A Brief Introduction


by Jeffrey A. Singer

In this paper I will be dealing with the ancient medical art of Acupuncture. Today in most western cultures it is considered a “new alternative” medicine. 4.






In reality Acupuncture (and its related Moxibustion) are practiced medical treatments that are over 5,000 years old. Very basically, Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles, (sometimes in conjunction with electrical stimulus), on the body’s surface, in order to influence physiological functioning of the body.

Acupuncture can also be used in conjunction with heat produced by burning specific herbs, this is called Moxibustion. In addition, a non-invasive method of massage therapy, called Acupressure, can also be effective.

The first record of Acupuncture is found in the 4,700 year old Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine). This is said to be the oldest medical textbook in the world. It is said to have been written down from even earlier theories by Shen Nung, the father of Chinese Medicine. Shen Nung documented theories about circulation, pulse, and the heart over 4,000 years before European medicine had any concept about them.

As the basis of Acupuncture, Shen Nung theorized that the body had an energy force running throughout it. This energy force is known as Qi (roughly pronounced Chee). 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. (I will discuss Yin and Yang a little later). If the flow of Qi is insufficient, unbalanced or interrupted, Yin and Yang become unbalanced, and illness may occur. Qi travels throughout the body along “Meridians” or special pathways. The Meridians, (or Channels), are the same on both sides of the body (paired). There are fourteen main meridians running vertically up and down the surface of the body. Out of these, there are twelve organ Meridians in each half of the body (remember they are in pairs). There are also two unpaired midline Meridians. There will be a diagram of Acupuncture points for treating diseases of the Meridians at the end of the digestive system paper. (See Appendix 1). The acupuncture points are specific locations where the Meridians come to the surface of the skin, and are easily accessible by “needling,” Moxibustion, and Acupressure. The connections between them ensure that there is an even circulation of Qi, a balance between Yin and Yang.

Energy constantly flows up and down these pathways. When pathways become obstructed, deficient, excessive, or just unbalanced, Yin and Yang are said to be thrown out of balance. This causes illness. Acupuncture is said to restore the balance.

Yin and Yang is an important theory in the discussion of Acupuncture treatment, in relation to the Chinese theory of body systems. As stated earlier Qi is an energy force that runs throughout the body. In addition, Qi is also prevalent throughout nature as well. Qi is comprised of two parts, Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are opposite forces, that when balanced, work together. Any upset in the balance will result in natural calamities, in nature; and disease in humans. Yin is signified by female attributes, passive, dark, cold, moist, that which moves medially, and deficient of Yang. Yang is signified by male attributes, light, active, warm, dry, that which moves laterally, and deficient of Yin. Nothing is completely Yin or Yang. The most striking example of this is man himself. A man is the combination of his mother (Yin) and his father (Yang). He contains qualities of both: This is the universal symbol describing the constant flow of yin and yang forces. You’ll notice that within yin, there is Yang, and within Yang, there is the genesis of Yin. Whether or not you believe in Taoist philosophy, (which all this is based on), one thing is indisputable: Acupuncture works.

Acupuncturists can use as many as nine types of Acupuncture needles, though only six are commonly used today. These needles vary in length, width of shaft, and shape of head. Today, most needles are disposable. They are used once and discarded in accordance with medical biohazard regulations and guidelines. There are a few different precise methods by which Acupuncturists insert needles. Points can be needled anywhere in the range of 15 degrees to 90 degrees relative to the skin surface, depending on the treatment called for. In most cases, a sensation, felt by the patient, is desired. This sensation, which is not pain, is called deqi (pronounced dah-chee). The following techniques are some which may be used by an Acupuncturist immediately following insertion: Raising and Thrusting, Twirling or Rotation, Combination of Raising/Thrusting and Rotation, Plucking, Scraping (vibrations sent through the needle), and Trembling (another vibration technique). Once again, techniques are carefully chosen based on the ailment.

There are a few related procedures that fall into the range of Acupuncture treatments. The first is Electro-Acupuncture. This is the using of very small electrical impulses through the Acupuncture needles. This method is generally used for analgesia (pain relief or prevention). The amount of power used is only a few micro amperes, but the frequency of the current can vary from 5 to 2,000 Hz. The higher frequencies are generally used for surgery (usually abdominal), and the lower frequencies for general pain relief. The first reported successful use of Electro-Acupuncture was in 1958 in China for a tonsillectomy. Today, it is a common method of surgical analgesia used in China. Other methods for stimulating Acupuncture points have used Lasers and sound waves (Sonopuncture). A very commonly used treatment in the United States is Auriculotherapy or Ear Acupuncture. The theory is that since the ear has a rich nerve and blood supply, it would have connections all over the body. For this reason, the ear has many Acupuncture points which correspond to many parts and organs of the body. Auricular Acupuncture has been successful in treating problems ranging from obesity to alcoholism, to drug addiction. There are numerous studies either completed, or currently going on which affirms Auricular Acupuncture’s effectiveness. (These will be mentioned in detail later on in the paper.)

Another popular treatment method is Moxibustion, which is the treatment of diseases by applying heat to Acupuncture points. Acupuncture and Moxibustion are considered complimentary forms of treatment, and are commonly used together.






Moxibustion is used for ailments such as bronchial asthma, bronchitis, certain types of paralysis, and arthritic disorders.

Cupping is another type of treatment. This is a method of stimulating Acupuncture points by applying suction through a metal, wood or glass jar, in which a partial vacuum has been created. This technique produces blood congestion at the site, and therefore stimulates it. Cupping is used for low backache, sprains, soft tissue injuries, and helping relieve fluid from the lungs in chronic bronchitis.

One of the most popular alternatives to Acupuncture is Acupressure. This is simply Acupuncture without needles. Stimulation of the Acupuncture points is performed with the fingers or an instrument with a hard ball shaped head. Another variation of Acupressure is Reflexology (also called Zone Therapy). This is where the soles of the feet and the posterio-inferior regions of the ankle joints are stimulated. Many diseases of the internal organs can be treated in this manner.

The question arises, how does Acupuncture work? Scientists have no real answer to this; as you know many of the workings of the body are still a mystery. There are a few prevailing theories.

By some unknown process, Acupuncture raises levels of triglycerides, specific hormones, prostaglandins, white blood counts, gamma globulins, opsonins, and overall anti-body levels. This is called the “Augmentation of Immunity” Theory.

The “Endorphin” Theory states that Acupuncture stimulates the secretions of endorphins in the body (specifically Enkaphalins).

The “Neurotransmitter” Theory states that certain neurotransmitter levels (such as Seratonin and Noradrenaline) are affected by Acupuncture.

“Circulatory” Theory: this states that Acupuncture has the effect of constricting or dilating blood vessels. This may be caused by the body’s release of Vasodilaters (such as Histamine), in response to Acupuncture.

One of the most popular theories is the “Gate Control” Theory. According to this theory, the perception of pain is controlled by a part of the nervous system which regulates the impulse, which will later be interpreted as pain. This part of the nervous system is called the “Gate.” If the gate is hit with too many impulses, it becomes overwhelmed, and it closes. This prevents some of the impulses from getting through. The first gates to close would be the ones that are the smallest. The nerve fibers that carry the impulses of pain are rather small nerve fibers called “C” fibers. These are the gates that close during Acupuncture.

In the related “Motor Gate” Theory, some forms of paralysis can be overcome by Acupuncture. This is done by reopening a “stuck” gate, which is connected to an Anterior Horn cell. The gate, when closed by a disease, stops motor impulses from reaching muscles. This theory was first stated by Professor Jayasuriya in 1977. In it he goes on to say:

“…one of the factors contributing to motor recovery is almost certainly the activation of spindle cells. They are stimulated by Gamma motor neurons. If Acupuncture stimulates the Gamma motor neurons, the discharge causes the contraction of Intrafusal Muscle fibers. This activates the Spindle cells, in the same way as muscle stretching. This will bring about muscle contraction.”

There are many diseases that can be treated successfully by Acupuncture or its related treatments. The most common ailments currently being treated are: lower backache, Cervical Spondylosis, Condylitis, Arthritic Conditions,
Headaches of all kinds (including migraine), Allergic Reactions, general and specific use for Analgesia (including surgery) and relief of muscles spasms. There have also been clinical trials in the use of Acupuncture in treating anxiety disorders and depression. Likewise, very high success rates have been found in treating addictions to alcohol, tobacco (nicotine) and “hard’ drugs. Acupuncture can rid the body of the physical dependency, but can not rid the mind of the habit (psychological dependency). For this reason, Acupuncture treatment of addictions has not been fully successful.

Case Studies

Obviously, especially for a paper such as this, my research would not be complete without backing it up with some case studies. Here they are.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has sponsored three studies examining the effectiveness of Acupuncture for the treatment of substance abuse.

The first was at the Lincoln Medical Center in Bronx, NYC, New York. It was headed by Dr. Douglas Lipton, and completed in 1991. This study used Auricular Acupuncture on Crack Cocaine users. The study was split into groups, one getting the correct Acupuncture treatments, the other getting “placebo” Acupuncture (needles placed in the “wrong” spots). Urinalysis results showed that the subjects receiving the correct treatments had lowered their use of the drug, in as little as two weeks. This was verified by testing for cocaine metabolite levels. However, the reduction was not as significant as had been anticipated. *Note that no other type of treatment, such as counseling as given.

In two other studies currently going on, (the first by Dr. Janet Konefal of Miami School of Medicine; and the other by Dr. Milton Bullock at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis), counseling combined with acupuncture is being tested. The preliminary results have been quite promising.

Additional studies, too numerous to mention here have proven the effectiveness of Acupuncture therapy in Nicotine addiction, (look in Bibliography for some case citings).

Between 1971 and 1972 a series of doctors (Frank Z. Warren: New York University Medical Center; Pang L. Man and Calvin H. Chen: Northville State Hospital, Northville, Michigan), conducted seven surgeries at both Northville State Hospital and at Albert Einstein Medical Center. They used both standard Acupuncture and Electro-Acupuncture techniques.





They found that in all cases of surgery, 6 invasive and 1 dental, these acupuncture treatments were successful in stopping the pain of surgery without additional anesthetics. In only one case (a repair of an inguinal hernia) did the patient complain of “discomfort;” and only in one additional case did a patient (the same one) complain of post-operative pain.

In conclusion, I feel that Acupuncture should be considered a valid form of treatment alongside, not only other “alternative” forms of treatment, but also along side mainstream medicine. More and more insurance companies are discovering the cost effectiveness of Acupuncture. Unfortunately, many insurance companies still do not cover Acupuncture therapy, with the exception of Drug Addiction treatments; and then only if other therapies have been unsuccessful, or as part of another program. Part of the reason for this is that as of the writing of this paper, the Food and drug Administration classifies Acupuncture needles as “investigational” devices.

However, since this paper was written, the FDA has reclassified acupuncture needles and so, now, one great block to insurance coverage has been removed.

Acupuncture Doctors are licensed independently in most states while some states require you to be a Medical Doctor to practice Acupuncture.

Acupuncture schools are federally accredited by the ACAOM (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). This accreditation allows the school to offer federal guaranteed student loans.


Baxi, Dr. Nilesh and Dr.CH Asrani.
Speaking of: Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture. New Delhi, India: Sterling Publishers Private Ltd, 1986.

Duke, Marc. Acupuncture.
New York: Pyramid House Books, 1972.

Holden, Constance.
“Acupuncture: Stuck on the Fringe.” Science, May 6, 1994, pg 770.

Lever, Dr. Ruth.
Acupuncture For Everyone. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, Ltd, 1987.

Lipner, Maxine.
“Different Strokes.” Women’s Sports and Fitness, May/June, 1993, pg 31, 32, 85.

Moss, Dr. Louis.
Acupuncture And You: A New Approach To Treatment Based On The Ancient Method of Healing. London, England: Elek Publishers, 1972.

Nightingale, Michael.
The Healing Power of Acupuncture. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc, 1986.

Ponce, Pedro E.
“Eastern Medicine Collides with Western Regulations at Mass. Acupuncture School.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 27, 1993, pg A32.

Saslow, Linda.
“Scores of Students Take Up Acupuncture at Center in Syosset.” New York Times, November 6, 1994.

Warren, Dr. Frank Z.
Handbook of Medical Acupuncture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1976.

Case Studies

Dr. Douglas Lipton: “Lincoln Clinic Study”; Dr. Janet Konefal: “Miami Study”; Dr. Milton Bullock: “Hennepin County Study.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Office of Human Services, AM, Volume 1, Number 3, January, 1994.

Brewington, Vincent, et al.
“Acupuncture as a Detoxification Treatment: An Analysis of Controlled Research.” Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Volume 11, Number 4, 1994, pg 289-307.

Professor Jayasuriya:
Paper for the 5th World Congress of Acupuncture; 1977: Tokyo, Japan

Special Thanks To:

Dr. Thomas Barba, Barba Chiropractic Clinic; Columbus, Ohio.

Nigel Dawes,
Co-Director of the School for Oriental Medicine; Syosset, New York.

Dr. Gerard O’Grady; Lake Grove, New York…
for all your help and information.



*How does reflexology work?
No one really knows… How reflexology works is as puzzling as some of the other therapies; the fact that it does work in some cases is indisputable… The fact that neither the meridians nor Yin and Yang, nor even chi itself can be proved to exist
is irrelevant when the system of healing based on these concepts has worked for over 6000 years and still works today”: Bartlett in Healing Without Harm, Pathways to Alternative Medicine

*“As yet, no evidence has been found to substantiate the existence of meridians”: Acupuncture, Brockhampton Guide to
Alternative Medicine.

*Angela Hicks, joint-principal of the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in Reading, England, author of Principles of
Chinese Medicine and practitioner for over 20 years admits, in her 1999 book Principles of Acupuncture [which is 130 pages of acupuncture promotion] confesses, “No one is able to say exactly how

*The question arises, how does Acupuncture work? Scientists have no real answer to this” says Jeffrey A. Singer in the above article.



The New Age therapists themselves admit that they cannot explain why the practices ‘work’ and that science cannot substantiate the claims of the existence of the meridians and chi. What do Christian writers on New Age themes say?

*Says Kurt Koch in Occult ABC, “It is a fact of experience that acupuncture is much more successful with psychic doctors and psychic patients than with those who are not psychic.”

is a version of acupuncture, and acupressure
is rooted in the same philosophy. 7.





It involves pressure rather than needles, and so finds favour among the squeamish. Thus, it is more acceptable, but equally
devastating in its spiritual side-effects
… [The use of Bach Flower Remedies encourages other New Age] therapies such as acupuncture, herbalism and homoeopathy“: Understanding Alternative Medicine, Health Care in the New Age, by Roy Livesey, New Wine Press, 1988, pages 56-57, 174. *see pages 5, 6, 7, 31, 32

*“Although never to be understood, acupuncture… has been pretty well exposed by Christian writers. Christians have to steer well clear of its occult influence“: Beware Alternative Medicine- the Christian View, Roy Livesey, Bury House Christian Books, 1983. Livesey divides the field into four main categories: The first are the “So-called physical therapies: acupuncture and acupressure, reflexology, t’ai chi, yoga, shiatsu, anthroposophical medicine, Bach flower remedies, chiropractic, etc… Therapies on offer alongside the ‘cosmetic camouflage’, the ‘beauty therapy’ and the ‘simple food bar’ will in these days include acupuncture, reflexology, yoga and all the rest!”

*“Therapists who treat problems with needles are in the twilight zone of medicine, and usually are working from a mystical perspective… Sonopuncture is the manipulation of ‘body energy’ by sound rather than needles. The acupuncture philosophy undergirds it, and the only difference is that tuning forks are used in the place of needles… Historically, revelation of a non-physical anatomy came through psychic means (whether acupuncture
meridians, nadis, yogic chakras etc
.”: Occult Shock and
Psychic Forces, John Weldon and Clifford Wilson Ph.D.

*Randall N. Baer is a former New Ager who produced several New Age audio cassettes and books. He is now a Christian, and the author of Inside the New Age Nightmare, Huntingdon House, 1989. On page 32 of this book, he includes acupuncture, use of occult whistles, group channeling and UFO contact sessions, etc. in “the smorgasbord of New Age topics” that were on the agenda of presentations at his New Age Awareness Center in New Mexico.

*“‘It is absolutely necessary that acupuncturists follow the theories of ancient Chinese medicine if they want to see success. If they disregard these ancient theories, then they can only practise an unspecific stimulation therapy at best,’ says acupuncture specialist Dr. C. Schnorrenberger. Similar statements have been made by modern Taoist philosopher George Ohsawa, the father of Macrobiotics.* He expressly states that oriental meditation cannot be separated from its philosophical underpinnings. Many parapsychologists and psychics therefore regard
as a proof of their occult teachings… Christian writers on New Age medicine… insist that
reflexology has the same roots as acupuncture… Under the cloak of science, and the claim to restore health, a subcutaneous dose of Eastern philosophy is surreptitiously injected into the patient,” warns Samuel Pfeiffer, MD in Healing at any Price? *see pages 10, 15

*“[Chinese medicine is] but a part of philosophy and religion, both of which propounded oneness with nature i.e. the universe” [Historian Ilza Veith in his translation of the Nei Ching, the Yellow Emperor’s Classic…] “Chinese medicine is the child of Chinese religion and both have the same ingredients: the Tao, yin and yang, the universal energy chi, and the five elements… Zone therapy and reflexology assume connections between different parts of the body which bear no relation to known neurological pathways. An invisible flow is assumed here, as in many other holistic therapies… Not only does classical acupuncture come with its metaphysical baggage intact, but its promoters actively proclaim its religious foundations and implications as well”: New Age Medicine, A Christian Perspective on Holistic Health, Paul C. Reisser, MD., Teri Reisser and John Weldon.

*“Some scientists have claimed that acupuncture is effective, and that it works on the basis of as yet unknown principles. But the latest scientific research is not supportive; studies have yet to support acupuncture’s effectiveness… When Western scientists attempt to separate acupuncture from its underlying occultic philosophy or practice and merely engage in an unspecific needle stimulation, these methods tend to lose their efficacy…

Because diagnosis and treatment can be ineffective, the possibility of misdiagnosis of a serious illness also exists… Reflexology is a massage that breaks up so-called crystalline deposits that presumably obstruct pranic energy flow… At best, it gives a good massage. At worst, it can be a form of psychic development
channeling. Medically, it is useless”: The Facts on
Holistic Health and the New Medicine, John Ankerberg and John Weldon.



Of Medicine, Magic, and Original Sin
by Brian J. Kopp, DPM., The Wanderer, March 8, 2001,

As man’s modern knowledge fails to fulfil its promise of solutions for all the world’s ills, the public is turning, en masse, to alternatives to mainstream medicine and science. If penicillin fails, an herb may help. If chemotherapy fails, acupuncture
and meditation and vegetarian diets are embraced. Much of this “new” medicine comes from the “old” religions. American Indian and Chinese herbology, eastern religious meditation techniques, vegetarian Hindu diets, acupuncture, and a myriad other old healing techniques are “rediscovered,” and advanced as an alternative for the failure of modern science to cure all the suffering in the world.  

Originally adapted from Hypnosis and the Christian,
Martin & Deidre Bobgan, Bethany House Publishers, 1984, 61 pages. The book was revised and reissued in 2001 as Hypnosis: Medical, Scientific, or Occultic? :

No one knows exactly how hypnosis “works,” other than the obvious “placebo effect” — the successful use of “false feedback” in the same manner that feedback is used in the occult techniques common to
acupuncture, biofeedback, and psychotherapy.



2. Acupuncture for Everyone
by Dr. Ruth Lever

[Source Unknown] What is acupuncture? Most Americans have heard of it.

Many have received acupuncture treatment for a variety of ailments, or to help stop smoking or lose weight. The people I ask generally assume it has something to do with the nervous system: A needle is inserted into a nerve path-way, which interrupts pain or alters the flow of electro-chemical energy. That, however, is not what acupuncture is.

Let’s hear it from an acupuncturist, Dr. Ruth Lever, author of Acupuncture for Everyone:

Acupuncture . . . is a single therapy, using the insertion of needles into the skin to treat a variety of ailments which might be treated by Western doctors with drugs or surgery. . . .

The reason it is able to treat all ailments in the same way is because it sees them as stemming from the same cause—a disruption to the energy flow or vital force of the body (p. 11).

Well, our first question should be: “What is the vital force that acupuncture interrupts?” Dr. Lever confirms that it is the Oriental concept of Chi (pronounced chee): The Chinese see the whole functioning of the body and mind as being dependent on the normal flow of body energy, or life force, which they call Chi (pp. 42—43).

Chi, Dr. Lever says, is a “universal energy which surrounds and pervades everything.” Furthermore, “My Chi is not distinct from your Chi.” Chi is like light energy or radio waves, but it cannot be seen or felt. And it does not disappear at death: “There is a constant interchange between the Chi of the body and the Chi of the environment” (p. 43). Lever says the Chi force is related to the Eastern concept of Yin and Yang. Chi circulates throughout the body along “meridians.” These meridians cannot be located physically, nor identified electronically.

The description of the vital force of the body sounds very much like the soul or the spirit. In fact, the Oriental originators of acupuncture declared Chi to be the spiritual essence of not only the body, but the universe.

It is obvious that the simplest exploration of acupuncture demonstrates that it is a spiritual, not a physical phenomenon.

If it is a spiritual phenomenon, where is the Scripture sanctioning it? Where is the protection of the blood of Christ in it?

Those involved in acupuncture are involved in spiritual manipulation of the body. That is the essence of the occult.

There is not, in acupuncture, even the pretense of legitimate science.

Many people ask about acupressure
). It is precisely the same as acupuncture without the needles, using the same spiritual “meridians.”


3. Reiki: Healing with the Force
by Marcia Montenegro

HSI Issue #60
February 27, 2005 Holy Spirit Interactive: New Age

All energy healing techniques, such as Therapeutic Touch, Touch for Health, Polarity, Cleansing or Smoothing the Aura, and methods claiming to balance or unblock the chi or prana (a divine force believed to be taken in by the breath), such as Ayurveda,
Acupuncture, Acupressure, Shiatsu, chi kung (also spelled qi gong), and much of Traditional Chinese Medicine, are based on similar principles of the life force and manipulation of energy as Reiki is. Some of these systems, such as acupuncture, have engendered biological theories on how they work.

Some may be combined with scientific treatments. Yet the basic principles of these methods assert that healing comes through balancing, unblocking, manipulating and/or channeling an energy or universal life force which replaces God, or is thought to be God or from God.

These healing methods are not just techniques, but are interwoven with spiritual philosophies about who God is, who Christ is, and how the world and the body work. They are not based on science or medicine, but on spiritual beliefs.

None of these beliefs point to the God of the Bible, but rather to pantheism. They may speak of Jesus, but only as a cosmic Christ who came to heal but not to save, since the existence of sin and need for salvation are usually denied.


4. Acupuncture: New Age Medicine- Therapies from the Devil?*

Definition:  Acupuncture
is the practice of ancient Chinese needle stimulation based upon the occultic religion of Taoism.

Founder:  Unknown; the traditional Chinese text is The Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine.

How Does it Claim to Work?:  Acupuncture claims to work by stimulating acupuncture points with needles, supposedly permitting the cosmic energy of the universe (chi) to flow freely through the body organs and systems, maintaining health.

Scientific Evaluation:  Disputed, but largely discredited; while its Taoism is ignored in scientific studies, these studies have yet to demonstrate acupuncture’s effectiveness scientifically. A definitive three-year study released in 1991 concluded acupuncture was nothing more than, at best, a powerful placebo.

Occultic Potential:  Taoist practice and philosophy; psychic practitioners; meditative programs and other occultic practices used in conjunction with acupuncture therapy.

Major Problem(s):  Acupuncture works on the basis of psychological, religious, or occultic principles, not scientific ones or its own stated theories.

Biblical/Christian Evaluation:  Classical acupuncture involves the practice of an ancient pagan medicine inseparably tied to Taoism.

Potential Dangers:  Needle stimulation has occasionally produced physical complications and injuries, some serious; misdiagnosis of a serious illness; occult influence.

*Extracted from John Ankerberg and John Weldon’s Can You Trust Your Doctor? The Complete Guide to New Age Medicine and Its Threat to Your Family, 1991, by the now defunct Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers. 9.



5. Yin and Yang: Getting into the Flow
by Marcia Montenegro

HSI Issue #64 March 27, 2005
Holy Spirit Interactive: New Age

It’s everywhere. The classic yin-yang symbol, seen more and more these days, is a circular symbol, half-black and half-white, with a small dot of white on the black side, and a small black dot on the white side.

This symbol is called the Tai Chi Tu. The term “yin-yang” is drifting into popular speech also, usually along such lines as, “Well, everything has its yin and yang side,” and many believe this symbol represents balance, peace or harmony.

Others believe that it means there is a little bad in the good, and a little good in the bad (which would mean there is no absolute good or evil).

What does yin-yang really mean?

Origins of Yin-yang became associated with Taoism, a religion widespread in China several hundred years before Christ’s incarnation on earth. In Taoism, the Tao, loosely translated as “the Way” or “the Path”, is the origin of all things and the ultimate reality. As is true in many Eastern religions, this concept is not to be grasped intellectually since it describes a reality beyond the intellect. Therefore, according to Taoist teachings, the truth of the Tao can only be understood indirectly or through a process of enlightened living. Happiness is gained by living in the flow of the Tao, which is the flow of the universe. This belief has no personal God. Where do the yin and yang come in? “Through the dynamics of yin and yang, the female and male cosmic principles, the Tao creates all phenomena. Whereas the Tao is perfectly harmonious, the cosmos is in a state of constant disequilibrium.” (Spirituality By The Numbers, Georg Feuerstein, p. 146).

Yin & Yang

The forces of yin-yang arise from a belief in dualism, a state in which the universe is seemingly equally divided into two opposing but equal forces. The dualistic world of yin-yang, however, is not seen as good versus bad. It is divided along other lines. Yang, represented by the white in the yin-yang symbol, stands for the creative principle, while yin, represented by black, is dissolution and return (to creation). Yang came to represent hot, dry, male, light, hardness, movement and initiative. Yin symbolizes coolness, moistness, female, darkness, softness, stillness and receptivity. The yin and yang forces are believed to be cyclical, moving and evolving into each other, represented by the white dot on the black yin side of the symbol, and by the black dot on the white yang side. In this view, the universe depends on the interaction between these two forces which arise from the Tao. Yin and yang also became a part of the I Ching, a form of divination. These values extend to a classification of foods, organs in the body, plants, etc. as either yin or yang. The macrobiotic* diet, first popular in the late sixties and the seventies, is based on the division of food into their yin and yang properties. The way to be content is to balance between these two forces and thus find harmony in the Tao. If the yin-yang forces in the body get unbalanced, then illness results. *see pages 8, 15

No good or bad?

There is really no good or bad according to the Taoist/yin-yang view, only what appears to be good or bad. There is no life and death because “Life and death are one, right and wrong are the same,” (from the Chuang Tzu as quoted in World Religions, Geoffrey Parrinder, p. 333). In this view, opposites are not really opposite; they just appear that way to us because we perceive through a dualistic conditioning and cannot see how opposites are really part of the whole. Opposites actually contain the essence of each other, and eventually merge with each other. This is one of the origins of the holistic view of the world and of the body, and remains the basis today of the body-mind connection. The universe is seen as mystically connected and interplaying, including every person, animal, rock, tree, river, etc., through the yin-yang interaction. Referring to the Tao, Wen-Tzu states that “the Way has no front or back, no left or right: all things are myst-eriously the same, with no right and no wrong,” Wen-Tzu, Further Teachings of Lao-Tzu, Boston: Shambhala, 1992, 109.


Many people mistakenly accept the body-mind connection of holism because we know that our attitudes often affect our health or recovery from illness. However, attitudes and the contemporary mystical holistic view are two separate things. The holistic view of the body and of health is based in monism, that all is one and one is all, and that a universal force (referred to as chi or qi) connects us and flows through the body. Holism today assumes that all illness is an imbalance of or blockage of the chi and/or the yin-yang forces in the body, and thus the state of one’s health is a reflection of this energy/spiritual imbalance or blockage.


Most holistic healers believe that illness is a spiritual condition, and they use methods based in occultism and Eastern religious views. Acupuncture originates in the belief that the yin-yang forces flow along invisible pathways in the body called meridians, and that illness results from an imbalance in these forces, or the blockage of these forces. Inserting the needles at certain points is supposed to allow a balanced flow of the body’s yin and yang energies. Although there are theories that acupuncture works either because the placement of the needles sends signals to the brain which release endorphins or because the needles block a pain signal to the brain, these theories have not been proven. Even if these theories prove correct, then the conclusion would be that it is not acupuncture that is working, since acupuncture is based on the idea that relief is coming from the flowing of chi and balancing of yin and yang.

What would be working is relief of pain through endorphins and the blockage of pain signals. This is not the theory of traditional acupuncture.

This relief would have nothing to do with chi, meridians, or yin and yang, but rather with biology and a proper understanding of the body. At best, acupuncture relieves limited amounts of pain temporarily. No physical or medical model exists yet to explain acupuncture. 10.



Evil is not a force

If opposites are always merging into and becoming each other, then there is no absolute good or evil. However, in I John 1:5, it states, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” Evil is not a force; it is a rejection of or rebellion against the good. Evil is the work of Satan, who has no truth in him (John 8:44), and those who choose to deny or reject God. Evil and good are not equal because God is sovereign and “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work,” (I John 3:8). God allows Satan to operate for now; but Satan was defeated when Jesus died for us on the cross, allowing deliverance from Satan’s power through trusting Christ (For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, Col. 1:13,14). Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).


Tai Chi*, often called a “moving meditation,” is based in Taoism. One of the purposes of Tai Chi is to facilitate “the flow of qi through the body,” (Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical & Paranormal Experience, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, p. 599). The qi (also spelled chi, ki or ji) is an Eastern name for the universal energy supposedly flowing through the body. A fact sheet on the meaning of the 108 moves in Tai Chi, put out by the Taoist Tai Chi Society in the U.S., states that the 36 major and minor yang channels in the body are the “Celestial Deities” while the yin elements in the body are the “72 Terrestrial Deities.” The combined total is 108, a “number divined by Chang San Feng himself” (Chang, an 11th century Taoist monk, is considered the founder of Tai Chi). The statement goes on to say that “the full 108 symbolizes the harmonious balance of yin and yang and therefore lead to health. The union of all yin and yang elements represent the return to the holistic and undifferentiated state of the Tao.” The term undifferentiated means there are no distinctions; all is one.

*See my article on the MARTIAL ARTS

The Christian Response

Christians should be discerning about practices such as acupuncture that have as yet no medical basis and “exercises” like Tai Chi that are designed based on spiritual beliefs hostile to Christ’s claim to be the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). The fact that such a treatment may work is not a good enough reason for using it.

Many things in the occult and mystical world seem to work. The standard for Christians in adopting a spiritually based idea or practice is not whether it works. We are admonished to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” (1 John 4:1a). These words should be taken to heart in regards to many other holistic and alternative treatments as well.

The Tao claims to be the way but offers an undifferentiated whole where there are ultimately no distinctions between yin and yang, or between good and evil. Harmony is based on balancing yin and yang. However, true peace comes only through trusting Christ (John 14:27; Philippians 4:7). There is a Person, Jesus, not a principle or a philosophy, Who said He is the Way (John 14:6), the Way to God and to eternal life (John 5:24; 6:40).

Sources: Eileen Campbell and J. H. Brennan, Body Mind & Spirit; Georg Feuerstein, Spirituality by the Numbers; Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience; J. Gordon Melton, New Age Encyclopedia; Richard Osborne and Borin Van Loon, Introducing Ancient Eastern Philosophy; Geoffrey Parrinder, World Religions, From Ancient History to the Present; Eva Wong, The Shambhala Guide to Taoism.


6. Herbalism.
Medicine or Mysticism?
by Doug Ecklund R. Ph.   



By way of background, I am a practicing pharmacist. Since graduation from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, in May 1973, I have been in the retail setting.

The increasing acceptance and promotion of herbalism in retail pharmacy has been of growing concern to me, from both a professional, and Christian viewpoint.

My biblical view shapes every sphere of life, including my professional acumen, and is the basis for evaluation of the ideologies and views being propagated within today’s holistic health framework, where herbalism has its roots.

Alternate belief systems abound within holistic medicine in general and herbalism in particular, which are not built on empirical foundations, but on the philosophical and the spiritual.

My intent is to illuminate the underlying philosophies expressed by a segment of herbalists that is driving the promotion and inculcating of herbalism, and holistic health within our culture.


My purpose is not to detail the holistic health system, but a brief overview of this new medical paradigm is necessary, since within this model, herbalism is discovered.

At its core, holistic health embraces preventing and treating the underlying cause of disease and treatment of the whole person. “It is a change in attitude and approach–more than an absence of illness, it is an active state of physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and social wellbeing-an inherent characteristic of whole and integrated human beings.

Its foundations are promotion of health and disease prevention-mobilize self-healing, with self-responsibility and self-education and self-discovery opportunities.”(1)

I have no opposition to these basic tenets. My concerns arise in arenas where spirituality is addressed, and where scientific standards are laid aside in the evaluation of treatment modules.

Holistic health integrates all forms of health practices, which in the past, were relegated to the bizarre, the fraudulent, or the questionable. 11.



Upon searching the “web” under holistic health, my very first link revealed an array of “health practices” including-acupuncture, yoga, spiritual development and healing, naturopathic medicine, energy healing systems, and community and planetary healing.(2)

Holistic health is alternative medicine
or natural medicine. This system minimizes, and often exhibits disdain, for the scientific method. The scientific method is based on ordered unbiased thinking that relies on proof of theory as a result of measurable, repeatable, and observable testing or experimentation.

When reason and the demand for evidence is discarded, the door is opened to embrace any invalid practice. Within this climate, only theories and suppositions abound to explain disease states, and the effectiveness and rationale of proposed treatments. When the obstacles of rationality are removed, the infusion of esoteric thought ensues.

An article appearing in The Sarasota Herald Tribune, dated 11-6-97, reported that, “An independent panel of experts concluded Wednesday that the ancient practice of acupuncture was an effective therapy for certain medical conditions. Acupuncture has been slow to gain acceptance by the Western medical establishment, largely because traditional Chinese explanations for its observed effects were based on theoretical concepts of opposing forces called Yin and Yang, which, when out of balance, disrupt the natural flow of Qi (pronounced chee) in the body.” Consider this statement: “In ancient China, religious prohibitions against dissection resulted in an inadequate knowledge of body structure and function.”(15) Apparently, the experts have ignored this disparaging condition in reaching their consensus to approve this theoretical and deficient practice.

Chinese medicine has been practiced for over 2000 years, and many will validate it solely on this basis. Using the same reasoning, we should conclude the earth is FLAT, since this was the historic view!

What is the origin of this mystical Yin and Yang?

It can be found in the philosophy of Feng Shui, which is “the culmination of China’s faith in Taoism, one of China’s oldest religions; of China’s faith in the science of astronomy; and of China’s faith in superstitions, in astrology, shamanism, and fortunetelling.

The philosophies and doctrines found in I Ching, has largely influenced the faith of Feng Shui, as the I Ching’s trigram and hexagrams, made up of the linear Yin and Yang symbols, are widely used in Feng Shui practice. The concepts comprising the I Ching is formulated in the idea that the world is ever changing. What is good today, may be bad tomorrow — nothing is stationary, everything moves from Yin to Yang and back to Yin again. In incorporating the philosophies of I Ching, Feng Shui itself becomes an ever-evolving faith. Around 600 BC, a Chinese philosopher by the name of Lao-tse founded what was to become known as Taoism, which inevitably, found it’s way into Feng Shui. Taoism originated as a philosophy of nature, it defined man’s place within the universe.” (14)

From Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia, more information is obtained in regard to Taoism: “Whereas, Confucianism urged the individual to conform to the standards of an ideal social system, Taoism maintained that the individual should ignore the dictates of society, and seek only to conform with the underlying pattern of the universe: The Tao (‘way’), which can neither be described in words, nor conceived in thought. Through spontaneous compliance with the impulses of ones own essential nature, and by emptying oneself of all doctrines and knowledge; one achieves unity with The Tao, and derives from it, mystical power.”(15) “The two elemental dogmas ascribed to Taoism are the Yin and Yang, and the natural energy forces of Chi, both of which evolved from the earlier writings of I Ching.”(14)

In World Mythology, we read of the Yin or Shang dynasty: “The Yin sacrificed to many divinities including the sun, moon, clouds, earth, mountains, rivers, and the four cardinal directions. Taoism believed humanity should live in harmony with nature, and not seek to dominate it: the Yin and Yang should be in equilibrium. Yin and Yang came to be regarded as two cosmic forces, which interacted to produce phenomena of the universe. They were seen as complimentary, and mutually dependent.”(16)

It is quite evident how Chinese medical practices align with philosophical views, and herbalism evolved from this nature centered religion.

The teaching of I Ching states that what is good today, may be bad tomorrow, which coveys, that there is no absolute truth: truth is relative. If there is no truth, it follows that there is no law, and therefore, no sin! But, the scriptures say “Thy law is the truth” in Psalms 119:142. The scriptures state that “by the law is the knowledge of sin” in Romans 3:20.

I Ching says that, if there is no truth; then God is not our Saviour. But, the scriptures say “I, even I, am the Lord; and besides me there is no saviour.” (Isaiah 43:11) The concept of Yin and Yang, represents Yin as darkness, and Yang as light; since everything moves from Yin to Yang, and back to Yin, what is conveyed, is that dark becomes light and light becomes dark. By logical extension, God would be darkness and light alternately.

1 John 1:5
refutes this vain philosophy: “God is light, and in him is NO DARKNESS AT ALL.”(Capitalization mine)

Hebrews 13:8 declares: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.”

The Chinese Tao, or the way, which can not be described in words, or known, contrasts sharply with the Lord Jesus Christ who says very clearly, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) And where He speaks again: “And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3). The Lord Jesus is eternal life and imparts his life to the believer.

At its core, I Ching and Taoism are earth centered religions propagating the oneness of the creature and the universe / creation. Yin and Yang is another expression of the “energy” concept or “life force”, which comprises the world around us, and us as well. We are connected to, and part of, the external creation by this “Life Force”. We have not found our place in the universe, but rather, have lost our distinction from the world and the universe. Further, Yin and Yang has destroyed the separation and autonomy of opposites. 13.



This system can only result in death: on the physical level, its medical concepts are flawed due to a reliance on false beliefs: as touching the spiritual, the only herb offered is HEMLOCK!

… Occult healing techniques, whether it involves utilization of herbs, or such practices as acupuncture exhibit a modicum of effectiveness, but what is the true source of this faculty? According to Scott Cunningham, in the Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, “the power behind herbal magic is formless, shapeless, eternal, it doesn’t care whether you call it in the name of a witch, goddess, or the Virgin Mary- or tap it within no religious framework at all.”(32) … Be warned; be wary, these occult foundations are proliferating in society and medicine. Homeopathy shares these basic tenants of energy and rituals.
Chinese and Ayurveda medicine are grounded in energy and balance concepts.

(1) The Elements of Herbalism by David Hoffman 1990 Barnes and Noble Books 1997


(14) Searching for “China-American” History http://www.ingo

(15) Funk & Wagnall’s New Encyclopedia

(16) World Mythology 1993 Roy Willis general editor Henry Holt and Co.

(32) Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham 1985, 1997 Llewellyn Publications St Paul, Mn.


7. Applied Kinesiology – Muscle Testing: New Age Medicine-Therapies from the Devil?*

Definition:  Applied kinesiology is a method of diagnosis and treatment that combines chiropractic, muscle-testing, nutritional evaluations, and other methods for overall preventive medicine and health maintenance.

Founder:  George Goodheart

How Does it Claim to Work?  Applied kinesiology claims to induce proper structural and chemical-nutritional organization in the body, as well as “left-and-right-brain” hemisphere balance.

It claims to evaluate and correct problems of the nervous, circulatory, lymphatic, skeletal-musculature, and “meridian” systems, thereby maintaining health. Its practices are believed to permit the even flow of cosmic energy throughout the body, thus nurturing individual organs and systems with the proper supply of chi energy.

Scientific Evaluation:  Discredited; see summary on acupuncture (above) and chiropractic (separate article).

Occultic Potential:  Psychic healing; energy channeling.

Major Problem(s):  Unsubstantiated practice with occultic potential.

Biblical/Christian Evaluation:  Practices that are quack or potentially occultic should be avoided.

Potential Dangers:  Misdiagnosis; quack treatment; occultic influence.

*Excerpted from the John Ankerberg and John Weldon’s book, Can You Trust Your Doctor? The Complete Guide to New Age Medicine and Its Threat to Your Family, 1991 by the now defunct Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers.


8. Hypnosis- Christian or Occult?*

EXTRACT: No one knows exactly how hypnosis “works,” other than the obvious “placebo effect” — the successful use of “false feedback” in the same manner that feedback is used in the
occult techniques common to

acupuncture, biofeedback, and psychotherapy.

*Adapted from Hypnosis and the Christian, Martin & Deidre Bobgan, Bethany House Publishers, 1984, 61 pages. Revised and reissued in 2001 as Hypnosis: Medical, Scientific, or Occultic?.



In all lists of New Age holistic health therapies, secular or Christian, including the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document and Fr. Clemens Pilar COp‘s Esoteric Practices and Christian Faith, 2001 German edition, translated into English 2003] acupuncture and acupressure come out upfront, and not only for alphabetical reasons.

1. According to Fr. Pilar, the book The Other Medicine by the German ‘Stiftung Warentest’ or ‘Foundation for Testing Products’ examines and rates a large number of these therapies. Among those therapies that did not pass the test and which, therefore, the [German] public was warned of: Acupuncture, Bach-flower therapy, Foot Reflex Massage [reflexology], Radiaesthetics [pendulum dowsing], Diagnosis of the iris [iridology], Kinesiology, Rolfing, Reiki, Precious Stone Therapy, etc.

Excepting radiesthesia and reiki, which would be part of other discussions in the Document, all others in the list above are specifically named in the Vatican Document list, n. 2.2.3.


“As ideological aspects are concerned as well, I am obliged to make the following statement: What is offered today as ‘alternative or complementary medicine’ does by no means guarantee that we have to do with ‘natural medicine’.” [page 112]. On page 76 of his book, Fr. Pilar elaborates: “‘Purifying’ the spirit of man (Bach-flowers), ‘healing’ it (homoeopathy), ‘refining’ it through material substances or energy (precious stone therapy) is a magical idea and activity. It is claimed that all these therapies can alleviate character weaknesses, remove spiritual wounds and even overcome a weakness in faith by the appropriate vibrations. Man’s spirit-soul thus becomes a treatable object.

These (and similar) practices deny man’s highly personal mystery, which- according to Christian faith- can be neither comprehended nor physically treated. Spirit can only be affected and formed by spirit, not by physical means. 13.




These magical practices bypass the freewill of the spirit, which becomes a will-less object, manipulable and formable by diverse energies. Vitalism [belief in the existence and use of vital i.e. cosmic energy as in
acupuncture, aromatherapy, homoeopathy, martial arts, pranic healing, reiki etc.] thus provides an essential basis for all kinds of magical thinking and each magical practice. The majority of ‘holistic’ therapies are thus based on the concept of magic.


“Where upto now a meeting between two free personalities took place- person to person- where will power and decision played their original role in deciding what was to happen, this is the very point from where from now on the spirit is likely to be coerced based on knowledge and use of hidden [esoteric] laws.

“These concepts perceive even spiritual or mental problems as energy related problems, as symptoms of a ‘life force that is pathologically out of balance’. Energies can be increased through meditation, through motion-based therapies or other practices… An imbalance of the energy flow can be removed with the help of massage, needles, motion, sounds, colours etc.” [page 41]

“As ideological aspects are concerned as well, I am obliged to make the following statement: What is offered today as ‘alternative or complementary medicine’ does by no means guarantee that we have to do with ‘natural medicine’.

Prof. Dr. Malte Buhring, professor of naturopathy at the Free University of Berlin, clearly differentiates between genuine treatment with natural remedies and the diverse forms of alternative medicine, among which he counts homoeopathy, Bach-flowers, electro-acupuncture*, etc.” [page 112] *see pages 1, 5, 6, 17


In New Age, the earth is considered as a living organism, Mother-Earth, ‘Gaia’. [Vatican Document n., 7.1, 7.2]

The supposed energy-conducting meridians running in the earth are called ‘ley lines’. The places where these ley-lines allegedly converge are selected as sites for communes like Findhorn and for Body-Mind-Soul festivals. These centres are known for the occurrences of paranormal activities. But the earth is not healthy because of man’s exploitation of her; her power balances have been disrupted. Like all other ‘organisms’, such an earth needs to be ‘healed’.

One method of doing this is through mass meditations, which the New Age gurus frequently organize.

Fr. Pilar adds, “A wide spectrum of ‘healers of the earth’ exist, who work with the most different methods.

To my knowledge a relevant group of persons, who have their meetings in the Waldviertel, hum healing sounds there.

In her book “Powerful Sources of Capital”, El Awadalla mentions a sum of 600,000 schillings spent by the City of Villach on an action of lithopuncture‘, a kind of acupuncture of the earth‘.”


The Vatican Document on the New Age, in the section Health: Golden Living, notes, “There is a remarkable variety of approaches for promoting
holistic health, some derived from ancient cultural traditions, whether religious or esoteric… Advertising connected with New Age
covers a wide range of practices such as
acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology,
massage and various kinds of ‘body work’
(such as …reflexology)

etc.” [n 2.2.3]. Note that
is a type ofbody work‘.

“The response from the
New Age
is unity through fusion. It claims to reconcile soul and body, female and male, …Yin and Yang“. “Yin/Yang is a New Age symbol, to do with complementarity of contraries, especially masculine and feminine” [n 4.2, 7.1].

The Document lists
Findhorn [see page 3] “in North-East Scotland” as one of “the two centres which were
the initial power-houses of the New Age, and to a certain extent still are…” [n 2.3.2] Under Key New Age Places, it notes that certain practices like “the goal of harmony with nature” and “channeling, all of which have become hallmarks of the
New Age
movement, were present at Findhorn from its foundation.” [n 7.3]


powerful trend in modern Western culture which has given space to
New Age ideas is the general acceptance of Darwinist evolutionary theory; this, alongside
a focus on hidden spiritual powers or forces in nature, has been the backbone of much of what is now recognised as
New Age
theory. [n 1.3]

A central element in [Carl Jung’s] thought is the cult of the sun, where God is the vital energy (libido) within a person [n 2.3.2] [In New Age belief, the cosmos] is animated by an Energy, which is also identified as the divine Soul or Spirit [n 2.3.3]. [In New Age]
there is talk of God, but it is not a personal God; the God of which New Age speaks is neither personal nor transcendent. Nor is it the Creator and sustainer of the universe, but an “impersonal energy” immanent in the world, with which it forms a “cosmic unity”: “All is one”. This unity is monistic, pantheistic or, more precisely, panentheistic. God is the “life-principle”, the “spirit or soul of the world”, the sum total of consciousness existing in the world. In a sense, everything is God. God’s presence is clearest in the spiritual aspects of reality, so every mind/spirit is, in some sense, God… The innermost and most personal (“psychic”) level on which this “divine cosmic energy” is “heard” by human beings is also called “Holy Spirit”. [n] The energy animating the single organism which is the universe is “spirit”. There is no alterity between God and the world. The world itself is divine


New Age
is often referred to by those who promote it as a “new spirituality”. It seems ironic to call it “new” when so many of its ideas have been taken from ancient religions and cultures. But what really is new is that New Age is a conscious search for an alternative to Western culture and its Judaeo-Christian religious roots. “Spirituality” in this way refers to the inner experience of harmony and unity with the whole of reality, which heals each human person’s feelings of imperfection and finiteness.





People discover their profound connectedness with the
sacred universal force or energy
which is the nucleus of all life. When they have made this discovery, men and women can set out on a path to perfection, which will enable them to sort out their personal lives and their relationship to the world, and to take their place in the universal process of becoming and in the New Genesis of a world in constant evolution. The result is a cosmic mysticism based on people’s awareness of a universe burgeoning with dynamic energies. Thus
cosmic energy, vibration, light, God, love – even the supreme Self – all refer to one and the same reality, the primal source present in every being. [n 3.1]

Is God a being with whom we have a relationship or something to be used or a force
to be harnessed?

New Age
concept of God is rather diffuse, whereas the Christian concept is a very clear one. The New Age god is an impersonal energy, really a particular extension or component of the cosmos; god in this sense is the life-force or soul of the world. Divinity is to be found in every being, in a gradation “from the lowest crystal of the mineral world up to and beyond the Galactic God himself, about Whom we can say nothing at all. This is not a man but a Great Consciousness”.

In some “classic” New Age writings, it is clear that human beings are meant to think of themselves as gods: this is more fully developed in some people than in others. God is no longer to be sought beyond the world, but deep within myself. Even when “God” is something outside myself, it is there to be manipulated.

This is very different from the Christian understanding of God as the maker of heaven and earth and the source of all personal life. God is in himself personal, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who created the universe in order to share the communion of his life with creaturely persons. “God, who ‘dwells in unapproachable light’, wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son. By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him, and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity”. God is not identified with the Life-principle understood as the “Spirit” or “basic energy” of the cosmos, but is that love which is absolutely different from the world, and yet creatively present in everything, and leading human beings to salvation. [n 4]

A careful reading of the Document will enable the reader to understand better the many New Age philosophies that undergird these therapies. They have been dealt with in greater detail in several other articles by this writer.


“In all the therapies we have been considering in this book*, there are certain common factors:

All agree that man is more than just his physical body, and that healing cannot be on the physical plane alone.

Many believe in a benevolent power in the Universe that Christians would call ‘God’.”

This is a quotation from *Bartlett’s Healing Without Harm, Pathways to Alternative Medicine which treats on a wide range of complementary medicines like homoeopathy,
acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, and shiatsu

They all agree, he says, that man possesses an ‘energy’ body, and it is that Universal Energy which Christians ignorantly call God, that is the ‘vital force’ or ‘chi’ or ‘ki’ of the referred systems respectively.

Need we say more? Only that the Vatican Document is fully justified in cautioning Catholics against the spiritual dangers involved in the practice of New Age therapies like acupuncture, acupressure, shiatsu, and reflexology:

dangers that Christian writers have demonstrated might come from a malevolent power that is not of God.


A NEW AGE OF THE SPIRIT? A Catholic Response to the New Age Phenomenon.

Prepared by the Irish Theological Commission in 1994

Acupuncture comes from ancient Chinese medicine. It is discussed by Samuel Pfeifer in chapter 4 of his book.

This is the use of needles to stimulate healing in a wide range of illnesses, and also to enable people to have an operation without an anaesthetic. It operates on the Chinese concept of the life energy or Chi (often referred to in Yoga circles here in Ireland as Ki). The philosophical thinking behind acupuncture comes from Taoism and the concept of Yin
Yang, and of being at one with the forces in the universe through meditation.

Pfeifer quotes the Taoist philosopher George Ohsawa, the father of macrobiotics,* as saying that ‘oriental medicine cannot be separated from its philosophical underpinnings’ (page 32). Yet he shows that western therapists think that they can turn acupuncture into a purely ‘pins and needles’ affair. *see pages 8, 10

The NAM has no difficulty with acupuncture because it accepts the eastern philosophy behind it. But what about Christians? Can they accept the help and not be affected by its religious content? Many believe they can.

The general principle in this matter is that these practices are not bad in themselves, and dissociated from their original context can be practiced by Catholics with due discretion.

Pfeifer also challenges the results of acupuncture. He says that the results of scientific tests are confusing, indicating that the results are coming from a variety of factors, including a patient’s belief in the therapist. If you are interested in acupuncture then read up on the subject and have an informed opinion on it. Do not allow NAM groups to use it to ‘rope you in’ to their way of life…


Elliot Miller says that crystals are used in a variety of therapies, such as psychic healing, acupuncture, ‘dream work’, aura and chakra cleansing and balancing. In yogic philosophy the seven centres of spiritual energy in the body are called the chakras. Besides this crystals are used to enhance meditation, visualisation, astral or ‘soul travel’, channelling and various forms of divination. Many people also wear them as lucky charms, or to attract prosperity, the opposite sex, and so on. They appear to have endless functions! 15.




Reflexology is press point therapy applied to the feet in a type of foot massage. Many Christians are using it with good effect to help reduce tension and stimulate healing. When carried out by a competent person who is properly trained, such as a nurse, it can be quite beneficial. But when it is done in seminars given by NAM people, you will be also offered the philosophy of the NAM. You will be told that the relaxation achieved does not last unless you are handling your other life problems, which is true. Then you are invited to join in other NAM exercises and the reflexology becomes an entrance into the NAM for you.

Samuel Pfeifer MD has written a book called Healing at any Price? (1988). It deals with the hidden dangers of alternative medicine. In chapter 5 he deals with reflexology, calling it ‘laying hands on the feet’!

He points out that the origins of reflexology go back to Chinese and Indian traditional medicine. Therefore it was developed out of the philosophy that is the source of acupuncture.

As a medical doctor he challenges the theory of the energy zones in the feet, but believes that there are psychological reasons why the therapy has a good effect on the patient. After all, they are cared for delicately and personally by a compassionate person for an hour, and many people would lack, and feel the need for this kind of personal attention. Besides, the action in itself is soothing, and therefore helpful to the stressed person.



by Erika Gibello,
22 March 1999 [Erika is Secretary, International Association of Exorcists]

History and Philosophy

The origin of acupuncture is unknown. There are some suggestions that the ancient shamans who used stone splinters to cut the skin to release evil spirits from the sick body also used metal sticks for the same purpose.

It may well be possible that during those rituals they noticed reactions of the body, often distant from the actual place of puncture, and consequently accumulated observations, which led to a system of healing.

The oldest description of acupuncture known is from the year 1127AD. It speaks of it as a ritual used by shamans. Much later this system was underpinned with philosophical tenets.

Whatever their origins, the techniques of acupuncture were refined over centuries, and eventually spread over to other Asian countries. During the 17th century they were introduced in Europe. In China itself traditional practices based on the Nei Ching were the only treatment available till the nineteenth century, when Western concepts of healing were introduced to the Orient. 1822 and again 1929 saw a dramatic change in the long-standing Chinese tradition.

Methods based on the Nei Ching were exchanged officially in favour for Western medicine.

Later, sweeping social changes brought about by the Communist regime included reorganisation of the medical system, with the concurrent revival of interest in traditional methods.

Most European practitioners of acupuncture started after 1972. The trigger for this was a worldwide-published operation of an American journalist who had his appendix operation under the influence of acupuncture, apparently replacing any conventional anaesthesia.

After Mao’s death it became known that this, and similar operations were a publicity stunt. Apparently the patients were put under psychological pressure, and in addition were given painkillers before the operations.

As the scientific community began to take a harder look at the acupuncture phenomenon, some questions were raised which had escaped the popular press.

Does Chinese medicine work as advertised?

Are its effects influenced by such variables as the type of disease, the prevalent beliefs in any given culture, or the emotional make-up of the patient?

As acupuncture works in a significant number of cases, one has to ask by what mechanism it functions.

These questions must be asked of any new therapy to be receiving the endorsement of the scientific community.

To understand the method applied in acupuncture one has to take Taoism into account.

The ancient Chinese produced various philosophical systems, of which two are better known outside China.

One, Confucianism, stressed social order and practical knowledge, forming the basis for formal education and etiquette. Taoism, on the other hand, was far more mystical.

Its spiritual father, LAO-TZE (meaning “the old master”), expounded on the concept of the TAO, or “the way”, an impersonal concept of ultimate reality.

Taoism is centred on the importance of process and change, the concept that nature and the universe flow in an endless course of continuous cycles. Day become night, winter turns into summer; wet becomes dry, and so on, all in observable pattern. Taoism urges human beings, who are seen as utterly dependent on nature, to live in harmony with these cycles and thus be “one” with the TAO.

The person who opposes the system will suffer failure, sickness and early death.

Two fundamental forces generate the transformation of the universe: YIN and YANG. These forces are BI-POLAR, not canceling each other out, but complementing each other to form one unity. The words Yin and Yang literally mean “the shady and sunny sides of a hill”.

Yin represents the female, soft, interior and Yang represents the male, hard and exterior part. Each contains a small share of the other. The T’ai-chi T’u, the “Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate”, illustrates this philosophy. 16.




Lately we have seen a certain awareness of this in fashion designs around the globe. The diagram shows a black and a white figure interacting with each other. Black is representing the evil or the female, and white the male, noble and good aspect of the same unity. The Tao teaches the duality of everything in the universe. Everything has equal and opposite values. This produces a fatalistic attitude to life. Traditional Chinese medicine has applied the interaction of the Yin and Yang to the human body – THE NEI CHING. The inside of the body is the yin, the surface the yang. The whole body is divided into regions and sub-regions, which in turn are either allocated to be governed by yin and yang.


The energy or CH’I, which flows through the body in a pattern, is conditioned by the presence of Yin or Yang energy. This flow is governed through channels called meridians, each of which is associated with a particular organ.

Ch’i or the universal life energy is said to flow through all living organisms, it supposedly is inhaled with air and extracted from food and drink.

Any excess or blockage of this energy will cause an imbalance of the yin and yang and hence produce illness. Traditional Chinese medicine applies this concept of the Nei-Ching, or energy flow through the body and considers sickness only from the point of imbalance between the yin and yang.


In diagnosing the cause of an illness, the patient’s complaints, overall appearance, colour and breathing patterns are taken into account, but according to the NEI CHING the key to correct diagnosis is examination of the pulses. At each of which has a superficial and deep position. These twelve locations correspond to the twelve meridians and are said to communicate to the examiner information about the meridians. Each pulse position is carefully felt, men’s right and women’s left pulse examined, giving the physician an insight into the balance or imbalance of a particular organ.

I would like to point to the 12 locations; the number twelve is taken from magical ideas of numerology, which is also reflected in the 12 pairs of meridians through which the CH’I supposedly flows. 365 acupuncture points are found along these 12 meridians. Originally only few parts of the body were punctured, but as the number of meridians was even further by two lines extended, so were the numbers of punctures on the various body parts increased.

Before I proceed to explain the treatment in acupuncture, I like to point out the following shortcoming of this medical system, overlooking for a moment the Non-Christian philosophical background: Disease as known in modern medical science where to the greater part totally unrecognised in ancient Chinese Medicine, hence those ancient descriptions have to be aligned to modern, scientifically based knowledge, before any physician could make a correct diagnosis. Modern acupuncturists, not being able to allocate recognised diseases to an exact description of old Chinese illnesses, are giving often and general circumscription of the pathological affected area such as “heart problem”, “digestive problems” etc. This fact will of course make any exact, scientific diagnosis impossible.

The question comes to mind: What form of DIAGNOSIS this could possibly be, if the premises to any scientific approach are not given? Assuming that there is a flow of energy, which there presumably is, even if not in the fashion understood by the old Chinese, how could one ascertain the exact spot of the “imbalance”, unless this diagnostic method is some form of divination? It has also to be pointed out that the flow of energy through the human body has not yet been scientifically determined.


Once the physician has made his diagnosis, the Nei Ching offers 5 different approaches to the therapy.

The first is the treatment of the spirit, guiding the patient to a modest tranquil life. The second and third are dietary and medicinal therapies, the fourth treatment is acupuncture or one of its variants, and fifth is massage.

The Nei Ching gives most attention to acupuncture. To restore balance to the energy flow and clear and assumed obstructions or excess of it, to normalise the balance between yin and yang, the physician inserts needles at specific points into the body. Needles of all shapes and sizes have been used.

At the present time most therapists use stainless steel needles ranging in length from one half to four inches.

To prevent infections only sterilised needles can be used. In our days mostly throwaway needles are used.

When the points of insertion are selected, one or more needles are inserted and advanced until sensations described as tingling or heaviness or numbness is observed. The needles are then twisted manually or connected to an electric pulse generator for ten or fifteen minutes. (The electrical approach is quite common today).

The electrical approach [electro-acupuncture] has interesting results, it works not only on the acupuncture point, but positive results to eliminate pain depend on the presence of sufficient nerves in that specific area. . This is very similar to different method of pain control, which is called TENS, which stands for Transcutane Electric Nerve-Stimulation.

This method uses the electric current on the skin near the painful body part, which results relief from pain.

The “Gate Control Theory” assumes that stimulation of nerves, releases the bodies own “pain blockers”, Endorphine [Endorphin] and Enkephaline [Encephalin], which are functioning in various parts of the central-nerve-system. Stimulation of the acupuncture points is also achieved by injecting water, saline, vitamin B12, or other sterile substances.

For the fainthearted patient, who would prefer not to be punctured, injected or burned, simple finger pressure maybe used (acupressure has developed in Japan into its own form of therapeutic approach: Shiatsu).

In classical acupuncture therapy, the goal is to correct imbalance of yin and yang as said before, by stimulating points along the assumed twelve meridians, thereby draining excess energy or restoring it. 17.





Various authors recognise anything from 361 to 800 points along the twelve meridians. The guidelines for selecting acupuncture points have evolved into a system too complex for all but the most dedicated therapist.

The underlying concepts, like the pulse diagnosis, seem to be shrouded by scientifically unproven assumptions.

Does acupuncture work?

It would seem, from the initial reports written by Western observers in China, that the answer is a clear-cut yes, especially in the area of pain reduction. Unfortunately many of those first observers lacked the experience necessary for a proper scientific evaluation. Initial reports, for example, suggested that this form of anaesthesia was used in the majority of operations in China. From the statistic supplied by the Chinese, some researchers have found that less than 10 per cent of all cases are treated by acupuncture. It is also a fact that not all pain is eliminated, and that nearly every patient receives in addition to needling, a narcotic or barbiturate injection or prior to surgery a slow drip.

Even with these limitations, it cannot be denied that a large variety of operations have been carried out with patients awake and alert. There are apparently many other applications of this healing method, in matter of fact some acupuncturists claim that all disease can be cured by it!

Startling cures are supposed to be reported in Soviet and French medical journals. But unfortunately many of those so-called scientific reports cannot be confirmed, or repeated. One of the difficulties is that the insertion points are slightly changed in each individual case, as the organs are not exactly placed at the same spot, nor is there any human who exactly matches another. Controlled scientific researches are depending on the repetition of experiments which have to be held under the exact same conditions.

As far as I have been able to ascertain from research into the various reviews of literature and discussions, the CLAIMS FOR THE HIGH DEGREE OF EFFICACY OF ACUPUNCTURE ARE NOT BASED ON DATA DERIVED FROM WELL CONTROLLED CLINICAL TRIALS. In matter of fact in many clinics no records seem to be kept of either the patient medical history or his/her response to therapy.


First acupuncture does indeed relieve pain of various degrees for various periods of time. But this only signifies what is already known in the science of pain, that this is a complex field with many different characteristics both in the psychological as well as physiological area.

In matter of fact many characteristics of acupuncture have been observed by orthodox medicine, and have been given different names in Western medical literature.

One example is the phenomenon of referred pain, in which pain is experienced in a location removed from the actual site of injury. Other examples can be quoted. One might argue that this would prove the Chinese ancient concept of Yin and Yang and the idea of meridians. Against this is to say that satisfactory explanation of these observations, based on known neurological pathways without invoking universal energy, is possible within the framework of the “Gate Control Theory” of pain by Canadian researchers Ronald Melzack and P.D. Wall. This was mentioned above when discussing the electrical stimulation used in TENS.

Similarly can the theory of the existence of Meridians or Ch’i be disproved. But those ideas fire the imagination of the public and additionally acupuncturist claim to be able to heal everything from heartburn to piles. Since a few years there has been co-operation between German and Chinese scientists to research possible explanations of the mechanism of the workings of acupuncture.

What the Catholic has to bear in mind when considering this alternative method of treatment is:

Acupuncture is based on an ancient model of understanding the physiological functions of the human body whereby much of it is not scientifically proven.

Neither systematic research in response of patients nor their side effects are insufficient known.

The method of arriving at a specific diagnosis is at the best dubious and could be considered a form of divination.

This has to especially pointed out in view that the “needle points” are slightly different in every person!

Divination is a form of prognosis derived with the help of various psychic abilities using all sorts of materials, like bones, coffee suds, stars or currents and many other created matter. Whilst the use of needles may be questionable, it is not totally to be rejected. Empirically we have learned that there are certain positive results in such treatments, even if the traditional Chinese explanation is not the scientific explanation.

It is rather the form of diagnosis used that has to be rejected.

Divination is not permitted for Christians. Occupation with divination can mislead people away from trusting in God, and finally leads to honouring creation rather than the Creator.


There is this story of a young man who owned a successful acupuncture practice. After several years of making plenty of money for himself and his young family, he fell sick. He could not digest food. The doctors could neither cure him nor explain what the cause of his sickness was.

During a workshop on alternative medicines and healing methods his mother approached me, and ask if she should tell her son to give up his acupuncture practice. I told her to send the son for a short interview.

During our meeting he asked if I advised him to close his practice. My answer was:” Do not close your practice, but let’s pray for guidance by the Holy Spirit to find out what God ‘s will was.” 18.




I gave a time limit of three months, during which I would pray, and advised him to do the same. Even before the three months were over he telephoned to tell me that definitely wished to stop all acupuncture. He also informed me that he was by now so sick that he could not hold any food, had terrible pains and was as consequence of this not able to leave his bed. I said I was happy he had come to a decision and said that I would keep on praying for his recovery. A short time after this, I was just assisting at an exorcism, when an urgent telephone call reached me. It was the young man’s mother who asked if I would know an exorcist, as her son was in danger of dying, having lost so much weight, that he was only “skin and bones”.

It was Providential that I was just at that moment in presence of the only exorcists I knew. I asked him, if they could come as soon as possible. He was kind enough to see them that very same day.

The young man received exorcism, and even one week later was well on the way of recovery.

Two weeks on he received more healing prayers, and was fully freed and healed of his affliction.

God gave him not only a spiritual healing, and a physical healing, but also a new profession,
which helped him to re-build his life and family. Erika


January 23, 2001

UCAN Seoul archdiocese has cautioned priests and Religious regarding the increasingly popular practice of “ki” (energy) sessions that blend physical movement, breathing and concentration.

Auxiliary Bishop Peter Kang Woo-il of Seoul sent Jan. 12 a document titled “Alert on ki training culture” to all clergy and superiors of religious institutes in the archdiocese.

“Recently there has been an increasing number of clergy, Religious and laity who frequent centers of ‘ki-gong’ and ‘abdomen breathing,’ and they invite others to join them,” Bishop Kang said.

He said though people begin the practice for health, they gradually develop it to a kind of spiritual dimension. “The religious dimension to which such ki culture leads becomes easily linked to a mystical, transcendental and individualistic outlook of the world — that is not easily compatible with Christian faith,” the bishop noted.

The Church leader asked clergy and Religious who practice ki techniques for help in spiritual concentration or meditation to use “discernment because such a practice can cause confusion among ordinary Catholics.” “Unlike established religions that seek the common good of society, some new religious sects promise individual peace and physical health,” he said.

Citing the letter “Orationis Formas” (On some aspects of Christian meditation) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued Oct. 15, 1989, Bishop Kang stressed that trying to develop prayer as a skill may be opposed to the child-like spirit stressed in the Gospel. “Pure Christian mysticism has nothing to do with a skill,” he said, citing the Vatican document which was published in Korean in 1999.

Ki and ki-gong, or “qi” and “qi-gong” in Chinese, are generally regarded as belonging to the Taoist stream.



SEOUL, Feb. 23, 01 ( The Ki movement, which is attracting many Christians, mostly Catholics in Korea, as a means of health promotion, is going beyond this dimension and entering the religious realm and this is a matter of concern for the local Church, according to South Korea’s bishops’ conference. In January Bishop Peter Kang, an auxiliary of Seoul, sent an official memorandum to all clergy and religious of the archdiocese warning about the ambiguity and danger of Ki culture, which is part of the New Age Movement, in fashion in Korea and other countries.

Bishop Kang expressed concern, first of all, about Catholics, even clergy and religious, who go to Ki Centers, and he underlines the need for discernment: “When Ki formation touches the religious realm going beyond its dimension which is health promotion, it becomes dangerous.” He added, “If they use Ki training as a means of improving health then I have nothing to say. But if they insist that people can reach salvation by themselves, this is a serious mistake because salvation cannot be obtained by any human efforts or techniques, it only be achieved by God.”

“Priest and religious who have contact with Ki culture believing that its helps them for meditation or health, should act with discernment recalling that their attitude can bring confusion to the Christian life,” Bishop Kang points out.

Ki culture is part of the New Age Movement, first seen in Korea in the 1980s, when after the poverty of the previous decades the economy improved and people turned their interest to individual happiness. The Ki movement insists that human beings can become absolute by a mysterious art and that salvation can be reached through personal spiritual exercises.

Prof. Rho Kil-myong, who teaches social sciences at Korea University and is an expert in the area of new religious sect, said: “Its members believe that Ki is the ultimate principle and nature of the universe.”

Explaining why Catholics may be attracted to the new sect, Prof. Rho Kil-myong said: “As a liturgy-centered religion, the Catholic Church does not satisfy the spiritual desire of the faithful to experience God: this is why many Catholics want to be compensated by Ki culture.” Side effects are that people confuse Ki experience with experience of the Holy Spirit; they begin to reject the institutionalized Church; they adopt fanaticism and emotional attitudes; and they reject the doctrine of salvation by divine grace. The professor concluded that “the Church should listen to what her members say and desire. With its 2,000 years of history and tradition, I believe that Christianity has many means to respond to the spiritual needs of the faithful. For instance the various spiritual programs of contemplation and meditation of religious institutes and contemplative communities can be shared with the lay faithful.” 19.




29 May 2003

UCAN Catholic bishops in Korea have warned that
some popular systems of training which incorporate physical exercises with meditation can be harmful to Catholics’ faith.

The Korean bishops’ Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith issued April 21 the document “Movements and Currents That Are Harmful to Orthodox Faith Life II.” The committee published the first document on that topic in 1997. The new document observes rapid recent growth in the number of “centers that teach ‘ki-gong,’ abdomen breathing and
that blend physical movement, breathing and concentration.”

It then warns, “We have to be cautious that many religious groups are using mental and physical exercises to preach their religion in their centers.”

According to the 23-page document, the three practices are among what sociologists and religion scholars call “New Spirituality Movements” that aim to help individuals attain self-perfection through spiritual experience based on the pursuit of mental and physical health and peace.

It acknowledges that New Spirituality Movements have contributed greatly toward enhancing respect for life and the natural environment. “To practice the ‘ki-gong’ exercise itself is not a problem for the faith,” the bishops say, but if the practice goes “beyond the exercise dimension for health, it will affect negatively the Christian faith.”

Ki- gong, or “chi-gong” in Chinese, is a system of training that incorporates physical and mental exercises with meditation. “Ki” refers to energy and “gong” to discipline. The practice, which involves lower abdominal breathing along with special postures and aims to improve the autonomic nervous system, is regarded as in the Taoist stream.

Zen is a school of Buddhism that emphasizes the practice of meditation to bring about insight and manifest inborn enlightenment.

The bishops point out that the new movements are “seriously” in conflict “with the essence of Christianity” on matters such as the understanding of God, Christology and ecclesiology. They say these movements reject the fundamental Christian understanding of God in favor of “panentheism,” which holds that God is in everything and everything in the universe is part of God. Father Basilius Cho Kyu-man, secretary of the doctrine committee, told UCA News the bishops’ committee “sees no difference” between panentheism and pantheism, which present God not as a personality but as the laws, forces and manifestations of a self-existing universe.

Father Cho explained May 21 that while the committee’s 1997 document “comprehensively” warned of various phenomena in society, the new document focuses on “the issues that the Church faces and has to address relevantly.”

Father Nobert Cha Dong-yeob, director of the Inchon Diocesan Future Pastoral Institute, practiced ki-gong and yoga for some 15 years. He told UCA News, “Principally, I do not want Catholics to contact those movements,” noting that most ki-gong experts tend to follow the country’s “indigenous” religions.

“If a Catholic reaches the high-level exercise of ki-gong, it is highly probable that he or she will leave Catholicism,” the priest said. “In the high-level exercise, religious notions are strongly put in,” he added.



1 Nov 2004

UCAN The flourishing of “new spirituality” movements has prompted Church workers to recommend a shift in pastoral approach.

Father Pius Kwak Seung-ryong, pastoral planning director of Taejon diocese, blames the Catholic Church’s present pastoral paradigm for the popularity of new spirituality movements among Catholics.

Speaking at an Oct. 21 symposium in Suwon, 45 kilometers south of Seoul, he observed that along with South Korea’s rapid economic growth and increasing materialism has come an increasing spiritual thirst. Traditional devotions, prayer and meditation do not easily satisfy this thirst, he said.

Proof of this is the increasing popularity of methods such as yoga, Zen and “ki” (“chi”) energy training among Koreans, Catholics included, who say these techniques help them achieve soundness of body and mind. The Korean Catholic bishops have warned Catholics about such new spirituality movements.

According to Father Kwak, Catholics are attracted by these movements’ focus on experiencing the “warmth of the world” amid a “harsh and inhuman society.” However, at the symposium titled “Challenge of Pseudo-spirituality Movements and Pastoral Countermeasures,” the priest insisted that the Catholic Church has its own wealth of spiritualities. He recommended promoting the spirituality and prayer practiced in the early Church, as well as various “God-centered” prayers and spiritual exercises developed within the Church throughout its history.

“It is our duty to graft those traditions attractively” to meet modern Christians’ needs, he told the 1,200 people who attended, including Suwon’s Bishop Paul Choi Duk-ki and Auxiliary Bishop Mathias Lee Yong-hoon.

Suwon diocese sponsored the symposium, held at the cathedral.

Francis Park Moon-su, researcher at the bishops’ Pastoral Institute of Korea, points to the “Sacrament-centered” paradigm of the Catholic Church as a factor in Catholics joining new spirituality movements.

This paradigm defines “good Catholics” as those who fulfill obligations such as attending Sunday Mass, making regular confession and paying their monthly dues. Park asserted that with such an “insufficient” model of spirituality, it seems impossible for the Church to effect spiritual renewal. The Church needs to take the new spirituality movements seriously.




Nonetheless, he says many elements in such movements are based on pantheism and other religions, and clash with Catholic dogma. While many proponents claim these movements only promote well-being, Park charged they influence people to eschew longstanding social systems and communities.

Father Joseph Lee Chan-jong, evangelization and education administrator of Suwon diocese, told UCA News Oct. 27 that new spirituality movements have spread tacitly as well-being programs catering to current lifestyles.

He said the purpose of the symposium was to give pastoral direction to Catholics in their faith life and to help them keep such movements from penetrating into the Catholic community.

Suwon diocese has sponsored annual symposiums since 1994 to educate parishioners on various issues.

Meanwhile, the Korean bishops’ Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued two documents, in 1997 and in 2003, on new spirituality movements. According to the bishops, such movements are in serious conflict with “the essence of Christianity” on matters such as the understanding of God, Christology and ecclesiology.

Recently, Bishop Boniface Choi Ki-san of Inchon asked priests of his diocese to report parishioners who have joined the Dahn World Center, termed a “pseudo-religious” movement by critics in the Church.



CHRISTIAN OR NEW AGE? PART V by Susan Brinkmann, Special to the Herald, September 7, 2007

This is the fifth part of a series that examines how Catholics are being challenged by followers of New Age philosophies.

In July 1971, while accompanying Henry Kissinger to China, The New York Times columnist James Reston had an emergency appendectomy. Afterward at the Anti-Imperialist Hospital in Peking, doctors treated his pain with a traditional form of Chinese medicine known as acupuncture.

“I was in considerable discomfort if not pain during the second night after the operation,” Reston wrote shortly after his return to the United States. “Li Chang-yuan, doctor of acupuncture at the hospital, with my approval, inserted three long, thin needles into the outer part of my right elbow and below my knees, and manipulated them in order to stimulate the intestine and relieve the pressure and distension of the stomach.

“Meanwhile, Doctor Li lit two pieces of an herb called ai, which looked like the burning stumps of a broken, cheap cigar, and held them close to my abdomen while occasionally twirling the needles into action. All this took about 20 minutes, during which I remember thinking that it was a rather complicated way to get rid of gas in the stomach. But there was noticeable relaxation of the pressure and distension within an hour and no recurrence of the problem thereafter.”

Many people in the medical field, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), believe that event is what precipitated what is now a 20-year surge of interest in acupuncture in the United States.

A report from a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture held at the NIH in 1997 stated that acupuncture is being widely practiced by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists and other practitioners in the U.S.

According to the largest and most comprehensive survey of complementary and alternative medicine in use by American adults, the 2002 National Health Institute Survey, “an estimated 8.2 million U.S. adults had . . . used acupuncture [at some time] and an estimated 2.1 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture in the previous year.”

How Does Acupuncture Work?

The Chinese theory behind acupuncture as a medical treatment is very different from the kind of acupuncture used in Western medicine.

“Traditional Chinese acupuncture is based on the theory that the body is a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang,” says the NIH Web site for Complementary and Alternative Medicines. “Yin represents the cold, slow or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited or active principle.”

It goes on to explain that the Chinese believe health is achieved by maintaining the body in a balanced state, and that the disease is caused by an internal imbalance of yin and yang.

“This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi (energy) along pathways know as meridians,” according to the NIH site. “It is believed that there are 12 main meridians and eight secondary meridians, and that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with them.”

Chinese practitioners believe that by inserting extremely fine needles into those points in various combinations, a person’s energy flow may be re-balanced, thus allowing the body’s natural healing mechanisms to take over.

Because there is no anatomical or other physically verifiable basis for the existence of acupuncture points, qi or meridians, the Western version of acupuncture is not based on the concept of yin and yang, but on neuroscience. Today, science believes acupuncture may work in three ways: by releasing endorphins, which are part of the body’s natural pain-control system; by stimulating nerves in the spinal cord that release pain-suppressing neurotransmitters; or by the naturally occurring increase in blood flow in the needle-puncture area, which removes toxic substances.

Origin of Acupuncture

The word “acupuncture” is derived from the latin acus meaning “needle” and pungere meaning “prick.” The origins of Chinese acupuncture are uncertain. There is some archeological evidence of its practice during the Han dynasty (202 B.C. to 220 A.D.) with the first mention of it a century earlier in the Yellow Emperor’s “Classic of Internal Medicine,” a history of acupuncture that was completed around 305 B.C. 21.



However, hieroglyphics dating back to 1000 B.C. have been found what may be an indication that acupuncture was in use much earlier. There is also some speculation surrounding the discovery of Otzi, a 5,000-year-old mummy with over 50 tattoos on his body, some indicated on established acupuncture points.

Other scientists believe there is evidence to support the practice of acupuncture in Eurasia during the early Bronze Age. In an article that appeared in the British medical journal, The Lancet, researches said, “We hypothesized that there might have been a medical system similar to acupuncture (Chinese Zhensiu: needling and burning) that was practices in Central Europe 5,200 years ago. . . . This raises the possibility of acupuncture having originated in the Eurasian continent at least 2,000 years earlier than previously recognized.”

Can Catholics Use It?

The Western form of acupuncture, which is based on science and not Taoism, is acceptable for use by Christians. However, the traditional Chinese acupuncture belief system is not compatible with Christianity.

“The philosophical thinking behind acupuncture comes from Taoism and the concept of the yin and yang, and of being at one with the forces in the universe through meditation,” the Irish Theological Commission wrote in 1994 in its document, “A Catholic Response to the New Age Phenomenon.”

Christians believe man is a union of body and soul, and that the soul is an essential form — not an energy force. The belief that one can meditate and be at one with the forces of the universe is based in pantheism, the belief that the universe, God and nature are all equivalent.

At present, there are many unlicensed practitioners who may be practicing a blended version of Western and Chinese acupuncture.

“The New Age movement has no difficulty with acupuncture because it accepts the Eastern philosophy behind it,” the theological commission said. “But what about Christians? Can they accept the help and not be affected by its religious content? Many believe they can.

“The general principle in this matter is that these practices are not bad in themselves, and dissociated from their original context, can be practiced by Catholics with due discretion.”

Father Lawrence J. Gesy, the cult consultant for the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the lead author of “Today’s Destructive Cults and Movements,” says those seeking an acupuncturist should “make sure the person who is doing the acupuncture is medically licensed.”

According to the Mayo Clinic Web site, there are about 3,000 medical doctors in the U.S. who use acupuncture as part of their clinical practice. No individual needs to resort to a New Age practitioner in order to enjoy the benefits of acupuncture.

“Those who are into the Chinese-god concept of acupuncture usually have charts up, or will talk about gods and energy levels,” Father Gesy said. “These people are ‘channeling.’ The needle becomes their channel from the source of the energy of the gods into that person.”

Acupuncture works without the religious component, and is a much better bargain for Christians because it comes all the benefits, but none of the spiritual risks.



CHRISTIAN OR NEW AGE? PART VIII by Susan Brinkmann, Special to the Herald, October 18, 2007

This is the eighth of a series that examines how Catholics are being challenged by followers of New Age philosophies.

It’s called “ki” in Japan, “chi” in China and “prana” in India — but it all means the same thing — a form of universal “energy” which is believed to flow through human beings that can become unbalanced. Practitioners of Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, yoga, tai chi, Qi Gong, polarity therapy, and as many as 60 other forms of “energy healing” seek to channel this energy to restore health.

Although originating in the East, energy medicine has become popular in the West, and is practiced in many U.S. medical facilities.

Because these practices are not regulated by the FDA and are not required to meet their rigorous standards of efficacy, consumers need to beware. This is especially true because alternative and complementary medicine has become a multimillion dollar business in the United States.

In order to protect consumers against potential fraud, Congress established a National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 1998.

In an overview of the field of energy medicine, the NCCAM has concluded that most techniques are not scientifically valid.

As their report indicates, consumers need to be made aware of the scientific distinction between the two forms of energy — veritable and putative — and which is involved in energy medicine.

Veritable energy consists of mechanical vibrations (such as sound) and electromagnetic forces, including visible light, magnetism, monochromatic radiation and rays from other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. “They involve the use of specific, measurable wavelengths and frequencies to treat patients,” the report states.

Putative energy is what practitioners of Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, reflexology
and yoga
purport to be manipulating.

It consists of alleged “energy fields” that human beings are supposedly infused with. This subtle form of energy, or “life force,” is known as “ki” in Japanese medicine and “chi” in Chinese medicine, and elsewhere as “prana,” etheric energy and homeopathic resonance.




“These approaches are among the most controversial of complementary and alternative medical practices,” the NIH reports, “because neither the external energy fields nor their therapeutic effects have been demonstrated convincingly by any biophysical means.”

According to Victor Stenger, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii, the most powerful and accurate detectors known to science have never discovered even a hint of this energy form.

“Much of alternative medicine is based on claims that violate well established scientific principles,” writes Stenger in his article, “Energy Medicine,” which appeared in The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine.

“Those that require the existence of a bio-energetic field, whether therapeutic touch or [traditional Chinese] acupuncture, should be asked to meet the same criteria as anyone else who claims a phenomenon whose existence goes beyond established science. They have an enormous burden of proof. . . .”

The fact that major nursing organizations and publications refer to these unsubstantiated energy forms is causing major problems in the medical community. “Medical journals should follow the lead of most scientific journals and not publish extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence,” Stenger writes.

Unfortunately, there is confusion among the public and even among some healers as to what kind of energy is being manipulated. This is why the best source for this information is the practitioners’ own literature.

For instance, Reiki literature clearly refers to the energy it manipulates as a “spiritually guided life-force energy.” Polarity therapists claim they are working the “human energy field” but go on to say that this energy field “exists everywhere in nature.” Cranial Sacral Biodynamics claims it works on the “formation of a relationship between the practitioner and the inherent ordering principle, the Breath of Life” of a client.

Energy medicine also causes confusion in the professional realm — particularly in the field of legitimate medical massage, which is defined as the manual manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for therapeutic purposes. Confusing legitimate medical massage with energy healers who purport to do much more, casts a pall of charlatanism over the whole medical profession.

The problem has become so serious that the American Medical Massage Association (AMMA) issued a position statement in December 2005 denouncing six categories of what are considered metaphysical, paranormal or pseudoscientific practices that include Reiki, therapeutic touch, touch for health, crystal healing, aroma energy and many others.

The AMMA believes the widespread use of these methods “has advanced to the point of becoming a serious problem that is adversely affecting the overall professional image and reputation of massage therapy in the United States.”

According to the AMMA’s legislative and external affairs coordinator, Amanda Cihak, “While it is scientific fact that the human body is comprised of energy, i.e., protons, neutrons, electrons, there is a vast difference between those massage therapists wanting to assist the body’s natural healing processes and those who claim they can manipulate one’s ‘energy,’ chi, life-force, etc. “Many times a practitioner will perform Reiki, Energy Healing, Cranial Sacral or Polarity Therapy without the consent or desire of a client, while they believe they are receiving an actual clinical or medical massage treatment,” Cihak says.

Insurance companies are yet another industry experiencing problems from this confusion of legitimate medical massage and energy healing. According to Cihak, more and more companies throughout the country are making a distinction between ‘massage therapy’ which includes Reiki practitioners, and ‘clinical massage therapy’ which requires additional training, documentation and education specifically in clinical/medical massage.

The confusion is enhanced when energy healers are permitted to work in legitimate medical facilities. This is particularly problematic in Christian hospitals.

Aside from showing a long list of “professional organization” endorsements, energy healers often get in the door at Christian hospitals by claiming techniques such as Therapeutic Touch and Reiki have nothing to do with religion.

According to the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), these claims are untrue.

In their February 2004 position statement, titled, “Therapeutic Touch is not a Catholic Hospital Pastoral Practice,” the CMA explains why these practices come with considerable “religious baggage” in spite of the application of a secular veneer, and are therefore not compatible with Catholicism.

“Therapeutic touch is essentially a ‘New Age’ manifestation in a medical setting,” writes Doctor Patrick Guinan in the CMA document. “New Age philosophy is well defined in the recent Vatican document, ‘Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Waters of Life.’ New Age is the belief that conscious reality consists of cosmic energy and pantheistic forces that can be known and controlled by an elite knowledgeable in this mystical system. New Age is in direct contrast to traditional Western Judeo-Christian culture that posits a personal God and humans endowed with a free will.'”



CHRISTIAN OR NEW AGE? PART IX by Susan Brinkmann*, Special to the Herald, November 2, 2007
*See also pages 41-43

This is the ninth part of a series that examines how Catholics are being challenged by followers of New Age philosophies.

A nurse who practices energy medicine claims in a journal for Christian nurses that she was told “God had blessed her with the gift of healing through the manipulation of a person’s energy field.”

One Web site claims that energy medicine is “in alignment with the Bible.”




Yet another advises: “Reiki provides a very wonderful way for Christians to make use of God’s power. . . . When giving or receiving Reiki attunements or treatments, just call on God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to work directly through you and do the healing for you.”

Those are examples of the way practitioners of energy medicine are drawing Christians into a wide variety of healing methods, such as Reiki, therapeutic touch, Qi Gong, polarity therapy and crystal healing, all of which are based on the alleged existence of a universal life force that can be manipulated for healing.

Can we simply substitute the name of Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, for this energy, or choose to believe that the source of the energy is God?

Unfortunately, no. The basic concept of energy medicine — the energy, itself — is not a Christian belief. It belongs to New Age and non-Christian religions.

“The New Age god is an impersonal energy, a particular extension or component of the cosmos; god in this sense is the life-force or soul of the world,” states the Vatican’s document on New Age practices and philosophies, “Christ, Bearer of the Water of Life.”

“This is very different from the Christian understanding of God as the maker of heaven and earth and the source of all personal life,” it continued. “God is in Himself personal, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who created the universe in order to share the communion of His life with creaturely persons.”

That aspect of a loving God is missing from the “force” in energy medicine, according to Father Anthony J. Costa, the director of Spiritual Formation at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary College Division in Philadelphia.

“There’s an intimacy with God that is integral to our faith. he loves us unconditionally. We look to the different texts in the Old and New Testaments and see the intimate love that he has for us,” Father Costa said. “We see all the examples of his love for us and his desire to be with us. We see this in the petitions in the Our Father, the intimacy with Abba, our Father — this desire Jesus has for us to be in union with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You don’t have that with an energy force.”

He added that healing through energy medicine also lacks one of the most important components of Jesus’ ministry — spiritual healing.

“There are many examples from the Gospel where the healing leads to conversion, with conversion being a central aspect of our faith, which is not noted in any of these methods,” Father Costa said.

Meanwhile, plenty of people involved in the propagation of energy medicine try to convince their followers otherwise, and they are not afraid to use distortions of Scripture to try to make their point.

Perhaps the most common error is to confuse the Christian laying on of hands with New Age methods of energy manipulation.

For instance, William Lee Rand, founder of the International Center for Reiki Training, in his article, “Was Jesus a Reiki Master?” goes so far as to suggest that because Jesus sometimes laid hands on people while healing them, he may have been using Reiki.

“There are many similarities between the laying on of hands healing Jesus did and the practice of Reiki,” Rand writes. He goes on to list only those episodes in the Gospels where Jesus used his hands to heal — excluding every other method, such as the casting out of demons and healing by command.

Rand’s article “seems to cite different examples from Scripture about healings, and give an interpretation that misses the real spirit of the [Gospel] text,” Father Costa said.

“Sure Jesus touched people when he healed. But there are other cases — such as when he healed the centurion’s servant — when he “said but the word,” and they were healed. The foundation is that it comes through Christ,” Father Costa added. “It’s not simply powers that are being passed from one person to the other. The source is Jesus.”

Kathleen McCarthy, president of In His Sign Network, who has been involved in a charismatic healing ministry for 33 years, notes significant differences between the Christian laying on of hands and what is done by energy healers.

“In the charismatic gift of healing and the laying on of hands, the hands are a just a symbol of service,” McCarthy said. “We’re not acting as a channel. We’re not a conduit for any energy. We are an instrument of God’s healing. There is only one healer — Jesus Christ — and we’re calling upon him to touch the person. Our hands are just an outward sign showing this person that we’re joining with them in prayer.”

That is an important difference from practitioners of energy medicine techniques such as Reiki, McCarthy said: “The Reiki master and students think this is their power — a power that stays with them, that they can’t lose. When I lay my hands on a person, I know this is a passing manifestation of God’s power.

“It’s the power of the living God. It’s not a power that I have. All I do is come in the name of the one who has atoned for the world. I come in his name.”

Thinking that we can participate in these practices simply by believing that the energy comes from God can be a dangerous delusion, particularly in the case of techniques such as Reiki, which employ “attunement” rituals involving secret symbols and the use of spirit guides.

On his Web site, Rand says that the attunement process “opens the crown, heart and palm chakras and creates a special link between the student and the Reiki source.”

He goes on: “The Reiki attunement is a powerful spiritual experience. The attunement energies are channeled into the student through the Reiki Master. . . . The attunement is also attended by Reiki guides and other spiritual beings who help implement the process.” 24.




The process Rand describes is riddled with dangers, from the unnamed Reiki “source” to the channeling of energy and the use of spirits to implement the process.

“Nowhere does Scripture teach us to ‘channel energy’ in the way characteristic of Reiki,” writes Father Gareth Leyshon, a Cardiff, Wales-trained astrophysicist who was ordained a priest in May, 2007, on his Web site’s “Catholic Critique of the Healing Art of Reiki.”

“In fact, presuming that God will assist in a way which He has not revealed to be His will constitutes the sin of ‘tempting God,'” Father Leyshon stated.

Particularly problematic in the case of Reiki is its process of initiation, which uses secret symbols. Even though first-level practitioners are initiated by having the symbols replicated over them, rather than being taught them — they may not even be aware of the symbols at the time — the ritual incorporates into it what Father Leyshon describes as “divination.”

“If these symbols originate in a non-Christian mystical experience (which they do, according to Reiki sources) then any attempt to use them (including the attunement to become a first-level initiate) constitutes a use of knowledge obtained by divination,” he writes.

“The mere fact of needing to be initiated rather than simply being taught to manipulate ki gives Reiki the character of a ritual rather than a therapy,” Father Leyshon adds.

Indeed, the fact that there is any initiation at all should be the first warning that Christians are entering a dangerous area, he said: “One who submits to a Reiki initiation allows spiritual authority to be exercised over oneself. Since the authority is not clearly sourced in the Triune God, this act of submission must constitute idolatry; and the indispensability of initiation is the clearest sign of why Reiki cannot be compatible with Christianity.”

Father Leyshon advises pastors and superiors who must confront Reiki in their ministries not to worry so much about whether there is such a thing as Reiki or whether it is effective. They should simply stress that “Christians are committed to turn to no spiritual source other than the Triune God, who has not revealed Reiki as a means of harnessing his power.”

According to Father Costa, we can confront the advance of “energy” medicine in our own time and place by reaffirming what we believe — and who we believe Jesus is.

“Any time we have anything that is not pointing to Jesus — that is not rooted in the healing that comes from him — is always an indicator that we are not being authentic, that we are not following the way of the cross,” he said.

(These articles originally appeared in The Catholic Standard and Times, the Philadelphia archdiocesan newspaper.)


10A. Yoga and horoscopes can lead to possession by Devil, claims Cardinal’s exorcist

by Jonathan Petre [hyperlink] Daily Mail, U.K., 24th May 2008

The book says reading horoscopes could put people at risk from evil spirits

It is a physical workout enjoyed by millions and its devotees include Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sting. But yoga enthusiasts have been warned by a leading Roman Catholic clergyman that they are in danger of being possessed by the Devil.

Father Jeremy Davies*, exorcist for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of Catholics in England and Wales, says that
activities such as yoga, massage therapy, reiki or even reading horoscopes could put people at risk from evil spirits.

In a new book, he also argues that people with promiscuous lifestyles could find themselves afflicted by demons.

And he says that the occult is closely linked to the scourges of ‘drugs, demonic music and pornography’ which are ‘destroying millions of young people in our time’.

The 73-year-old Catholic priest, who was appointed exorcist of the Archdiocese of Westminster in 1986, was a medical doctor before being ordained in 1974. He has carried out thousands of exorcisms in London and in 1993 he set up the International Association of Exorcists with Fr Gabriel Amorth, the Pope’s top exorcist.

In Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism In Scripture And Practice, which is published by the Catholic Truth Society, Fr Davies compares militant atheists to rational Satanists, and blames them for a rise in demonic activity.

Yoga enthusiasts ‘are in danger of being possessed by the devil’

He adds that ‘perversions’ such as homosexuality, pornography and promiscuity are contributing to a growing sense of moral unease.

He writes: ‘Even heterosexual promiscuity is a perversion; and intercourse, which belongs in the sanctuary of married love, can become a pathway not only for disease but also for evil spirits…young people especially are vulnerable and we must do what we can to protect them.

‘The thin end of the wedge (soft drugs, yoga for relaxation, horoscopes just for fun and so on) is more dangerous than the thick end because it is more deceptive – an evil spirit tries to make his entry as unobtrusively as possible.

‘Beware of any claim to mediate beneficial energies (e.g. reiki), any courses that promise the peace that Christ promises (e.g. enneagrams), any alternative therapy with its roots in eastern religion (e.g. acupuncture).’

Fr Davies argues that occult practices such as magic, fortune-telling and holding séances to contact the spirits of the dead are ‘direct invitations to the Devil which he readily accepts’.

But the Oxford-educated priest, who is based in Luton, Bedfordshire, says there are different degrees of demonic influence, and the most extreme forms occur rarely. 25.



*Father Jeremy Davies is the exorcist for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Biography in:


10B. British exorcist warns that atheism brings Satan into the world

by Simon Caldwell, Catholic News Service, May 25, 2008

LONDON- Atheism is becoming a key cause of demonic influence in the world, a British exorcist has warned.
Father Jeremy Davies, exorcist of the Archdiocese of Westminster, which covers most of London, said that the “spirits inspiring atheism” were those who “hate God.”
In a new 56-page book called “In
Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practice, Father Davies wrote that Satan had blinded secular humanists from seeing the “dehumanizing effects of contraception and abortion and IVF (in vitro fertilization), of homosexual ‘marriages,’ of human cloning and the vivisection of human embryos in scientific research.”
The result, he said, was that Europe was drifting into a dangerous state of apostasy whereby “only (through) a genuine personal decision for Christ and the church can someone separate himself from it.”
In the book published by the London-based Catholic Truth Society, he said that sin was the primary reason why people lost their freedom to the power of the devil.
Father Davies also said atheism was largely to blame for entrapping people in states of “perversion.”
The book raised concerns about “some very unpleasant things” that endanger young people especially, and the priest said, “We must do what we can to protect and warn them.”
He called occult practices such as magic, fortunetelling and contacting the spirits of the dead “direct invitations to the devil which he readily accepts.” He said such practices involve the abandonment of self-control, making them as corrupting an influence as hard drugs, demonic music and pornography.
At the same time, Father Davies said the “thin end of the wedge,” such as soft drugs, yoga for relaxation and horoscopes for fun, were just as dangerous.
“Beware of any claim to mediate beneficial energies (e.g. reiki), any courses that promise the peace … Christ promises (e.g. enneagrams), any alternative therapy with its roots in Eastern religion (e.g. acupuncture),” he added.
“They are not harmless,” said Father Davies, a former medical doctor who was ordained in 1974 and has been an exorcist since 1986. “Sanity depends on our relationship to reality.”
Father Davies also said it was not uncommon for people who later turned away from sinful lifestyles to undergo periods of supernatural oppression as the devil fought them for their souls.
The priest, who is based in the town of Luton, north of London, said that key among the transgressions that have a “special affinity” with Satan was “rebellion against God” – which included the sins of blasphemy, atheism and attacks on Christ and the church – as well as sins against the light, when people resisted God’s grace.
He also warned Catholics to be wary of what he called the “idolatrous demonic side” of Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism and the druidism that had its origins in ancient Britain.
The exorcist denounced “new revelations” and criticized Mohammed, founder of Islam; Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, now called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. He called them “heretical prophets and false messiahs” who led their followers to a “demonic bondage of conscience.”
Father Davies’ strongest condemnation, however, was reserved for the pride of modern atheistic scientists.
“Pride is the specific trait of Satan,” he said. “There are two kinds of Satanism: ‘occultic,’ in which Satan is worshiped as a person; and what is said to be even more terrible and certainly is even more deceived, ‘rationalist,’ in which Satan is regarded as an impersonal force or symbol and the glory belongs to the Satanists.
“How close to rationalist Satanism, without realizing it, is atheistic scientism – the hubris of science going beyond its proper sphere and moral boundaries – the tree of knowledge presently spreading its branches throughout our Western culture, which is rapidly becoming that of the whole world,” he said.
He also said that “a contagious demonic factor” is among the causes of homosexuality.
“Even heterosexual promiscuity is a perversion; and intercourse, which belongs in the sanctuary of married love, can become a pathway not only for disease but also for evil spirits,” he said.
His book also spells out the degrees of demonic influence a person may experience, ranging from temptation and sin to obsession, then possession, with perfect possession being the gravest and rarest form that usually entails a deliberate commitment to evil on the part of the person involved. The book includes sections on the rites and means of exorcism and deliverance, including those of buildings and places as well as people.
Father Davies told the reader that if a person is in desperate need of help and feels stranded, he or she should go straight to the local bishop. 


10C. Yoga leads to possession by devils?

PTI Monday, May 26, 2008




LONDON: It’s a spiritual practice that provides all the health benefits of physical exercise. Yet, a British exorcist has claimed that
yoga could put people in danger of being possessed by evil spirits.

According to Father Jeremy Davies, exorcist for the leader of Catholics in the UK, yoga puts people at risk from devils and the occult is closely associated with the scourges of “drugs, demonic music and pornography” which’re “destroying millions of young people in our time”.

But Madhavi Padhy, one of the foremost yoga exponents based in New Delhi, laughed off the claims of the 73-year-old Catholic priest, saying “they are baseless”. “Yoga originated in India thousands of years back. It has no connection with evil spirits. On the contrary, it helps you become more aware of your body, mind and environment. It also plays a key role in relieving stress and bringing inner peace,” Padhy said.

Father Davies has argued in his new book ‘In Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism In Scripture And Practice’ published by the Catholic Truth Society, that people who practice yoga may end up afflicting themselves by demons, British newspaper the ‘Daily Mail’ has reported.

“The thin end of the wedge (soft drugs, yoga for relaxation, horoscopes just for fun) is more dangerous than the thick end because it is more deceptive — an evil spirit tries to make his entry as unobtrusively as possible. Beware of any claim to mediate beneficial energies (e.g. reiki), any courses that promise the peace that Christ promises (e.g. enneagrams), any alternative therapy with its roots in eastern religion (e.g. acupuncture),” he wrote in his newly published book.

Father Davies has also said that occult practices such as magic, fortune-telling and holding séances to contact the spirits of the dead are “direct invitations to the Devil which he readily accepts”.

“Even heterosexual promiscuity is a perversion; and intercourse, which belongs in the sanctuary of married love, can become a pathway not only for disease but also for evil spirits… young people especially are vulnerable and we must do what we can to protect them.”



*In the light of all the above studies and conclusions, how then can we explain these advertisements and reports in Mumbai’s Catholic Archdiocesan weekly
The Examiner?

1. 8 September 2001. “Training in Acupressure and Holistic Health:

The Health Promotion Trust will conduct a training programme for holistic healers for non-commercial purposes beginning 24th September… 12 sessions (90 minutes each)… at Archbishop’s House… by Dr. Renu Gupta.”

2. April 10 2004. Advertisement by Jivan Jyot Acupressure Centre, for acupressure

3. August 4, 2007. Advertisement: Massage with Acupressure. Home visit in Mumbai. Please call on 98212 07532

Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:12 AM Subject: ACUPRESSURE and MASSAGE

Dear Dr. / Sir Could you please send me the details of your treatment. Prabhu

pradeep kamalakar ambike
To: ;

Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 9:38 AM Subject: Accupressure, massage

Dear sir madam,
I am giving accupressure, body massage at home and clinic to the clients if u need me please call me on 9821207532  i am therapist from mumbai malad. I attend males, females and old age people. I am qulified therapist. Thanking you, pradeep

4. April 19, 2008. Wish for another Filipino Saint inspires workers in the Healing Ministry

EXTRACT: Reflexologist Romy Villaluna poured oil on his hand and rubbed it on the feet of a woman sitting under a huge picture of a young man with his hand over his heart. During the April 4 healing session at the Jaro Social Action Center (JASAC) compound, the 72-year-old masseur said the man in the picture, Blessed Pedro Calungsod, inspired him to work at the clinic. Jaro archdiocese, based 450 kms southeast of Manila, runs the center. “I wish to personally see the miracle we are waiting for, so Blessed Calungsod can be made a saint,” Villaluna said, as he pressed wood onto the heel, arch and other parts of his client’s foot.

Reflexology is the practice of massaging parts of the feet, or sometimes the hands and the ears, with the aim of encouraging beneficial effects on other parts of the body, or to improve general health. The retired business manager said he joined the first batch of JASAC reflexologists because, like Blessed Calungsod, he “wishes to be of service” to others…

The Examiner ;
Jose Kavi ; Leo Fernando [both of UCAN]

Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2008 9:50 AM Subject: LETTER TO THE EDITOR : REFLEXOLOGY

Sir, With reference to the UCAN news item
Wish for another Filipino Saint inspires workers in the Healing Ministry in The Examiner, April 19, 2008 page 25, may I point out that REFLEXOLOGY, also known as Zone Therapy, or ‘compression massage’, is a technique of diagnosis and treatment in which certain areas of the body, particularly the feet, are massaged to alleviate pain or other symptoms in the organs of the body. Of Chinese and ancient Egyptian origin, it was introduced to the West in the 1920s by Dr. William Fitzgerald, an American ENT specialist. Along with Ms. Eunice Ingham, who mapped out the sensitive areas on the feet, he applied ten zones or energy channels to the body, hence ‘Zone Therapy’. The zones do not correspond to the meridians of the Chinese system. A person’s ‘vital energy‘ is said to flow along these zones, ending in the hands and feet. Thus, when pain is experienced in one part of the body, it could be relieved by applying pressure elsewhere in the body, within the same zone. 27.




The February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age, in the section Health: Golden Living, notes, “There is a remarkable variety of approaches for promoting holistic health, some derived from ancient cultural traditions, whether religious or esoteric… Advertising connected with New Age covers a wide range of practices such as… massage and various kinds of ‘body work’
(such as …reflexology)

etc.” [n 2.2.3].

Hence, it is surprising that the practice is being encouraged at an archdiocesan center, and that too in expectation of a “miracle” towards a canonisation, and that a Catholic agency like UCAN has reported this news.

Michael Prabhu, Subscriber Chennai

[Copy to UCAN India representatives with attachment of my researched article on the subject]

Published in The Examiner, May 3, 2008


*Acupressure and Reflexology in the Archdioceses of Delhi and Madras-Mylapore

archbishop vincent
Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2007 10:09 PM

Subject: Mr. Colin D’Souza, Acupressurist/Reflexologist to Most Rev. Vincent Concessao, the Archbishop of Delhi

Dear Archbishop Vincent,

Please read my letter below. I will be pleased if you will let me have your comments on Mr. Colin D’Souza’s statements concerning your good self. God Bless You. Thanking you, Michael Prabhu

To, Rev. Fr. Parish Priest, Cathedral Basilica National Shrine of St. Thomas, San Thomé, Chennai 600 004 Sunday, 23rd September, 2007

Dear Reverend Father [Kanickai Raj],

During the readings of the Church notices at Sunday Mass on several Sundays in September, the faithful were informed about and invited to attend Reflexology treatment in a room at the parish house. When I asked you for information on the same after one of the weekday evening masses, you directed me to one of your assistants. However, Father [Joe Bala] could only say that the treatment was being done on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 12 noon.

On Saturday, September 22nd, 2007, I came to the parish house and went to the room in question. Mr. Colin D’Souza, who was conducting “Foot Reflexology” on a patient, consented to give me an interview for The Catholic Times fortnightly newspaper, of which I am the sub-editor. Mr. D’Souza explained that all “organs of the body are traced on the feet” and that healing of the respective organs is possible by applying pressure at these points. However, this “pressure will cause excruciating pain in the corresponding organ,” he said. He confirmed to me that “Foot Reflexology is a form of Acupressure” which works on principles similar to Acupuncture, “discovered 5,000 years ago by the ancient Chinese”. Mr. D’Souza has been practising the art in Chennai since July 2006 and many eminent Catholics, even members of this parish, have submitted themselves to this treatment over the last few months, he said.

Mr. D’Souza informed me that he was the acupressurist/reflexologist to Most Rev. Vincent Concessao, the Archbishop of Delhi, who has given him a letter of introduction.

May I now bring to your kind attention the Vatican Document of February 3, 2003, titled JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE, A Christian reflection on the “New Age”? In the section # 2.2.3. Health: Golden living, both acupuncture [and therefore acupressure] and reflexology are listed as New Age therapies. One of the aspects of my ministry is to bring awareness about such New Age practices. I am enclosing my summary of the referred Vatican Document, as well as two write-ups on acupuncture / acupressure / reflexology. The summary as well as the write-up were published in reputed Catholic magazines. May I request you to please study them. May I also suggest that you arrange to discontinue the therapy sessions at the parish house and inform parishioners about the concerned Vatican Document which clearly warns Catholics that the practices are “New Age”, and therefore to be strictly avoided. I look forward to your kind acknowledgement. I will be out of India from 24th September to 2nd October, so please excuse me for not giving you this letter in person. Yours sincerely, sd/- Michael Prabhu

archbishop vincent
Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2007 2:45 PM

Subject: MR. COLIN D’SOUZA, Acupressurist/Reflexologist to Most Rev. Vincent Concessao, the Archbishop of Delhi REMINDER, PLEASE

archbishop vincent
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2007 12:21 PM

Subject: Re: MR. COLIN D’SOUZA, Acupressurist/Reflexologist to Most Rev. Vincent Concessao, the Archbishop of Delhi


archbishop vincent
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 3:58 PM

Subject: RE: MR. COLIN D’SOUZA, Acupressurist/Reflexologist

Dear Michael,

Greetings from Delhi and thank you for your emails regarding Colin D’Souza and Reflexology. I have taken note of your information. Thank you for the trouble you take. With warm regards and God bless, Yours sincerely in Christ,

+ Vincent M. Concessao Archbishop of Delhi

archbishop vincent
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 11:04 AM Subject: MR. COLIN D’SOUZA

Dear Archbishop Vincent, I thank you for your sincere response.

Mr. Colin D’Souza is practising this New Age therapy in our Cathedral premises and in Catholic circles all over the city, using your recommendation letter, thereby adversely affecting the spiritual lives of many faithful.




May I therefore humbly request you to please write a letter to the parish priest [whose address is given below] with a copy to me [my address is given below], so that your original recommendation is negated, and corrective and preventive measures may be taken. In the interests of the Church, such an action will be greatly beneficial and serve to check the spread of error. God Bless your Episcopate. In prayer,

Michael Prabhu [for The Catholic Times, and Metamorphose Catholic Ministries].




27 April 2004

JALUKIE, India (UCAN) Father Godfrey Vilasal Thapo has brought relief to thousands of poor, ailing villagers in northeastern India through his healing hands. People flock to the 35-year-old Catholic priest wherever he goes in Nagaland state. The Kohima diocesan priest practices traditional Naga massage.

Father Thapo, who maintains a patient registry, has treated about 6,000 people. They come to him with ailments ranging from cancer to snake bites. “I never discourage anyone,” he added.

A member of the Angami Naga tribe, the priest told UCA News he views his healing power as “a gift from God” because he has cured many “hopeless” cases. People often come to him as a last resort, he added.

He manages the Holistic Healing Center at Jalukie in Peren district, 80 kilometers southwest of the state capital of Kohima, which is 2,300 kilometers east of New Delhi.

One of his former patients is Tiala Rutsa, 35, wife of a Baptist pastor. She claims Father Thapo cured her back pain. “The pain has not recurred,” she told UCA News. Even the educated find the priest’s treatment effective. One such person is F.P. Solo, director of the state’s postal services, whom the priest treated for a slipped disk. “I was able to get up and walk again” after the first massage session, Solo told UCA News.

Fr. Thapo says Naga tribes have used massage and herbs to cure illnesses for thousands of years. His mother belongs to a family of traditional healers. In his childhood, she introduced him to herbs and the diseases they cured.

His own healing mission began in the seminary, where he would massage seminarians injured while participating in athletics. Soon after his ordination in 2000, his mother became bedridden. Father Thapo massaged her slowly back to health. Word spread and people started coming to see him.

Initially, he depended on traditional Naga healing methods. Later, the diocese sent him to study holistic healing with the Medical Mission Sisters*.

“They did not have much to teach me, because they found that I was already practicing what they were teaching,” the priest claimed. However, he used the time to study Chinese and Japanese traditional healing, yoga, acupressure, acupuncture, stress management and other methods.

But beyond methods, Father Thapo credits prayer as playing a crucial role in his healing ministry. He said he often gets hints for treatment when he reads the Bible and confirms these through prayer. He also asks his patients to pray with him. “Whatever I do I surrender it to God,” he said.

The priest also credits prayer with helping him massage people for long hours without tiring. “When I pray, super sensory power comes,” he added. On one occasion two years ago, he recalled, he continuously saw patients for 24 hours without a break. On another occasion, he saw 102 patients in two days.

His healing massage sessions usually last at least half an hour, which time the priest also uses for counseling. He explained that people open up past emotional hurts and bad memories during massage and experience liberation as they feel themselves healed spiritually and physically.

Father Thapo says nearly 80 percent of his patients are women. Asked if he felt embarrassed massaging women, he said suffering does not discriminate on the basis of sex. Neither does he discriminate along sectarian lines.

According to the priest, his bishop views his ministry as a pastoral activity and a charism. Chancellor Father Solomon Vizo confirmed to UCA News that the diocese has recognized Father Thapo’s ministry.

Assisting Father Thapo in that ministry are two trained nurses, three midwives, four local experts and four helpers who prepare herbal medicines, tend an herbal garden and help patients. Initially, he offered his service free, but as his staff increased, he began charging 20 rupees (US$0.40) as a registration fee and 50 rupees for an hour of treatment. The “very poor” pay only the registration fee.

Asked if he faced opposition from medical doctors, the priest replied in the negative. Doctors, he said, “often send their patients to me — I also get things like cotton and bandages from them.”

*NOTE 1: The Medical Mission Sisters are the leading organized propagators of New Age Alternative Medicine in the Catholic Church in India. Their main Holistic Health Centre is at Bibwewadi in Pune. They have trained many hundreds of religious and priests in a wide range of esoteric therapies that include Acu-Yoga– a combination of Acupressure, massage and Yoga,
reflexology, acupuncture
Touch for Health, homeopathy,
zen shiatsu, energy transmission, dream workshops
and more [advertisement in The Examiner, March 20, 2004]; reiki and
pranic healing
are the chief occult therapies taught by the sisters. See my separate report on these centres.

The logo of the Chennai centre [run by an ICM nun] is the occult yin-yang, while the Pune centre’s is slightly modified.

These centres have been set up with the approval of Archbishops and funding of Catholic agencies [which are again supported by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India] like The Catholic Health Association of India [CHAI, see page 31], another promoter of all these therapies, and CARITAS. 29.



*The Examiner, Bombay, August 23, 2003. “Letter to the Prime Minister”

The letter occupies almost a full page of The Examiner, but I reproduce here only the portion relevant to us:

“The idea of your Swasthya Suraksha Yojana is limited only towards one of the systems of medicine (western medicine – allopathy). How about having tertiary level hospitals of Ayurveda,
Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Naturopathy
which the government has recognized?” Letter to the editor,
by Ronald Rebello, Mumbai.

Who is Ronald Rebello
who wrote to the Prime Minister copy to The Examiner, asking for “
tertiary level hospitals of
” etc.? At the time of writing that letter, Ronald Rebello was just 21 years old.

He died on February 23, 2007, aged 25. He was the son of Dr. Leo Rebello. Who is Dr. Leo Rebello?

Dr. Leo Rebello is a lapsed Catholic, a leading New Ager and fanatic promoter of New Age Alternative Therapies.

Dr. Rebello wrote me that both their sons, Ronald and Robin were never subjected to any inoculations or vaccinations, and,
excepting homoeopathy, have never used any allopathic medicines, under their dad’s “professional” care.

It is therefore very sad to hear of Ronald Rebello’s 25 days of high fever which remained undiagnosed or refused to reduce, resulting in his untimely and unnecessary demise.

It is my sincere belief that Ronald Rebello would be alive today if his father had not denied him vaccinations, inoculations and allopathic treatment in favour of homeopathy and other dubious alternative medicines about which he has written so much in the books that he has authored. And this is the grave danger in what The Examiner is doing with issues concerning the health of its subscribers and readers as I have demonstrated in my many articles.

For example, The Examiner, March 1, 2008, “Cancer Therapy”
Letter to the Editor
by Dr. Neville S. Bengali, the doctor recommends magnet therapy claiming that it checks cancer in its initial stages; he also suggests

“a judicious co-ordination of different systems (like allopathy and/or homoeopathy with magnet therapy).”

Following such advice can prove fatal for patients who depend heavily on alternative therapies.


Dr. Leo Rebello of Mumbai is a classic case. This writer came into contact with him when he received a series of letters from the doctor, pouring out ire and vitriol on this ministry and on the Catholic Church in response to this writer’s summary of the Vatican’s New Age document that was published in The Coastal Observer and The Examiner [both of Mumbai] in May/June 2003.

Dr. Leo Rebello is the classic example of a New Ager in his propagation of holistic healing and alternative forms of medicine. Issuing a number of challenges [which this writer had no time to take up], he sent a parcel to this ministry. It contained Rebello’s book titled Aids & Alternative Medicine [first published 2000, third edition March 2003] and his magazine Amrit-Manthan, International Journal devoted to Holistic Healing. The book Aids…has a chapter A to Z of Alternative Medicine. It explains Acupuncture, Acupressure,
Affirmations, Auto-suggestion, Bach Flower Remedies, Biofeedback, Chromo-[or colour] therapy, Distant Healing, Feng Shui, Gem Therapy, Guided Imagery, Homoeopathy, Hypnotherapy, Iridology, Kinesiology, Kirlian Photography, Magneto-therapy, use of Qi [Ki or Chi or Prana], Radionics, Radiesthesia, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Silva Mind Control, Surya Namaskar, Yoga, Zone Therapy
, etc. Below is a letter that I received from him:

Dr. Leo Rebello
N R RAO ; Ekanath Thakur, MP
Narayan Rane, MLA ; Nilufer Palia

Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 8:12 AM Subject: Fw: PRESS RELEASE

SUKRUTYA TRUST (Regd), in association with NATURAL HEALTH CENTRE, Estd. in 1978, announces an Intensive Nature Cure course of two months duration in April and May, 2005 at Malad.

Subjects like Nature Cure, Yoga Therapy, Acupressure, Diet and Nutrition, Hydrotherapy, Fasting, Massage will be taught through lectures, power point presentation, practicals, case histories, and study notes.

The faculty consists of

1. Dr. Leo Rebello, N.D., Ph.D., D.Sc. FEMA

2. Shri Navinbhai Shah 3. Dr. N.H. Kamath, D.N.Y.S. 4. Ms Geeta Radhakrishnan and 5. Shri Harish Binde. 
Period: From 4th April, 2005 to 4th June, 2005 Evening lectures from 6:30p.m. – 8:30p.m.
Additional Features: Internship, Examination – written and viva, Certificate

Venue: Sukrutya Health Farm, Exim Estate, Rambug, Behind SBI Bank, S.V. Rd., Malad (West), Bombay.64


*The Chempakasseril Vaidyars of Pala in Kerala are Catholic Christians. The present Ayurvedacharya
Dr. C. J. Joseph, a Bachelor in Ayurvedic Medicine with a Diploma in Natural Therapy and a Doctorate in Integrated Medicine, is the grandson of the founder who started an ayurvedic centre in 1910 that grew into a hospital under his son, himself an ayurvedic doctor. Despite his claim of “combining and correlating ayurveda and modern systems of medicine”, a study of his treatise Ayurveda in a Nut Shell [purchased, incidentally, from the St. Pauls bookshop, Ernakulam] clearly reveals that one cannot be a student of ayurveda or any other alternative medical practice, without eventually being influenced into subscribing to beliefs and practices that are antithetical to those of Christianity.

Dr. Joseph teaches ayurveda as an “indigenous system such as naturopathy and yoga… [having] originated and developed from the various Vedic hymns.”

The compatibility of ayurveda with other New Age medicines is demonstrated by the casual manner in which Dr. Joseph includes in his book, recommendations on the ‘touch therapies’ Shiatsu
Reflexology, since massage [using medicinal leaves, powders, curd, ghee and oils] is an integral part of ayurvedic treatment, which relates them closely. He takes pains to explain their working principle as “the balance of the vital energy or ki in the meridians.” 30.



*I have written several reports on the New Age activities of CHAI, The Catholic Health Association of India which is based in Secunderabad. CHAI has been in the forefront of promoting alternative medicine in the Church. Over the years, its monthly, Health Action, has carried articles on New Age alternative therapies like acupuncture, reflexology, acu-yoga, shiatsu, homoeopathy, pranic healing, thought-therapy, etc., many of them authored by nuns and priests.

CHAI was one of the main organizers and participants at the 10th World Day of the Sick in Vailankanni in February 2002, at the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Good Health. [See separate reports.]

All of the ‘Catholic’ stalls at the exhibition on Alternative Medicine were loaded, some exclusively, with New Age propaganda for various healing systems based on occult life force and universal energies, as well as Theosophy.


*The Souvenir issued for the above celebrations contains an article, ‘Alternative Medicine’, by Dr. M. Devasahayam, an ordained Lutheran minister! His list of therapies ranges from Acupuncture
to Yoga.

About Acupuncture, he writes, “Acupuncture is a form of healing based on the concept that all body organs are interconnected channels, known as meridians and that illness occurs when the vital energy or qi (chee), flowing through these channels is partially blocked. An acupuncturist attempts to correct this imbalance by inserting thin needles along the meridians at designated points, called ‘acupoints’ and in certain cases twirling them, either manually or with an electrical device. He or she may combine the treatment with other traditional practices, such as herbal medicine, diet therapy and massage. The most effective acupuncturists are said to contribute their own qi, during the procedure. Transmission of energy occurs, when the needles are inserted or rotated.”


*Another article titled ‘Healing Touch for the Community’ by Dr. Sr. M. Amalavathy, an I.C.M. nun, was much the same and even more detailed, running into 16 pages.

Starting by saying that “God Brahma, the first teacher of medicine has taught nature medicine to yogis who were well united with Nature and God,” she explains several “Holistic Therapies” which include Acupuncture [conventional and
, Jin Shin Do, Acupressure, Reflexology, Sujok, Acu Yoga, Zen Shiatsu,
Zone Therapy
, members of the family under discussion in this article, [plus notes on Guided Imagery, Yoga, Reiki, Pranic Healing, etc.]

This nun runs an organization called Spiritual Human Yoga- Universal Energy – Mankind Enlightenment Love under a Vietnamese guru who has a wooden doll that reportedly [according to the sister] grows.

She rented a stall to promote this occult organization as well as the martial art of T’ai Ch’i.

This Souvenir reached thousands of Catholics in India and overseas, including the Bishops and Commissions of the CBCI, the Apostolic Nuncio to India, the Papal Delegate to the celebrations, Pontifical Councils of the Holy See, etc.

It doesn’t seem that anyone has noticed anything amiss! One can only imagine the dismal level of discernment and spiritual quality of those responsible in producing this Souvenir.

Detailed reports on the above [CHAI, and the Vailankanni celebrations and Souvenir], which were sent to the concerned Bishops of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, and presently only available in hardcopy, will soon be available on this website.


Let us examine Sr. Amalavathy’s explanations of some of the holistic therapies associated with this article:

is a simple, safe and effective method of applying pressure on specific acupuncture points of the body with the fingers in order to get maximum therapeutic effect.

Acupressure releases tension and improves ki (vital energy) flow and circulation.


Jin Shin Do: ‘Jin’ means ‘compassion’ or ‘benevolence’, ‘shin’ means ‘Spirit’, ‘Do’ means ‘Tao’ or ‘Way’.

Jin Shin Do is a traditional Japanese acupressure art, literally meaning, ‘the way of compassionate Spirit’.

Through the power of touch in Jin Shin Do, we can experience a wonderful state of energy balance in our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states of being. As we manifest compassion through the touch in Jin Shin Do, our spirits become progressively clearer, ability to absorb universal energy increases, emotions become balanced and there is a harmony between body and mind.


Acupuncture: ‘Acu’ means needle ‘puncture’ means ‘penetration’. Acupuncture is the oldest Chinese therapeutic system where needles are pricked in specific acupuncture points of the body along the specific meridians for the treatment of diseases. The concept of acupuncture evolved on the explanation of universe in the form of ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’. According to traditional Chinese medicine, energy passes through the meridians of the body as vital energy or prana energy, which regulates all the virtual functions of the body in health and diseases.

Interaction of ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ produce ‘Chi’, ‘Ki’
prana flow. Health of human being is denoted by the balance of ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ and the harmonious flow of vital energy ‘Chi’. There are 12 pairs of meridians plus two single meridians. Lately we have found there are many more extras meridians in the body.


Sujok: Hand and foot are special places where orderly correspondence, cure systems have been planted for the purpose of keeping us in good health. ‘Su’ stands for ‘hand’ and ‘Jok’ stands for ‘foot’.

Sujok is acupuncture of hand and foot. The Correspondence therapy of hand and foot and Byol meridian therapy are the two main therapies of Sujok. Byol… cures diseases by remote flow of energy… 31.



Auriculo acupuncture*: It is a branch of acupuncture which makes use of external ear to diagnose as well as to treat diseases… Ear possesses the representation of body and organism of an auricle in the upside down position.

Any disorder in the body will be transmitted neurologically to the corresponding area of the ear where the affected part of the body is represented. Auriculo therapy i.e. pricking the needle to the ear, brings back the homeostasis. It is done singly or combined with body acupuncture or scalp puncture. There are about 200 points in the Ear. *see pages 5, 6, 7, 31


Hand and Foot
Reflexology (Zone Therapy)
: Reflexology is a scientific method of treatment where pressure is applied at specific regions on the palms and the soles to cure specific diseases by stimulating the reflex Zones systematically to get the therapeutic effects…

When pressure points are pressed methodically, reflex stimulations reach the diseased organ or the part of the body, and thus blockages or congestions in the flow of vital energy or ‘Chi’ is regulated.


Acu-Yoga / Acu-Massage: In Acu-Yoga meditation and exercise, three contracted positions known as ‘locks’ are used. They are Root Lock (Mula Bandha), Diaphragm Lock (Uddiyana Bandha) and Neck Lock (Jalandhara Bandha). Applying of these three simultaneously is known as Master Lock. Application of these locks increases blood circulation, help regulate endocrine glands, rebalances the reproductive system and strengthens the urinary system.


Zen Shiatsu: Shiatsu Therapy is a form of manipulation administered by thumbs, fingers and palms without the use of any instruments, mechanical or otherwise, to apply pressure to the human skin, corrects internal malfunctioning and promotes and maintains health. It is an oriental therapeutic form of massage based on acupressure system of points and meridians. It is the well-known form of Japanese acupressure. ‘Shi’ means finger and ‘atsu’ means pressure.

It is difficult to imagine that Amalavathy is a Catholic nun and a qualified medical doctor.


*A Catholic friend from Secunderabad was involved in the Holistic Medicine and Alternative Therapies [HOMAT] 2003 International Exhibition in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. I checked the Brochure. Sure enough, I found that it
promoted Indian
ayurvedic therapies along with homoeopathy and Chinese traditional therapies like acupuncture



Sent: Sunday, August 10, 2008 9:23 AM Subject: Fw: REMINDER, PLEASE / THIRD LETTER

Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 6:36 PM Subject:

Sent: Monday, August 04, 2008 3:12 PM


Dear Reverend Father G. Thomas Jayaraj C. Ss. R.,

I am informed by friends in Bangalore that you made announcements at all Sunday Masses in Holy Ghost Church, Bangalore that, authorised by you, acupuncture classes or courses are to be conducted in your parish.

I believe that you may not be aware that Acupressure [and therefore Acupuncture] and other alternatives therapies with similar philosophical and practical applications have been named in the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age, and several of the related beliefs of Chinese alternative medicine are therein explained as being contradictory to Catholic belief/Church teaching and Biblical revelation.

My explanation of Acupuncture has been published in a Catholic magazine. Would you permit me to mail you a copy of the same? In Jesus’ Name, Michael Prabhu, Catholic apologist, Chennai NO RESPONSE RECEIVED



Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 4:38 PM

Accupuncture on KC

—– Original Message —–
bernard thamm
Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 12:21 AM

Subject: Re: [KonkaniCatholics] Prayers for my Son – Soccer Injury

Dear Daisy, It’s now that I’m writing to you.
I have had a similar case as your son. The disc and what you said. Those are horrible pains. In the course of about three months I have had only three injections, plus tablets for the first 5 weeks or so, besides going through 15 therapy sessions with accupuncture. The accupuncture worked well relieving most of the pain. It is not like tablets but works slower for longer and depending of how one goes about that illness, one is painfree after…
Bernhard Thamm, Bremen, Germany

XXXX Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 10:40 AM Subject: Re: Accupuncture on KC











Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 9:22 PM Subject: Acupuncture!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Bro. Bernhard 

First of all do not treat this mail as a complaint, but as gentle reminder from a fellow Catholic… in Christ. I was pretty shocked to see the suggestion for acupuncture on KC. Here I wish to bring it your kind attention the use of ACUPUNCTURE along with other eastern alternative medicines or new age practices are not in accordance with our Church teachings. As they have strong occult influence in its very making. For your kind perusal and all at KC,  can look into the Vatican document on the New Age; JESUS CHRIST THE BEARER OF THE WATER OF LIFE, released on FEBRUARY 3,2003 as an alternative medicine or new age alternative therapy in the section, ” Health-Golden Living” (#2.2.3).

We are indeed blessed to have brother Michael Prabhu in the forum, who is an expert on New Age. Though I’m quite surprised by his silence on this very topic. This above mentioned document can be retrieved from Bro. Michael’s website: with prayers XXXX

Austine J. Crasta ; Deepak Vian Ferrao ; ; Rohit D’Souza ; Rohit D’Souza ; vincent barboza ; vincent barboza
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 12:26 PM


Dear Austine, and friends,

…I am sharing with you my correspondence with Archbishop Vincent {Concessao of Delhi}, because of the recent posting of bro. Bernhard Thamm in KC and the response of XXXX. The correspondence is copied further below. I seem to have received all KC Digests [1251 through 1261], but not the one that carried Bernhard’s letter. If XXXX had not written me, I would never had known. I pray that Austine or someone else of you will reply at once and tell me which particular Digest carried Bernhard’s letter. So I can check on how I happened to miss on it.

I did not see any response from any other member, either, and that too surprises me, because KC members are otherwise more alert to spiritual error than other Catholics. If no one responded, I sincerely feel that, like Archbishop Vincent, we must admit that we erred through ignorance or inadvertence, and correct the wrong posting. I also seem to have missed XXXX’s response in the KC Digest and if it has not been posted, I am sure I should see it today… Love, Michael

Austine J. Crasta
prabhu ; Deepak Vian Ferrao ; ; Rohit D’Souza ; Rohit D’Souza ; vincent barboza ; vincent barboza
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 3:16 PM


JMJ Dear Michael, 

…Regarding the other issues you have raised, I shall respond to you after I hear from you personally regarding my mail dated October 16, 2007 which was a reply to your personal mail dated October 15, 2007 with subject “PILGRIMAGE”. Love, Austine. [NO EXPLANATION WAS GIVEN OR CORRECTION ISSUED BY KONKANICATHOLICS]




27 Nov 1989

BANGALORE, India (UCAN) The Dalai Lama told an international meeting of medical practitioners here Nov. 8 to exercise their spiritual responsibility for the future of the world by working to develop a healthy environment.

The Tibetan spiritual leader and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize recipient opened the first International Conference on Holistic Health and Medicine held here in south India Nov. 8-11. The Buddhist monk said that “in all fields of life, the feeling that we are human beings is vital. All activities should be humanized.”

In a declaration at the end of the conference, delegates proposed establishing an organization to encourage greater cooperation among health care systems, and advocated informed choice of health care. Locally, an Indian Association of Holistic Health and Medicine was formed.

The conference included lectures and workshops on oriental and traditional medical systems such as ayurveda, yoga, acupuncture and Tibetan medicine.

Doctor R. M. Verma, an Indian neurosurgeon, said the conference, with 500 delegates from 25 countries, was the first of its kind. “The holistic approach facilitates the development of a multi-dimensional approach to health intervention, incorporating also the spiritual dimension,” he said.

Other seminar participants expressed similar views.

— Doctor V. Parameswara said the World Health Organization defined health as not just the absence of illness, but a state of complete (physical, mental and social) well-being. He said “holistic health is a philosophy of life, not a competitor with other forms of medicine.”




— Swami Satchidananda, spiritual head of Yogaville in the United States, said all scriptures say nothing can be achieved without perfect health. He described the holistic movement as the “ecumenical approach in medicine.”

Paulose Mar Gregorios*, a president of the World Council of Churches, said the body and mind are not the only focus of holistic health. “As a Christian, I feel that the factor of faith, one’s attitude to reality, is vital. Faith is the capacity to lean on the whole, and to be free from tension because of this leaning.” He called for development of a new theoretical paradigm in medicine and the setting up of healing communities where holistic healing can be experienced. “Excessive de-personalization and technologization of the healing process is destructive of the human person,” he said.

— Doctor Carlos Warter, president of the World Health Foundation, said, “we believe that the time is ripe at this conference for a quantum leap in the field of medicine that the physicists have already achieved.”

— In one of the lectures on the theme “science, technology and philosophy of holistic health and medicine,” Doctor Andrew Weil expressed concern that science and medicine have taken over the role of religion in modern society.

The essential job of a priest or shaman is to act as an intermediary between the visible and invisible, he said, and “for doctors to be good priests they should recognize the invisible reality.”

Post-conference courses were held on holistic approaches in
psychoneuro-immunology, the Alexander Technique, spiritual healing, electro-magnetic therapy, homeopathy and naturopathic medicine.

The second International Conference on Holistic Health and Medicine is scheduled for 1992 in Oxford, England.

*The late Orthodox Archbishop of Kottayam, Paulose Mar Gregorios, was a leading propagator of New Age alternative medicine. He is the author of ‘Healing- A Holistic Approach’, 1995. I have written about him in some of my other reports.


Health Ministry says homeopathic medicine little more than a placebo

“No scientific proof” that natural remedies work beyond psychological impact, although acupuncture appears to help with nausea – REYES RINCÓN
– Seville – 28/12/2011

Acupuncture can be effective in addressing some of the side effects of chemotherapy, but there is no evidence that it helps with quitting smoking or losing weight.

Research into homeopathy suggests a placebo effect rather than any real impact on illness, while physiotherapy and osteopathy can help with some health issues, concludes a new report by the Health Ministry into natural and alternative medicines and therapies, commissioned by Congress.

The report, ordered in 2007 by the lower house with a view to regulating the alternative medicine sector, was carried out in conjunction with the Carlos III Health Institute and the support of some regional governments. After carrying out clinical trials on 139 different treatments, it concludes that there is no scientific evidence that such treatments work other than to make patients feel better about themselves.

Acupuncture comes out best in the report. Clinical trials carried out by the Health Ministry’s researchers show that the ancient Chinese needle treatment can help to reduce the nausea and vomiting often produced by chemotherapy. It can also be “useful” for patients with migraine and chronic lower back pain.

But the report also warns that tests showed that incorrectly applied acupuncture treatment produced similar effects to correct treatment, suggesting a strong placebo aspect.

The report suggests that further research be carried out into the use of acupuncture in treating fibromyalgia, arthritis, insomnia, and back pain, noting “positive” first indicators. It adds in acupuncture’s favor that, as with most alternative therapies, there are no negative side effects.

Regarding homeopathy, the report cites nine scientific studies in dealing with a wide range of health problems from flu to cancer, dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy, as well as osteoarthritis, birth induction, asthma, dementia, depression, and lactation colic. It says the results are “contradictory” and point to “a placebo effect.” That said, homeopathy treatments carried out by professionals are “safe,” above all because doses tend to be heavily diluted to the point that patients are often taking in little more than water.

The report also looked at the effectiveness of physiotherapy and other forms of body manipulation, typically based on massage. The Health Ministry’s researchers concluded that there were some benefits to such treatments in certain cases, for example, lower back pain, “particularly when combined with exercises.”

Again, the report says that further research is necessary to determine the impact of physiotherapy over the long term. It noted that spinal massage was of no use in treating headaches, but that massage can have beneficial psychological effects on cancer patients.

An important part of the research was to inform Congress about how best to regulate the alternative medicine sector.

At present there is no specific legislation, although a law passed in 2003 dealing with health centers and medical services generally recognizes “unconventional therapies.” The current law defines them as “assistance during which the medic is responsible for carrying out treatments for illnesses by means of natural or homeopathic remedies or through peripheral stimulation techniques with needles or other devices that demonstrate their efficacy or safety.”

The region with the most authorized alternative medicine centers is Andalusia, with 59, followed by the Basque Country with 37. So far only Catalonia has passed legislation specifically covering alternative medicine. Most of the regional governments consulted by the Health Ministry’s team said they were in favor of regulating the sector. 34.




The report points out the problems in registering practitioners of alternative medicine. “It is not easy to clearly identify professionals working with natural therapies because of the myriad terms used to describe the same processes or medicines,” says the report. It estimates that there are around 9,000 doctors that regularly prescribe homeopathic medicines.

In theory, practitioners of homeopathic medicine must hold a higher education qualification in Health Sciences. At present it is not possible to gain a qualification at technical college level. But the report concludes that there are people applying alternative therapies “with no professional qualification.”

“Despite not being regulated by law, universities, private centers, sector associations, and other bodies are training health and other professionals,” warns the report.


Westminster Exorcist Says Promiscuity can Lead to Demonic Possession

By Hilary White WESTMINSTER, UK, August 15, 2008

A priest of Westminster, the leading diocese of the Catholic Church of England and Wales, has written that promiscuity, whether homosexual or heterosexual, can lead to dire spiritual consequences, in addition to the dangers to physical health. Promiscuity, as well as homosexuality and pornography, says 73 year-old Fr. Jeremy Davies, is a form of sexual perversion and can lead to demonic possession. Offering what may be an explanation for the explosion of homosexuality in recent years, Fr. Davies said, “Among the causes of homosexuality is a contagious demonic factor.”

Fr. Davies continues: “Even heterosexual promiscuity is a perversion; and intercourse, which belongs in the sanctuary of married love, can become a pathway not only for disease but also for evil spirits.”

“Some very unpleasant things must be mentioned because young people, especially, are vulnerable and we must do what we can to protect and warn them,” he told the Catholic Herald.

He also said that Satan is responsible for having blinded most secular humanists to the “dehumanising effects of contraception and abortion and IVF, of homosexual ‘marriages’, of human cloning and the vivisection of human embryos in scientific research.” Extreme secular humanism, “atheist scientism”, is comparable to “rational Satanism” and these are leading Europe into a dangerous state of apostasy. “Only by a genuine personal decision for Christ and the Church can someone separate himself from it.”

Fr. Davies’ (an Oxford graduate who is also a qualified physician) comments come in conjunction with the publication of his new book, entitled, “Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practice” published earlier this year by the Catholic Truth Society (CTS).

In the Catholic Church, exorcisms can only be performed by a priest who has the “express” permission of his bishop. According to the Code of Canon Law, only experienced priests can be chosen who exhibit, “piety, knowledge, prudence, and integrity of life.” Before the official rite of exorcism is used, the subject must also be examined thoroughly by doctors and psychiatrists to rule out any non-spiritual causes of his difficulties and physicians are often asked to assist during the course of an exorcism.

Fr. Davies also warns in his book against so-called New Age and occult practices, as well as trendy exercise and “spiritual healing” regimens derived from eastern religions.

“The thin end of the wedge (soft drugs, yoga for relaxation, horoscopes just for fun and so on) is more dangerous than the thick end because it is more deceptive – an evil spirit tries to make his entry as unobtrusively as possible.”

“Beware of any claim to mediate beneficial energies (e.g. reiki), any courses that promise the peace that Christ promises (e.g. Enneagrams), any alternative therapy with its roots in eastern religion (e.g. acupuncture).” Needless to say, overtly occult activities such as séances and witchcraft are “direct invitations to the Devil which he readily accepts.”

Fr. Davies was appointed exorcist of the Westminster Archdiocese in 1986 after a four month training period in Rome. In 1993 he co-founded, with Italy’s Father Gabriele Amorth, the International Association of Exorcists which now has hundreds of members worldwide. In 2000, Fr. Davies told the Independent newspaper that incidents of demonic possession are rising dramatically along with the increase of New Age beliefs and practices, ignorance of the Bible and a growth in spiritual confusion.

“At the centre of this is man’s ever-growing pride and attempted self-reliance. Man trying to build a better world without God – another Tower of Babel,” he said. In 2005, the Vatican recently made headlines around the world by publicly announcing the launch of a course on exorcism for priests

The Church’s writings on exorcism and demonic possession say that a person can be influenced or even possessed by demonic forces when they are “hardened” in serious sin and the Church specifies that these include people who are involved in heavy drug use, violence and sexual perversions. It is also noted that the “heinous crime” of abortion exacerbates these. Italian exorcist Fr. Gabriel Amorth writes that it is particularly difficult to liberate a victim who is guilty of abortion, and that this can take a “very long time”.

To order Fr. Davies’ book:






Reflexology was discovered around 1913 by Dr. William Fitzgerald who introduced zone therapy to the US. His method was based on Chinese acupressure. Many have adopted and modified his ideas and a new method of reflexology was birthed. Reflexologists believe that specific points are used top stimulate and heal the whole body. These are reflected in an intricate system contained in our hands and feet. These are the basic points although there are others throughout the body. Both light and hard pressure is applied to these points. There claim is that calcified deposits (crystals) around the nerve endings can be crushed and excreted out of the body which will result in better blood flow. This is true, however what is included is that the nerves will receive energy flow that was blocked by these deposits. This method uses many massage points that do not correspond to meridians of acupressure, but produces similar results. They believe there are 10 zones running from our fingers and toes corresponding to our organs, as we press on the hand corresponding to the internal organ it well be relieved. This again has occultic ties through the occult science and arts that teaches we have everything related to each other, all is united as one.

“Reflexology is a technique of applying pressure to specific points on the feet, hands or ears.  The method is most commonly used on the feet, largely because they have so many nerve endings and so are quite sensitive. Reflexologists believe that the foot functions as a microcosm of the entire body, and that reference points or reflex areas in the foot correspond to all the major organs, glands and parts of the body.

“Proponents believe that applying pressure to a specific area of the foot spurs the movement of energy along channels in the body to the corresponding area – a process which promotes better health by reducing stress, improving circulation, eliminating toxins, speeding healing, and generally balancing and energizing the body” (Family Guide to Natural Medicine, pp. 168, 169).

Here are the areas massaged and their corresponding organs affected

Toes = sinus

Arch of foot=spinal column

Tips of fingers =sinus

Thumb side of hand= spinal column

A foot massage will feel great, but there is no scientific proof that are our whole body is reflected in our hands and feet.  Certainly to increase the blood flow makes the body relax and function better.  If what is claimed is true every time we walk barefoot it would affect our health for either good or bad. Anytime we hurt ourselves on the hand or foot we would also be affected internally. I don’t think there is any scientific proof the body works like this. It certainly would be non beneficial if it did.  This has always been the view of the occult arts that what is within is without and man is the microcosm of the macrocosm. That all of our body is integrated to affect not only what is inside but also other people.  This is pantheism that a life-force flows through all things and that everything is one.  The bible refutes this Idea by stating that God is greater than what He creates and is not subject to his own natural laws.

No one explains how the body from the foot and fingers is connected to the inner organs by energy lines and meridians nor how they discovered these energy systems, something to think about before buying into this new age spiritual system as proven medicine.


Be Wary of Acupuncture, Qigong and “Chinese Medicine”

By Stephen Barrett, M.D.
“Chinese medicine,” often called “Oriental medicine” or “traditional Chinese medicine (TCM),” encompasses a vast array of folk medical practices based on mysticism.
It holds that the body’s vital energy (chi or qi) circulates through channels called meridians that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions. Illness is attributed to imbalance or interruption of chi. Ancient practices such as acupuncture, Qigong, and the use of various herbs are claimed to restore balance.
Traditional acupuncture, as now practiced, involves the insertion of stainless steel needles into various body areas. A low-frequency current may be applied to the needles to produce greater stimulation. Other procedures used separately or together with acupuncture include: moxibustion (burning of floss or herbs applied to the skin); injection of sterile water, procaine, morphine, vitamins, or homeopathic solutions through the inserted needles; applications of laser beams (laserpuncture); placement of needles in the external ear (auriculotherapy); and acupressure (use of manual pressure). Treatment is applied to “acupuncture points,” which are said to be located throughout the body. Originally there were 365 such points, corresponding to the days of the year, but the number identified by proponents during the past 2,000 years has increased gradually to about 2,000 [1]. Some practitioners place needles at or near the site of disease, whereas others select points on the basis of symptoms. In traditional acupuncture, a combination of points is usually used.
Qigong is also claimed to influence the flow of “vital energy.” Internal Qigong involves deep breathing, concentration, and relaxation techniques used by individuals for themselves. External Qigong is performed by “Qigong masters” who claim to cure a wide variety of diseases with energy released from their fingertips. However, scientific investigators of Qigong masters in China have found no evidence of paranormal powers and some evidence of deception. They found, for example, that a patient lying on a table about eight feet from a Qigong master moved rhythmically or thrashed about as the master moved his hands. But when she was placed so that she could no longer see him, her movements were unrelated to his [2]. Falun gong, which China recently banned, is a Qigong variant claimed to be “a powerful mechanism for healing, stress relief and health improvements.” 36.


Most acupuncturists espouse the traditional Chinese view of health and disease and consider acupuncture, herbal medicine, and related practices to be valid approaches to the full gamut of disease. Others reject the traditional approach and merely claim that acupuncture offers a simple way to achieve pain relief. The diagnostic process used by TCM practitioners may include questioning (medical history, lifestyle), observations (skin, tongue, color), listening (breathing sounds), and pulse-taking. Six pulse aspects said to correlate with body organs or functions are checked on each wrist to determine which meridians are “deficient” in chi. (Medical science recognizes only one pulse, corresponding to the heartbeat, which can be felt in the wrist, neck, feet, and various other places.) Some acupuncturists state that the electrical properties of the body may become imbalanced weeks or even months before symptoms occur. These practitioners claim that acupuncture can be used to treat conditions when the patient just “doesn’t feel right,” even though no disease is apparent.
TCM (as well as the folk medical practices of various other Asian countries) is a threat to certain animal species. For example, black bears — valued for their gall bladders — have been hunted nearly to extinction in Asia, and poaching of black bears is a growing problem in North America.


Dubious Claims

The conditions claimed to respond to acupuncture include chronic pain (neck and back pain, migraine headaches), acute injury-related pain (strains, muscle and ligament tears), gastrointestinal problems (indigestion, ulcers, constipation, diarrhea), cardiovascular conditions (high and low blood pressure), genitourinary problems (menstrual irregularity, frigidity, impotence), muscle and nerve conditions (paralysis, deafness), and behavioral problems (overeating, drug dependence, smoking). However, the evidence supporting these claims consists mostly of practitioners’ observations and poorly designed studies. A controlled study found that electroacupuncture of the ear was no more effective than placebo stimulation (light touching) against chronic pain [3]. In 1990, three Dutch epidemiologists analyzed 51 controlled studies of acupuncture for chronic pain and concluded that “the quality of even the better studies proved to be mediocre. . . . The efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic pain remains doubtful.” [4] They also examined reports of acupuncture used to treat addictions to cigarettes, heroin, and alcohol, and concluded that claims that acupuncture is effective as a therapy for these conditions are not supported by sound clinical research [5].
Acupuncture anesthesia is not used for surgery in the Orient to the extent that its proponents suggest. In China physicians screen out patients who appear to be unsuitable. Acupuncture is not used for emergency surgery and often is accompanied by local anesthesia or narcotic medication [6].
How acupuncture may relieve pain is unclear. One theory suggests that pain impulses are blocked from reaching the spinal cord or brain at various “gates” to these areas. Another theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates the body to produce narcotic-like substances called endorphins, which reduce pain. Other theories suggest that the placebo effect, external suggestion (hypnosis), and cultural conditioning are important factors. Melzack and Wall note that pain relief produced by acupuncture can also be produced by many other types of sensory hyperstimulation, such as electricity and heat at acupuncture points and elsewhere in the body. They conclude that “the effectiveness of all of these forms of stimulation indicates that acupuncture is not a magical procedure but only one of many ways to produce analgesia [pain relief] by an intense sensory input.” In 1981, the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs noted that pain relief does not occur consistently or reproducibly in most people and does not operate at all in some people [7].
In 1995, George A. Ulett, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Missouri School of Medicine, stated that “devoid of metaphysical thinking, acupuncture becomes a rather simple technique that can be useful as a non-drug method of pain control.” He believes that the traditional Chinese variety is primarily a placebo treatment, but electrical stimulation of about 80 acupuncture points has been proven useful for pain control [8].
The quality of TCM research in China has been extremely poor. A recent analysis of 2,938 reports of clinical trials reported in Chinese medical journals concluded that that no conclusions could be drawn from the vast majority of them. The researchers stated: In most of the trials, disease was defined and diagnosed according to conventional medicine; trial outcomes were assessed with objective or subjective (or both) methods of conventional medicine, often complemented by traditional Chinese methods. Over 90% of the trials in non-specialist journals evaluated herbal treatments that were mostly proprietary Chinese medicines. . . .
Although methodological quality has been improving over the years, many problems remain. The method of randomisation was often inappropriately described. Blinding was used in only 15% of trials. Only a few studies had sample sizes of 300 subjects or more. Many trials used as a control another Chinese medicine treatment whose effectiveness had often not been evaluated by randomised controlled trials. Most trials focused on short term or intermediate rather than long term outcomes. Most trials did not report data on compliance and completeness of follow up. Effectiveness was rarely quantitatively expressed and reported. Intention to treat analysis was never mentioned. Over half did not report data on baseline characteristics or on side effects. Many trials were published as short reports. Most trials claimed that the tested treatments were effective, indicating that publication bias may be common; a funnel plot of the 49 trials of acupuncture in the treatment of stroke confirmed selective publication of positive trials in the area, suggesting that acupuncture may not be more effective than the control treatments. [9]
Two scientists at the University of Heidelberg have developed a “fake needle” that may enable acupuncture researchers to perform better-designed controlled studies. The device is a needle with a blunt tip that moves freely within a copper handle. When the tip touches the skin, the patient feels a sensation similar to that of an acupuncture needle. At the same time, the visible part of the needle moves inside the handle so it appears to shorten as though penetrating the skin. When the device was tested on volunteers, none suspected that it had not penetrated the skin [10].


In 2004, a University of Heidelberg team proved the worth of their “sham acupuncture” technique in a study of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) in women who underwent breast or gynecologic surgery. The study involved 220 women who received either acupuncture or the sham procedure at the acupuncture point “Pericardium 6” on the inside of the forearm. No significant difference in PONV or anti-vomiting medication use was found between the two groups or between the people who received treatment before anesthesia was induced and those who received it while anesthetized [11]. A subgroup analysis found that vomiting was “significantly reduced” among the acupuncture patients, but the authors correctly noted that this finding might be due to studying multiple outcomes. (As the number of different outcome measures increases, so do the odds that a “statistically significant” finding will be spurious.) This study is important because PONV reduction is one of the few alleged benefits of acupuncture supported by reports in scientific journals. However, the other positive studies were not as tightly controlled..


Risks Exist

Improperly performed acupuncture can cause fainting, local hematoma (due to bleeding from a punctured blood vessel), pneumothorax (punctured lung), convulsions, local infections, hepatitis B (from unsterile needles), bacterial endocarditis, contact dermatitis, and nerve damage. The herbs used by acupuncture practitioners are not regulated for safety, potency, or effectiveness. There is also risk that an acupuncturist whose approach to diagnosis is not based on scientific concepts will fail to diagnose a dangerous condition.
The adverse effects of acupuncture are probably related to the nature of the practitioner’s training. A survey of 1,135 Norwegian physicians revealed 66 cases of infection, 25 cases of punctured lung, 31 cases of increased pain, and 80 other cases with complications. A parallel survey of 197 acupuncturists, who are more apt to see immediate complications, yielded 132 cases of fainting, 26 cases of increased pain, 8 cases of pneumothorax, and 45 other adverse results [12]. However, a 5-year study involving 76 acupuncturists at a Japanese medical facility tabulated only 64 adverse event reports (including 16 forgotten needles and 13 cases of transient low blood pressure) associated with 55,591 acupuncture treatments. No serious complications were reported. The researchers concluded that serious adverse reactions are uncommon among acupuncturists who are medically trained [13].
Moe recently, members of the British Acupuncture Council who participated in two prospective studies have reported low complication rates and no serious complications among patients who underwent a total of more than 66,000 treatments 14, 15]. An accompany editorial suggests that in competent hands, the likelihood of complications is small [16]. Since outcome data are not available, the studies cannot compare the balance of risks vs. benefit. Nor do the studies take into account the likelihood of misdiagnosis (and failure to seek appropriate medical care) by practitioners who use traditional Chinese methods.


Questionable Standards

In 1971, an acupuncture boom occurred in the United States because of stories about visits to China by various American dignitaries. Entrepreneurs, both medical and nonmedical, began using flamboyant advertising techniques to promote clinics, seminars, demonstrations, books, correspondence courses, and do-it-yourself kits. Today some states restrict the practice of acupuncture to physicians or others operating under their direct supervision. In about 20 states, people who lack medical training can perform acupuncture without medical supervision. The FDA now classifies acupuncture needles as Class II medical devices and requires labeling for one-time use by practitioners who are legally authorized to use them [17]. Acupuncture is not covered under Medicare. The March 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Chiropractic Association carried a five-part cover story encouraging chiropractors to get acupuncture training, which, according to one contributor, would enable them to broaden the scope of their practice [18].
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) has set voluntary certification standards and certified several thousand practitioners. By November 1998, 32 states had licensing laws, with 29 of them using NCCAOM examination as all or part of their educational, training, or examination requirement, and three with additional eligibility criteria. The credentials used by acupuncturists include C.A. (certified acupuncturist), Lic. Ac. (licensed acupuncturist), M.A. (master acupuncturist), Dip. Ac. (diplomate of acupuncture), and O.M.D. (doctor of Oriental medicine). Some of these have legal significance, but they do not signify that the holder is competent to make adequate diagnoses or render appropriate treatment.
In 1990, the U.S. Secretary of Education recognized what is now called the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) as an accrediting agency. However, such recognition is not based on the scientific validity of what is taught but upon other criteria [19]. Ulett has noted:
Certification of acupuncturists is a sham. While a few of those so accredited are naive physicians, most are nonmedical persons who only play at being doctor and use this certification as an umbrella for a host of unproven New Age hokum treatments. Unfortunately, a few HMOs, hospitals, and even medical schools are succumbing to the bait and exposing patients to such bogus treatments when they need real medical care.
The National Council Against Health Fraud has concluded:

—Acupuncture is an unproven modality of treatment.

—Its theory and practice are based on primitive and fanciful concepts of health and disease that bear no relationship to present scientific knowledge

—Research during the past 20 years has not demonstrated that acupuncture is effective against any disease.




—Perceived effects of acupuncture are probably due to a combination of expectation, suggestion, counter-irritation, conditioning, and other psychologic mechanisms.

—The use of acupuncture should be restricted to appropriate research settings,

—Insurance companies should not be required by law to cover acupuncture treatment,

—Licensure of lay acupuncturists should be phased out.

—Consumers who wish to try acupuncture should discuss their situation with a knowledgeable physician who has no commercial interest [20].


The NIH Debacle

In 1997, a Consensus Development Conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and several other agencies concluded that “there is sufficient evidence . . . of acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value.” [21] The panelists also suggested that the federal government and insurance companies expand coverage of acupuncture so more people can have access to it. These conclusions were not based on research done after NCAHF’s position paper was published. Rather, they reflected the bias of the panelists who were selected by a planning committee dominated by acupuncture proponents [22]. NCAHF board chairman Wallace Sampson, M.D., has described the conference “a consensus of proponents, not a consensus of valid scientific opinion.”
Although the report described some serious problems, it failed to place them into proper perspective. The panel acknowledged that “the vast majority of papers studying acupuncture consist of case reports, case series, or intervention studies with designs inadequate to assess efficacy” and that “relatively few” high-quality controlled trials have been published about acupuncture’s effects. But it reported that “the World Health Organization has listed more than 40 [conditions] for which [acupuncture] may be indicated.” This sentence should have been followed by a statement that the list was not valid.

Far more serious, although the consensus report touched on Chinese acupuncture theory, it failed to point out the danger and economic waste involved in going to practitioners who can’t make appropriate diagnoses. The report noted:

—The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease. The acupuncturist can correct imbalances of flow at identifiable points close to the skin.

—Acupuncture focuses on a holistic, energy-based approach to the patient rather than a disease-oriented diagnostic and treatment model.

—Despite considerable efforts to understand the anatomy and physiology of the “acupuncture points,” the definition and characterization of these points remains controversial. Even more elusive is the scientific basis of some of the key traditional Eastern medical concepts such as the circulation of Qi, the meridian system, and the five phases theory, which are difficult to reconcile with contemporary biomedical information but continue to play an important role in the evaluation of patients and the formulation of treatment in acupuncture.

Simply stated, this means that if you go to a practitioner who practices traditional Chinese medicine, you are unlikely to be properly diagnosed.


Diagnostic Studies

In 1998, following his lecture at a local college, an experienced TCM practitioner diagnosed me by taking my pulse and looking at my tongue. He stated that my pulse showed signs of “stress” and that my tongue indicated I was suffering from “congestion of the blood.” A few minutes later, he examined a woman and told her that her pulse showed premature ventricular contractions (a disturbance of the heart’s rhythm that could be harmless or significant, depending on whether the individual has underlying heart disease). He suggested that both of us undergo treatment with acupuncture and herbs—which would have cost about $90 per visit. I took the woman’s pulse and found that it was completely normal. I believe that the majority of nonmedical acupuncturists rely on improper diagnostic procedures. The NIH consensus panel should have emphasized the seriousness of this problem.
A study published in 2001 illustrates the absurdity of TCM practices. A 40-year-old woman with chronic back pain who visited seven acupuncturists during a two-week period was diagnosed with “Qi stagnation” by 6 of them, “blood stagnation” by 5 , “kidney Qi deficiency” by 2, “yin deficiency” by 1, and “liver Qi deficiency” by 1. The proposed treatments varied even more. Among the six who recorded their recommendations, the practitioners planned to use between 7 and 26 needles inserted into 4 to 16 specific “acupuncture points” in the back, leg, hand, and foot. Of 28 acupuncture points selected, only 4 (14%) were prescribed by two or more acupuncturists. [23] The study appears to have been designed to make the results as consistent as possible. All of the acupuncturists had been trained at a school of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Six other volunteers were excluded because they “used highly atypical practices,” and three were excluded because they had been in practice for less than three years. Whereas science-based methods are thoroughly studied to ensure that they are reliable, this appears to be the first published study that examines the consistency of TCM diagnosis or treatment. I would expect larger studies to show that TCM diagnoses are meaningless and have little or nothing to do with the patient’s health status. The study’s authors state that the diagnostic findings showed “considerable consistency” because nearly all of the practitioners found Qi or blood stagnation. However, the most likely explanation is that these are diagnosed in nearly everyone. It would be fascinating to see what would happen if a healthy person was examined by multiple acupuncturists. 39.




1. Skrabanek P. Acupuncture: Past, present, and future. In Stalker D, Glymour C, editors. Examining Holistic Medicine. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1985.

2. Kurtz P, Alcock J, and others. Testing psi claims in China: Visit by a CSICOP delegation. Skeptical Inquirer 12:364-375, 1988.

3. Melzack R, Katz J. Auriculotherapy fails to relieve chronic pain: A controlled crossover study. JAMA 251:10411043, 1984

4. Ter Reit G, Kleijnen J, Knipschild P. Acupuncture and chronic pain: A criteria-based meta-analysis. Clinical Epidemiology 43:1191-1199, 1990.

5. Ter Riet G, Kleijnen J, Knipschild P. A meta-analysis of studies into the effect of acupuncture on addiction. British Journal of General Practice 40:379-382, 1990.

6. Beyerstein BL, Sampson W. Traditional Medicine and Pseudoscience in China: A Report of the Second CSICOP Delegation (Part 1). Skeptical Inquirer 20(4):18-26, 1996.

7. American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs. Reports of the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association, 1981. Chicago, 1982, The Association.

8. Ulett GA. Acupuncture update 1984. Southern Medical Journal 78:233234, 1985.

9. Tang J-L, Zhan S-Y, Ernst E. Review of randomised controlled trials of traditional Chinese medicine. British Medical Journal 319:160-161, 1999.

10. Streitberger K, Kleinhenz J. Introducing a placebo needle into acupuncture research. Lancet 352:364-365, 1998.

11. Streitberger K and others. Acupuncture compared to placebo-acupuncture for postoperative nausea and vomiting prophylaxis: A randomised placebo-controlled patient and observer blind trial. Anesthesia 59:142-149, 2004.

12. Norheim JA, Fennebe V. Adverse effects of acupuncture. Lancet 345:1576, 1995.

13. Yamashita H and others. Adverse events related to acupuncture. JAMA 280:1563-1564, 1998.

14. White A and others. Adverse events following acupuncture: Prospective surgery of 32,000 consultations with doctors and physiotherapists. BMJ 323:485-486, 2001.

15. MacPherson H and others. York acupuncture safety study: Prospective survey of 24,000 treatments by traditional acupuncturists. BMJ 323:486-487, 2001.

16. Vincent C. The safety of acupuncture. BMJ 323:467-468, 2001.

17. Acupuncture needle status changed. FDA Talk Paper T96-21, April 1, 1996

18. Wells D. Think acu-practic: Acupuncture benefits for chiropractic. Journal of the American Chiropractic Association 35(3):10-13, 1998.

19. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education. Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies and Associations. Criteria and Procedures for Listing by the U.S. Secretary For Education and Current List. Washington, D.C., 1995, U.S. Department of Education.

20. Sampson W and others. Acupuncture: The position paper of the National Council Against Health Fraud. Clinical Journal of Pain 7:162-166, 1991.

21. Acupuncture. NIH Consensus Statement 15: (5), November 3-5, 1997.

22. Sampson W. On the National Institute of Drug Abuse Consensus Conference on Acupuncture. Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine 2(1):54-55, 1998.

23. Kalauokalani D and others. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain: Diagnosis and treatment patterns among acupuncturists evaluating the same patient. Southern Medical Journal 94:486-492, 2001.


Swiss court jails “healer” for infecting 16 with HIV

Reuters, March 23, 2013

ZURICH: A self-styled healer was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in jail on Friday after a Swiss court found the acupuncturist guilty of infecting 16 people with HIV. A Berne court found the man guilty of causing bodily harm and spreading the virus which can cause Aids, court secretary Rene Graf told Reuters. He did not give any further details.

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of 15 years in jail, according to media reports.

“The accused and nobody else is responsible for infecting the 16 people,” Swiss news agency SDA quoted court president Urs Herren as saying, adding the man’s motive could have been to seek attention, exact revenge, or prove his omnipotence.

The 54-year-old from the Swiss capital Berne had consistently denied the charges, blaming the victims for contracting HIV through unprotected sex and intravenous drug use, Swiss media reported.

They did not reveal the man’s identity or nationality, in accordance with rules on Swiss criminal proceedings.

The case came to the attention of the authorities after an HIV-positive patient told a hospital he suspected his infection was linked to acupuncture treatments he received from the man.

The majority of the infected individuals were students of a music school run by the man, who also had an acupuncture practice. Some of the victims told the court he stabbed them with a needle from behind during treatment, SDA reported.

Police stormed the man’s home a week ago after he stopped coming to the trial. The man, who was free on bail, had barricaded himself inside and was armed with a knife, issuing threats to police, according to media reports.




Michael Prabhu
Sue Brinkmann ;
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:10 PM

Subject: ACUPUNCTURE – Michael Prabhu, India

March 27, 2013

Dear Susan,

If you link to any page of the Catholic Answers online forum today, there is the phrase “Catholic FAQ” at the left-hand top corner that asks the question, “Can I receive acupuncture for pain” under which is a box. You click on the box, and the link is given to

At this link, a member asks, “Can I receive acupuncture for pain relief without going against my Catholic teaching?”

On behalf of Catholic Answers, Fr. Vincent Serpa O.P.* replies “Certainly! There is not conflict between acupuncture and Catholicism.

*Recent apologetics answers by Fr. Vincent Serpa:

I am copying below, a couple of excerpts from letters that I received from a Catholic in
the UK who was once deep in New Age: 

I was heavily involved in the New Age – Reiki, yoga, occult and past life regression. I had an encounter with God in a church nearly 7 years ago. I was going to commit suicide but God helped me stopped drinking immediately and without withdrawal. I go to Mass every day now.  On a pilgrimage to a National Roman Catholic Shrine in England, I renounced all New Age practices. I have been a hypnotherapist and auricular acupuncturist until very recently and after reading your website, I feel that being I am being called by  Jesus Our Lord to become an evangelist. -November 12, 2010

I have seen something on acupuncture on Susan Brinkmann’s site that I completely disagree with – i.e. that Western acupuncture is ok. Not so. The concept of meridians is Taoist. –August 15, 2011

With regards, Michael

Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:10 PM

Subject: New Age Question

Thank you for your e-mail about The New Age. We will review your question and add it to the New Age blog of Questions and Answers at shortly.
God Bless You,



By Susan Brinkmann* July 16, 2010 *Continued from page 25

EB writes: “I have been seeing a certified acupressure therapist. Does this pertain to the New Age category like chiropractors?”

Yes, this is New Age.

Acupressure is known as “acupuncture without needles” and is a form of complementary medicine, meaning it is often combined with conventional medical treatments (see Understanding Complementary & Alternative Medicine)

Practitioner websites describe acupressure as “an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body’s life force to aid healing. Acupuncture and acupressure use the same points, but acupuncture employs needles, while acupressure uses the gentle but firm pressure of hands (and even feet).” (

An acupressure therapist may apply physical pressure to acupuncture points with the hand, elbow, or other device such as an acuball, energy roller or foot roller. One of the most commonly used acupressure device is the acupressure wristband – called “Sea Bands” – that many use to relieve symptoms of motion sickness.

As you may or may not know, acupuncture/acupressure is based in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the belief that a universal life force known as chi runs through the body through 14 channels known as meridians. Practitioners believe that sickness can be caused by blockages in the flow of chi, or imbalances in two opposing “energies” known as yin and yang. In order to cure illness and other maladies, a needle or pressure is applied to any one of hundreds of points on the body known as acupoints that are positioned along the meridians and which are thought to correspond to specific organs or body systems.

Even though acupuncture/acupressure has quite a following around the world, there is virtually no scientific evidence to support its efficacy for anything other than nausea and some types of pain (and even these conclusions are not convincing). While it’s true that the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health have come out in favor of acupuncture for some conditions, these statements have been heavily criticized for bias and reliance on poorly designed studies. However, science is studying acupuncture from a neuroscientific point-of-view rather than for its basis in traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed that acupuncture may cause the release of endorphins which are part of the body’s natural pain-control system; by stimulation of nerves in the spinal chord that release pain-suppressing neurotransmitters; or by the naturally occurring increase in blood flow in puncture areas that remove toxic substances. Scientists have arrived at no conclusions, however, and these studies are ongoing.

EB states that her therapist is “certified” but it doesn’t really matter because neither acupressure nor acupuncture work so visiting a practitioner will do little good other than give one a nice big placebo high for a few days. (See Power of Placebo)


Study: Relief from Acupuncture linked to Placebo Effect

By Susan Brinkmann August 24, 2010

A new study published last week in the Arthritis Care and Research journal found that among 455 patients with painful knee arthritis, acupuncture delivered no more relief than a sham treatment.

The New York Times is reporting that the study, conducted at the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston found that among the patients tested, there was no difference in pain relief between those who received acupuncture and those who received a phony version.

Acupuncture involves inserting needles at specific points in the body that traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe to be “energy centers”. However, because the type of “energy” that is allegedly manipulated in this process is scientifically unsubstantiated, scientists believe the principles of neuroscience and the release of pain-suppressing neurotransmitters may be behind its purported efficacy.

Critics say the MD Anderson study used a poorly designed sham in their research, but lead author, Dr. Maria E. Suarez-Almazor, says their sham treatment was developed with the help of trained acupuncturists.

“We really worked with acupuncturists who are trained in the Chinese traditional style and asked them to come up with a sham that could be credible,” Dr. Suarez-Almazor said. “We didn’t plan a study trying to show that acupuncture didn’t work. The results came out with no difference between the groups.”

She went on to clarify that in any drug study, an equal response in the treatment and placebo groups proves the drug does not work.

Other recent studies also seem to prove the presence of the “placebo” effect in acupuncture treatment. The Times cites a 2007 study of back-pain sufferers in Germany where half of the patients who participated in both sham and real acupuncture groups had less pain after a treatment compared to those who received physical therapy or other traditional back pain. Researchers also found that patients who received real acupuncture used only half as much pain medication as those who received a sham treatment.

This prompted researchers to speculate that the insertion of a needle in or around an area of pain produces a kind of “super placebo” effect that in turn touches off a series of reactions in the way people experience pain. 

Other studies, such as one financed by the National Institutes of Health in 2004, found that acupuncture significantly reduced pain in patients suffering with arthritic knees compared to those who received either a sham treatment or routine care. However, this study was called into question because recipients of the sham treatment may have discovered that they were getting a phony version of acupuncture, which would automatically negate the findings.


Acupuncture Remains Scientifically Unconvincing

By Susan Brinkmann January 13, 2011

JE writes: “I am seeking advice on acupuncture to help with back pain and depression. I have researched a little on valid health websites and have found some information that acupuncture might work. From a spiritual perspective is it as dangerous as practices reiki, or is there some gray area? Also what about seeking out a herbalist who I know is into New Age. I would be seeking the medicinal route, but even the thought of him touching me, makes me nervous. I think his herbs would not have anything put on them.”

Contrary to popular opinion (and the websites you visited), there is no scientific evidence proving that acupuncture works. Although thousands of anecdotal reports can be found through the centuries on this ancient practice, when it comes to evidence based science, there is little or no proof that acupuncture heals anything.

According to the Oxford-based Cochrane Collaboration, which has a global network of 10,000 health experts and a massive data base of medical research studies and clinical trials on just about every treatment you can think of, a systematic review of all the testing done on acupuncture has found no evidence that this treatment works for anything but some types of pain and nausea – and even these are not considered to be very strong conclusions.

Supporters of acupuncture like to argue that the reason acupuncture does so poorly in tests is because there is no acceptable “sham” of the procedure that can be used in blind- and double-blind tests. The problem is that the ideal “sham” must appear to be exactly like real acupuncture only the needles cannot pierce the skin – a difficult standard to reach.

However, Professor Edzard Ernst, who leads the Complementary Medicine Research Group at the University of Exeter and who has had a long history of interest in acupuncture, did indeed develop such a sham that has now been successfully used in trials. Prior to this discovery, Ernst had conducted 10 of his own clinical trials on acupuncture, wrote a book on the subject and currently sits on the editorial board of several acupuncture journals so it’s safe to say this scholar is not biased against acupuncture.

His needling procedure, which he developed with Jongbae Park, a Korean Ph.D. student in his group, uses a telescopic needle that only appears to penetrate the skin and even causes a minor sensation during its supposed insertion. 

Although it took several years to develop and test, when the “sham” was used in trials, patients believed they were receiving real acupuncture, making these tests the highest quality acupuncture trials ever conducted.

The results were disappointing for acupuncturists. The tests found no convincing evidence that real acupuncture is more effective than a placebo in the treatment of even the few somewhat positive results found by the Cochrane Collaboration such as the treatment of chronic tension headaches, nausea after chemotherapy, and migraine prevention.



During the same time frame, German researchers were also conducting large and very high quality trials with their own “sham”. The number of patients in these trials ranged from 200 to 1,000 people.

Although the results are still being analyzed, as of 2007, researchers released their initial conclusions from these mega trials which found that acupuncture was no more effective than sham acupuncture in treating the four ailments which were the subject of the tests – migraines, tension headaches, chronic low back pain and knee osteoarthritis.

Having said all this, you might want to reconsider spending your money on acupuncture treatments.

There is definitely a spiritual aspect to acupuncture that is rarely mentioned. Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine which has as its goal the restoration of harmony to each organ system in the body in order to resolve not only physical but emotional and spiritual imbalances as well. A person needs to be very informed about the acupuncturist who is working on them to be sure they are needling for physical health and not attempting to treat what they perceive to be “spiritual” imbalances.

I personally spoke with a former acupuncturist who practiced the Traditional Chinese Medicine form of acupuncture who said the procedure is routinely used to rid the body of bad spirits, much like our rite of exorcism. She even spoke about the special clothing the acupuncturist wears during these procedures to avoid contamination, and how they open a window or door in order to let the spirits out of the room. 

In another style of acupuncture, known as Five Element acupuncture, practitioners are trained to use their intuition to read “energy patterns” in their patients. “(A) Five Element Acupuncturist, while working with a patient, might intuitively detect heaviness around the person’s spiritual heart. Since these practitioners are deeply invested in emotional and spiritual well-being, they might decide to needle Stomach 12, an acupuncture point also known as ‘Broken Bowl’. This point addresses a spiritual state of being in which joy drains through the cracks, so that a person is unable to contain the experience of pleasure. Addressing this emotional imbalance will allow the patient to absorb more happiness, and hence, begin to heal physical imbalances as well.” (

Needless to say, there are numerous dangers inherent in allowing New Age and/or Eastern medicine practitioners to exercise control over your spiritual well-being, either directly or indirectly.

As for the herbalist, I would try to find one who is not associated with the New Age. Herbal medicine is one of the few alternatives that shows real promise from a scientific point of view. While the herbs this provider sells are probably not tainted in any way, why invest your money in people who promote New Age practices? Instead, give your hard earned dollars to people whose work is bringing good rather than confusion to the world.


Dry Needling and Acupuncture are too closely related for comfort

By Susan Brinkmann April 13, 2011

CC asks: “Can you tell me if ‘dry needling’ is a New Age practice?  I have heard a couple of people mention having had it done by their physicians in recent months and had never heard of it.”

Although dry needling, also called biomedical acupuncture, is different from acupuncture, and is not based on the insertion of needles in traditional acupuncture meridian sites, it is said to have been derived from acupuncture.

According to a Blue Cross/Blue Shield policy statement on dry needling, this treatment involves the insertion of a needle at a “trigger point” in the body, such as those that occur in skeletal muscles that produce pain. These trigger points are often associated with tension headaches, tinnitus, and pain in the joints or lower back. Similar to acupuncture, a dry needle is inserted into the trigger point directly instead of into the meridians (alleged energy centers) prescribed by traditional Chinese medical practitioners of acupuncture. Dry needling also uses the same type of acupuncture needle – a solid, round point, small gauge needle.

“Despite the fact that dry needling has been known for years, there have been few published studies measuring the effect on patient outcomes published in the peer reviewed literature. Those studies that are available have design flaws or comprise small study samples so that it is not possible to draw conclusions regarding patient outcomes,” Blue Cross writes.

It is therefore considered to be “experimental/investigational” and does not appear to be covered by this insurance provider.

According to Dr. Yuan-tao Ma, the author of a textbook on dry needling for physical therapists, this modality was first developed in the 1940′s by Janet Travell, M.D., a medical advisor to the White House during JFK’s administration. He and other proponents of the practice claim it is based on modern neurological research that suggests acupuncture treatments may work based on the release of pain-relieving endorphins or through nerve stimulation. While this is an intriguing and very plausible concept, it has yet to be demonstrated to a clinically relevant degree.

I could not recommend dry needling only because most of its proponents are practicing Chinese acupuncturists (and Chinese acupuncture is one of the darlings of New Age medicine) and because it’s not supported by evidence-based science.


Just What Are the Teachings of the Catholic Church on Yoga, Acupuncture, and Reiki Therapy?
This is a Traditionalist site -Michael

July 27, 2012, EXTRACT

Due to questions received from our previous two Yoga, Acupuncture and Reiki Therapy issues, we add this third article to clarify and solidify the teachings of the Catholic Church. ..




There are always a few exceptions, but generally, holistic healers (acupuncture practitioners) believe that illness is a SPIRITUAL condition and they use methods based on OCCULTISM and Eastern religious views.

Acupuncture originates in the belief that the yin-yang flows along invisible pathways in the body called meridians, and that illness results from an imbalance in these forces, or the blockage of these forces. Inserting the needles at certain points is supposed to allow a balanced flow of the body’s yin and yang energies.

Although there are theories that acupuncture works either because the placement of the needles send signals to the brain which release endorphins or because the needles block a pain signal to the brain, these theories have not been proven. Even if these theories prove correct, then the conclusion would be that it is not acupuncture that is working, since acupuncture is based on the idea that relief is coming from the flowing of chi and balancing of yin and yang.

What would be working is the relief of pain through endorphins and the blockage of pain signals. This is NOT the theory of traditional acupuncture. This relief would have nothing to do with chi, meridians, or yin and yang, but rather with biology and a proper understanding of the body.

Catholics should be discerning about practices such as acupuncture that have no medical basis and “exercises” like Tai Chi that are designed based on spiritual beliefs hostile to Christ’s claim to be the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

The fact that such a treatment may work is not good enough reason for using it. Many things in the occult and mystical world seem to work. The standard for Catholics in adopting a spiritually based idea or practice is not whether it works, but will it cause spiritual harm.

We are admonished to “…believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be from God: because many false prophets are gone into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

These words should be taken to heart in regards to many other holistic and alternative treatments as well—Tao, Reiki therapy, etc.

Here’s a response we received from a gentleman from a previous article on this subject:

“I assure you that I am at peace being both a traditional Catholic and one who would unhesitatingly visit my herbalist in preference to an allopath for any number of problems. As one who daily prays the rosary and wears the brown scapular, I do not expect to rely on prayer and sacramentals (sic) to cure physical ailments.”

First, we would recommend to this gentleman that he rethink his outlook on prayer and the Sacraments. Saying “I do not expect to rely on prayer and the sacramentals to cure physical ailments” is a clear sign he lacks trust in the Lord. We recommend that he read the 91 Psalm, Chapters 9 through 15 to reassure his faith and trust in the Lord and that the Lord will provide. “The Lord will give you everything you ask for, or something better”—St. Bernard

Additionally, it appears obvious that he has no confidence in the Rosary and Brown scapular. He says, “I do not expect to rely on prayer…” We would recommend that he heed what Sister Lucia of Fatima told: “There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot solve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary”.



By Andrew Fergusson
As Christians we should be concerned about possible spiritual harm. By associating in whatever way, however remote, with a therapy perhaps permeated by non-Christian or even anti-Christian ideology, are patients not at risk of spiritual harm?

Most Nucleus readers will have come across acupuncture. Perhaps a consultant anaesthetist was using it occasionally in a pain clinic you sat in on, and there did not appear to be any obvious ‘spiritual’ activity going on. Perhaps you’ve seen the charts of meridians in a local ‘health’ shop, alongside all sorts of weird and wonderful New Age alternative therapies and there did not appear to be any helpful ‘medical’ aspect then. Perhaps you’ve already had acupuncture treatment yourself, and some of your Christian friends have said you thereby came under occult influence, while other Christian friends wanted the details of your therapist and wondered ‘Would acupuncture do anything for me?’

This article assesses acupuncture from both Christian and scientific medical perspectives. Whilst working as a GP in the 1980s I sat on CMF’s Medical Study Group as it investigated the whole phenomenon of alternative medicine, considering the key concepts in general and then certain therapies in particular. Acupuncture was one of those we studied in detail and my views were largely formed then.

What is acupuncture?
It is a traditional form of Chinese medicine which involves stimulating the skin at strategic places, called acupuncture points, to produce therapeutic benefits. Usually this stimulation is done using fine needles which ought to be sterile and used once only, but variations on a theme include:

Acupressure – the use of blunt pressure, without puncture, over the same points

Laser acupuncture – use of lasers on the same points

Electroacupuncture – using electric current

Moxibustion – various substances are burnt on the skin at the acupuncture points

Where did acupuncture originate?
The treatment has probably been used in China since around 1600 BC but the term ‘acupuncture’ is European, the idea having been brought to Europe from Nagasaki by Willem ten Rhyne in 1683. {1} During the Ching dynasty (AD 1644-1911) acupuncture fell out of favour in China but has become more widely used there since the Communist revolution and it is of course very popular now in the West.



What explanations are there for how acupuncture might work?
Because of this Chinese origin the first explanation for acupuncture came out of Chinese culture and belief. They held (and many in China and elsewhere still do) that there are two opposing life forces (Yin and Yang) which circulate in special channels (meridians) throughout the body. Disease is caused by an imbalance of these forces and can be rectified by regulating the flow of energy in these meridians. This can be achieved by stimulating acupuncture points located along these meridians.

This general philosophy lives on in today’s ‘traditional Chinese medicine’ and acupuncture is a major part of this concept. Professor Edzard Ernst, head of the department of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, and a man who has gained widespread respect in both the orthodox and alternative communities for applying to alternative medicine the same rigorous criteria demanded in orthodox medicine, comments: {2} ‘Neither the meridians nor the acupuncture points have ever been shown to exist in an anatomical sense, nor has the existence of Yin and Yang been demonstrated convincingly. For these and other reasons, critics tend to reject traditional acupuncture.’

However, given that there is some objective evidence of limited benefit (see below), conventional Western medical thinking has some suggestions of ‘scientific’ mechanisms that might be involved:

1. Counter-irritant action

This is an obvious if over-simplistic suggestion. Mothers worldwide know that ‘rubbing it better’ helps their child’s bruised knee, and the many rubefacients on the market work by ‘taking your mind off’ the pain underneath the area being stimulated. (It may be of course that the touch alone has some therapeutic benefit.) However, this concept would not explain how needling the knee can relieve period pains, if indeed it can. Two more recent concepts are:

2. ‘Gate theory’

In 1965 Melzack and Wall proposed a new theory for pain mechanisms, whereby only certain nerve signals could get in and out of the ‘gate’ into consciousness at any one time. On this electrophysiological model, acupuncture may exert its analgesic effect partly through the selective excitation of efferent pain inhibitory pathways. This poorly understood but probably respectable concept might allow a scientific explanation of how a needle in one area of the body could affect another part of the body.

3. Endorphins

These central nervous system chemical transmitters might provide another explanation for the analgesic effect of acupuncture as there is experimental evidence that endorphins (in the cerebrospinal fluid) and enkephalins (in the serum) are released in response to acupuncture. Naloxone, a drug which reverses the effect of exogenous opiates (which themselves work on endorphin receptors) can in most instances reverse the analgesic effects of acupuncture. This perhaps adds further weight to the suggestion that acupuncture may work through endorphins.

Whatever the explanation, today, the two schools of ‘traditional Chinese’ acupuncture and ‘Western’ acupuncture exist in our culture side by side. The former is typically practised by non-medically trained practitioners, the latter by qualified physicians. In the private sector a typical session would cost between £20 and £50, but one session is rarely enough. Most therapists would recommend six to twelve sessions, and to repeat treatments at regular intervals.

What evidence is there that acupuncture works?
In the helpful general review quoted earlier, Professor Ernst summarised the results of the 200 or so controlled clinical trials of acupuncture which had sought to determine whether or not it was more effective than other treatments, including ‘sham’ acupuncture (which has usually meant sticking needles into non-acupuncture points). After a ‘systematic review’ evaluation of all the available data he has concluded that acupuncture is of proven benefit for:

-nausea and vomiting

-dental pain

-low back pain when not caused by a specific disease.

The same review approach suggests strongly that acupuncture is no more effective than sham acupuncture for:

-losing weight

-stopping smoking

He lists many conditions ‘for which trial data are available, and where the evidence is neither convincingly positive nor negative. This can be because results are conflicting, or the trials are of poor quality’. These conditions are:


-inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis


-drug addictions


-neck pain


Claims are made about many other conditions but Professor Ernst refuses to rule on these in the absence of evidence. He concludes ‘the bottom line is that acupuncture seems to be more than “just a placebo” for some conditions, but it is clearly not a “cure-all”‘.

Has acupuncture got harmful physical side-effects?
The answer is ‘yes’. The most frequently reported adverse effects are bruising and pain felt during the needling, and (interestingly) fainting and drowsiness directly after an acupuncture session .[2]

The use of non-sterile needles may cause infections. One overview documents 126 cases of hepatitis, [3] and three cases of HIV infection have been suggested though causality has not been established beyond reasonable doubt. [4, 5]



A British Medical Journal leading article [6] details one case of subacute bacterial endocarditis due to infection with Propionibacterium acnes apparently via ear acupuncture, similar infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, three cases (one fatal) of staphylococcal septicaemia, and one of bilateral psoas abscesses due to Staphylococcus aureus.

The inevitable tissue trauma can also cause complications. At least 65 cases of pneumothorax have been reported, [3] as have several cases of cardiac tamponade, one fatal. [7] Other serious complications range from retained needles to injury of the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. [8] Probably many complications go unreported, but difficulties with quantification also mean that we do not know accurately the incidence of problems, as nobody knows how many acupuncture treatments are performed.

With sterile needles and some understanding of the underlying anatomy, acupuncture could and should be a relatively safe treatment, in terms of physical harms.

What about spiritual harm?
All the above constitutes a pretty mainstream, orthodox, textbook outline of acupuncture, but as Christians we are also concerned about possible spiritual harm. By associating in whatever way, however remote, with a therapy perhaps permeated by non-Christian or even anti-Christian ideology, are patients not at risk of spiritual harm?

To help us think through the spiritual aspects of acupuncture I refer to a checklist I have set out elsewhere.[9] It can be applied to the assessment of any alternative therapy, and seeks overall to answer, in both Christian and medical terms, the question: ‘What is the truth here?’ I venture to suggest this is the most important question we can ask about any subject! There are six specific questions in the checklist and I will apply each in turn.


A Christian Checklist

1. Do the claims made for it fit the facts?
The ‘traditional Chinese medicine’ approach has seen acupuncture as a ‘cure-all’. Within that context, claims about longevity and positive enhancement of health are made, for which there is no supportive evidence. Within the ‘Western medical’ context there is limited evidence of some objective benefit so that acupuncture may have a genuinely useful role to play, for example in the nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy or with chemotherapy, or in non-specific low back pain.

Conclusion: acupuncture sometimes has objective benefit.

2. Is there a rational scientific basis to the therapy?
Some suggestions have been outlined above. We must acknowledge that our understanding is currently limited, but there do seem to be some possible rational scientific explanations for the occasional benefits of acupuncture.

Conclusion: acupuncture can be understood within a worldview we hold to be true. It is not necessary to seek ‘occult’ explanations.

3. Is it the methodology or is it the principle which is the effective element?
When CMF’s Medical Study Group investigated acupuncture in the mid-1980s, we quizzed Dr Felix Mann, then Britain’s best known practitioner and the person chiefly responsible for introducing acupuncture into clinical practice in the UK.

He denied holding a religious faith himself, and he put no weight on the claims of Yin-Yang theories. Dr Mann believes the ancients stumbled upon something that worked empirically, needed (as human beings always do) an explanation for this, and therefore expressed their understanding in the terms of their own cultural beliefs. He sees the methodology as having limited but definite benefit (and he was refreshingly sceptical about how close you have to get the needle to the ‘acupuncture points’) and sees no need to invoke any mystical or spiritual explanations. I found his healthy common sense convincing.

Conclusion: the methodology works, sometimes. We do not need to invoke spiritual principles.

4. What are the assumptions of the world view behind the therapy?
The response to these checklist questions gets a bit monotonous when applied to acupuncture! The questions are merely diagnostic tools seeking to explore from slightly different angles the truth claims for a particular therapy. As has been emphasised above, we can accept acupuncture within a scientific Western world view which we hold to be truthful as far as it goes.

Conclusion: acupuncture can be understood without invoking non-Christian world views.

5. Does the therapy involve the occult?

I should by now have made clear that the therapy itself need not involve the occult, but let me now emphasise the most important warning in this article: while the therapy might not involve the occult, the therapist might! As with most if not all alternative practices the question is not so much about the nature of the therapy, but about the nature of the therapist. Who is this person I am about to place myself under?

In all therapeutic relationships, there is a power imbalance and the patient, the client, the counselee, is potentially submitting to a lot when they place themselves ‘under’ the therapist. I am therefore in general more concerned about the acupuncturist in question than about the acupuncture. Let me give you an example.

As General Secretary of CMF, 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.

I have heard a few other anecdotes like that. I don’t necessarily believe every element, but I take them seriously.

Conclusion: acupuncture need not involve the occult, but the acupuncturist might!

6. Has the therapy stood the test of time?
This question is generally weaker in its diagnostic power, but applied to acupuncture, three and a half thousand years may suggest acupuncture has got some point!

Conclusion: probably!

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.

I know from much experience of discussing acupuncture that this conclusion will be controversial for some. Finally, and as a token contribution to that bigger debate, I would add that I never advise anyone to go against their conscience. Paul’s discussion of conscience and meat offered to idols in 1 Corinthians 10: 14-33 may be relevant here. If you have any doubts or qualms at all, don’t go for acupuncture. You probably won’t miss much.

Further reading
Alternative Medicine – Helpful or Harmful? (Robina Coker, Monarch/CMF, 1995) is a useful general book giving a Christian and medical critique of alternative medicine. Available from the CMF Office, price £4.99 plus p&p.


1. Lewith G. Acupuncture. The Practitioner 1986; 230: 1057-1063 (December)

2. Ernst E. Acupuncture – what’s the point? The Independent 1998; 12 (20 October)

3. Rampes H, James R. Complications of acupuncture. Acupunct Med 1995; 13:26-33

4. Vittecoq D, Mettetal JF, Rouzioux C, Bach JF, Bouchon JP. Acute HIV infection after acupuncture treatments. NEJM 1989; 320:250-251

5. Castro KG, Lifson AR, White CR. Investigation of AIDS patients with no previous identified risk factors. JAMA 1988; 259:1338-1342

6. Ernst E, White A. Acupuncture: safety first. BMJ 1997; 314:1362 (10 May)

7. Halvorsen TB, Anda SS, Levang OW. Fatal cardiac tamponade after acupuncture through congenital sternal foramen. Lancet 1995; 345:1175

8. Ernst E. The risks of acupuncture. Int J Risk Safety Med 1995; 6:179-186

9. Fergusson A. Alternative Medicine – A Review. JCMF 1988; April: 26-29

Andrew Fergusson is the General Secretary of Christian Medical Fellowship. He has spoken, written and broadcasted extensively about alternative medicine throughout the 1990s.


Qi [and acupuncture]

May 13, 2007

Many people have experienced the existence of this energy going through their body which they call qi. Manipulation of qi is said to clear blocked arteries and meridians in the body and solve many health problems. My sister can will her qi to go to certain parts of her body to clear blockages. Although I am very suspicious of qi, I believe it exists but do not understand what it is exactly. What are your views on this? Qigong is taking on great popularity in the alternative medicine arena and nearly everyone who practises this said it has helped in their health. My sister has become very New Age after she has learned qigong and has also acquired higher sensitivity to spirituality e.g. experiencing the Holy Spirit, or sensing illness in others. –Betty

I use to be a practitioner of this sort of thing. I too believed I could “feel”, and my patients reported that they could “feel,” these blockages of energy in the meridians that run throughout the body. I too believed that clearing these blockages could facilitate health and even cure illness. I was wrong.

There is no such thing as energy flows through the body in meridians. It does not exist. There is no such thing as “qi” or “chi” and the rest.

This is all based on Oriental Cosmology that is inconsistent with not only the Christian worldview and cosmology, but is at odds with science as well.

There are at times some positive effects of some of these alternative techniques, such as acupuncture, but legitimate effects are very limited. Acupuncture, for example, as been shown to control pain. But traditional methods are just as effective.


But, the idea that if one clears “blocked” energy one will get well is pure poppycock.

This “clearing” of blocked energy is part of a cosmology that believes that the energy flows in our bodies must be in tune, and in balance not only within our bodies but within the universal plasma, the universal energy. This is a cosmology without a god, but rather a universal force, or plasma, or unconsciousness, or flow, or whatever various people want to call it.

The ancient Orientals invented this elaborate schema based upon what they knew about the universe at the time. They did not have the Revelation of God as we do today in the Bible and Sacred Tradition, nor did they have the insights of biology, chemistry, physics, and medicine that we have today. They did the best they could with what they had.

The Chinese folk medicine stumbled upon many sorts of remedies, that through trial and error, they discovered had real effects on health. Many of those herbs and plants form the chemical basis of our drugs today.

The ancient Chinese also stumbled across the fact that if certain structures in the body are stimulated certain effects will result. This is why pain control is effective in acupuncture. Although I do not know all the bio-chemical details, the stimulation of certain structures in the body will cause the release of natural pain killers. This has nothing whatsoever to do with imaginary meridians in the body or any other sort of mysterious “energy flow.” This effect is purely natural and can be scientifically verified.

Depending on the “alternative” technique, there can be real but very limited effects. When those effects are real they can be scientifically verified.

As for the rest of any effect that “appears” real, such things are most likely a placebo effect. This placebo effect is when the mind perceives improvement when there is actually none, or the mind over matter sort of thing where there may be some real healing based upon the person believing it to be so, a faith healing as-it-were. When this happens, if there is a real effect, that is, a real improvement in health, this can be documented in a scientific way even if we do not understand fully the mechanisms that facilitated the healing.

But none of this is because of energy flows through the body that need to be “cleared” of “blockages.” That is just plain nonsense.

A Christian ought not to get involved with these practices and philosophies. The philosophies are incompatible with Christianity and the practices are based upon those unChristian philosophies and upon unscientific and unsubstantiated postulations. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Is acupuncture safe or is it a new age practice as well?

September 11, 2007

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago. She had surgery and just finished her radiation treatments. Thank the Lord she is cancer free now. At the cancer center she was going to they offered free of charge all these different classes on relaxation, Reiki, yoga, Pilates, etc… They also offer acupuncture. My mother decided to try the acupuncture to see if it would decrease the pain she has from arthritis in her feet. It seems to have worked a little and now she plans on going back again. Is there any danger from this practice? Is she spiritually in danger from this? I am not sure if it has any “new age” philosophies associated with it. –Deborah

I am very disappointed in the lack of scientific approach hospitals are taking these days with their use of many alternative medical techniques that have little or no scientific verification. Then, even those that may have real effects have spiritual side-effects sometimes.

As far as acupuncture is concerned, this Chinese Medical technique is based on a false cosmology and a false physiology of the body. Acupuncture, like the other Chinese techniques, is focused on non-existent meridians in the body the energy flow of which needs to be balanced within the body and with the cosmic flow of the universe. All hogwash.

But, scientific studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective for pain relief. The procedure releases endorphins (the body’s natural pain killer). Most of the other claims that practitioners of acupuncture make, however, are not proven and generally false. But, acupuncture can be effective for pain.

However, those same studies show that traditional medicines will be just as effective if not more so in the relief of pain.

Even when some of these alternative approaches are effective and useful one needs to be VERY careful since most of the people who practice these alternative approaches are New Agers with philosophies and approaches that we should avoid.

Your mother will most likely find just as much relief from traditional therapies for arthritis. If, however, for some reason, she cannot take the traditional therapies, or hasn’t the money for them, acupuncture may help (but she needs to avoid any other New Age blather that the practitioner may spew).

Acupuncture, like traditional methods, does not cure the arthritis; it provides only temporary relief. Thus, she will need repeated ongoing treatments. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



July 24, 2008

Is it acceptable to undergo ‘5 Element Acupuncture?” This supposedly treats a person’s body, mind, heart and spirit. –Meg

Acupuncture is based on a false cosmology. It believes there are energy flows in the body through what are called meridians. Blocks in the energy flow brings physical or mental disease. The Acupuncture is supposed to unblock this energy flow. When it is unblocked the person gets well.



This is hogwash.

There is no evidence of meridians and energy flows through them. It does not exist.

What treats a person’s body, mind, heart, and spirit is Christ and that which he ordains (like provable medical techniques based on facts, not fantasy and false cosmologies). Thus, the answer to your question is, No. It is not acceptable for a Christian to undergo this sort of therapy. -Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM


Acupuncture – is it an option for a Catholic?

October 30, 2004

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia 5 years ago. I had been in remission for a little over a year, and off all my meds when a week ago my rheumatoid arthritis came back with a vengeance. The last year has been great. I was even able to hold down a part time job. Well, I had to quit due to my illness.

So, my former boss is a firm believer in acupuncture. He says it cured his son’s disease. He is urging me to give it a try, and is willing to help me pay for it.

My question is can I do this as a Catholic? My husband recommended asking you. The strange thing was when we were discussing it both of my children became very upset and said it was wrong and I should not do it, they are 10 and 7.

I know you also struggle with a chronic illness, and I am sure you can understand my temptation for a “quick fix” to end my pain. I want to do what is right not for my body, but for my soul. -Robin

I praise God that you are both thoughtful and faithful enough to want to check these out before jumping into the waters of something that may not be proper for a Christian. Most people are not so thoughtful.

I am going to answer your question much more broadly than a mere direct answer. Instead I think it may be important to discuss the whole issue of Alternative Medicine in terms of the three problems to consider before deciding to use alternative medical techniques:

1. Consider Worldview: All of knowledge — medical, philosophical, religious, etc. — is based upon a presumption and foundation of some worldview.  The judgment and assessment of things will vary depending upon the worldview one presumes.

As Christians, we are obligated to look at the world and to assess the things of the world according to the Christian worldview. Since Christianity is unfortunately split into many sects, we as Catholics need to further define and assess Christianity through the Catholic worldview.

With this said, now let us assume that we are going to develop a home remedy. We must build that home remedy on the foundation of truth that the Bible says is the Church. Doing this will effect how our home remedy will be developed and shaped. If we were to construct our home remedy according to some other foundation (worldview) other than Catholicism then although that home remedy make look similar to one developed according to a Catholic worldview, it will have elements that are not Catholic since it was not built upon a Catholic foundation.

For example, if we were to develop a home remedy using chicken soup that can be done within the Catholic (and I might add even the scientific) worldview. If we developed our chicken soup remedy by including some herbs that have been “blessed” by the devil or have been prayed over by occultic ritual and the like, then we have a problem. While the herb itself may be harmless, the fact that the herb received a demonic blessing or was offered to Satan in a prayer and ritual is a real problem for a Christian. If the cosmology we use is not Catholic we may also come to believe that the chicken soup can remedy all sorts of things that it cannot remedy.

Acupuncture was developed under a worldview that is inconsistent with Christianity. The cosmology that acupuncture is founded upon is a false cosmology based upon the notion of energy flows in the body that must be attuned to the energy of the universe. Acupuncture, it is thought, corrects the energy imbalances in the body and thus attuning our bodies with the universal energy. When we are in “balance” we find healing.

These energy flows, in the first place, located in what is called meridians, do not exist. In the second place the relationship of our bodies with the universe as described by this cosmology also does not exist.

Thus, although there might be some scientifically verifiable benefits of acupuncture, the practice itself is based upon a false worldview and thus some aspects of it will also be false.

Satan loves to try to trip us up by using two essential methods:

a. the Grain of Truth Method: In this method Satan will take a grain of truth (and there is a grain of truth in acupuncture) and surround that grain with a bunch of falsehood. He knows that often people will see the grain of truth and just ASSUME that all things surrounding that grain are okay too. This is a deadly assumption.

b. the Poison Apple Method: In this method Satan will take something that looks good and useful and beneficial to us, and that may be perfectly okay for us normally, but he takes a hypodermic and inserts a little bit of poison in the middle. If we take a bit out of that apple without cutting it open to examine it to be sure it is good, we bit into the poison and die.

Depending upon one’s point-of-view concerning things like acupuncture, Satan can use either of these methods to trip us up.

2. Consider the Practitioner: Many practitioners of alternative medicine may present themselves in a very professional and scientific manner. They may even be medical doctors giving the impression that their approach is purely medical and scientific. Beware the practitioner! Unbeknownst to the patient, the practitioner, if he is coming from an oriental worldview, may be praying for you to a false god while performing the procedure.



I know this to be possible because I use to practice and train others in a procedure known as acupressure (a form of acupuncture that uses the fingers and hands instead of needles to apply pressure to the acupuncture points). When I worked on someone I was also praying to some new age “force” at the same time. This is common practice among some, but not all, practitioners.

If one is to use alternative medical techniques, then be sure that practitioner is coming from a scientific point-of-view understanding the scientifically verifiable effects of technique and its limitations, and NOT coming from the oriental cosmology. If the practitioner believes that any particular technique or remedy, including acupuncture, can solve most any problem, RUN, do not walk, away from that person. NO technique is a cure-all.

3. Consider the Science: This leads us to discuss the issue of whether the alternative medical techique or remedy actually works for anything or is just a bunch of hooey, or has effects that are occultic. A consideration of the science needs to be reviewed for any alternative medical technique or remedy. For our present purposes, let us consider the science concerning acupuncture:

A very good reference book to check on the science and verifiability of “alternative medicine” techniques is a book by Dr. Rosenfeld called, Dr. Rosenfeld’s Guide to Alternative Medicine : What Works, What Doesn’t And What’s Right for You.

Dr. Rosenfeld is not Christian, thus some of his advice does not take into consideration particular Christian concerns, but this book is valuable in getting information about the medical aspects of Alternative Medicine techniques.

Dr. Rosenfeld’s analysis of acupuncture is too extensive to include in this forum, but essentially he says that acupuncture can be useful in pain control. Here is an excerpt from his “bottom line”:

— (in the operating room, acupuncture) is not an ideal anesthetic. It works in only 20 percent of cases of major surgery, and is not nearly as effective or predictable as the modern, sophisticated agents and nerve blocks developed in the West. In fact, Chinese surgeons don’t use acupuncture anesthesia very often and usually give additional painkillers when they do — just to be sure. But that’s not the point. The question is not how good an anesthetic acupuncture is, but whether or not it can control pain in certain situations. In my opinion, the answer to that question is “yes.”

I suggest that you stay with conventual anesthesia if you’re having major surgery. But is you’ve got a bad back or some other chronic disorder that’s giving you round-the-clock pain; if you suffer from asthma or irritable bowel; if you’re addicted to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs; or if chemo-therapy is giving you intolerable nausea, try acupuncture from a qualified practitioner. If you’ve had a stroke, or suddenly develop weakness or paralysis of a limb, ask your doctor or neurologist about early acupuncture. The data here are impressive.

Thus the “bottom line” in your case, to answer your question directly now, is that acupuncture “might” be helpful.

The caution is to find a practitioner who is not “new age” and who understands it limitations and does not claim more than what acupuncture can offer. You will probably be okay if you go to a Western trained doctor who is also certified in acupuncture who is sponsored by a reputable hospital. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM

I disagree with Bro. Ignatius Mary in the sense that I find him not accurate and “strict” enough. In my informed opinion, it is as near to impossible for potential patients to be able to “find a practitioner who is not “new age” and who understands it limitations and does not claim more than what acupuncture can offer” as it is to find the practice of acupuncture and acupressure separated from their Taoist spiritual underpinnings -Michael



July 24, 2008

I have read your explanation of the incompatibility of acupuncture with Catholicism, and also the Holy See document “Jesus Christ Bearer of the Water of Life”.

When I encounter resistance, the typical line is that the Asians have been using this method for thousands of years. My only comeback is that the occult has also been around for thousands of years.

Therefore, can you help me on how to answer this fact that these are medicinal methods used by the Asian people? If it never healed them, then it would have died out centuries ago. -Christina

Acupuncture has been studied scientifically. It has been found useful in pain control, but not in much else. Even then, traditional pain killers are just as effective as and even more so than acupuncture. It is interesting to note that Chinese surgeons, in China, do not always use acupuncture in their practice.

Acupuncture is based upon the idea of energy in the body that flows through “meridians.” What acupuncture is suppose to do is to remove blockages (that cause disease) in this “flow”. When that happens the person is suppose to get well. The idea is also to balance the energy within the body with the energy of the universe. This is the Yin/Yang dynamics.

All this is hogwash. There is no evidence of meridians and this “flow” through them that affects health.

What acupressure may do is stimulate endorphins and other chemicals in the body that have healing functions. But the claims of major healings of everything from cancer to whatever has never been substantiated.

We can also not neglect the power of the placebo effect.

Bottom line: is it the acupuncture or something else that may facilitate healing? One a properly conducted scientific study can determine that. Those studies have not shown the great healing powers of acupuncture itself.

Studies would also have to be conducted in China as to how many people are ACTUALLY healed as oppose to those who only claim to be healed.

This is the same with so-called Faith Healers. Just because they say people are healed doesn’t make it so…  yet people flock to these faith healers even when they have been proven a fraud.

Even if acupuncture had no effect at all, it would still flourish and be used. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM



Meridian Regulatory Acupuncture

February 7, 2011

Have you heard of Dr. Nemeh and his healing ministry in Cleveland, Ohio? Do you think it is legit? I have seen that a Bishop (emeritus, I believe) of Cleveland seems favorable to him. –Melissa

I cannot recommend Dr. Issam Nemeh because he proposes and practices what is called Meridian Regulatory Acupuncture. It is called “Scientific Acupuncture”. Great marketing. Use the word “Scientific” and people listen, even if it is the same ‘ol hogwash.

It is standard practice amongst these Oriental or Indian cosmologies to claim scientific grounding in order to tell their wares to the Western World. Transcendental Meditation, for example, is nothing more then Hindu meditation wrapped in scientific language to make it attractive to Americans.

I used to practice acupressure, a kind of acupuncture but without needles. It was said back then, in the early eighties, that scientific evidence existed of these so-called meridians. There was no evidence then and no evidence now.  Meridians filled with invisible energy fluid do not exist.

According to Dr. Nemeh’s website:

Meridian Regulatory Acupuncture (MRA) is different from traditional Chinese acupuncture. MRA consists of two parts, a diagnostic procedures and a treatment procedure. The diagnosis involves measuring the electrical resistance of the body at different points on the skin, known as meridian points. These measurements are graphed and interpreted by the doctor to develop a treatment plan for the meridian points of the body. This treatment is performed with a small, single needle that is temporary inserted at various meridian points of the body, usually for just a few seconds. This tiny needle is used to deliver a small, painless flow of electricity through the meridian point it is inserted into, lowering the excitation threshold for nerves while increasing blood flow.

Does the term “gobbledygook” come to mind in reading this? This is nothing more than a new twist to Chinese acupuncture. It is claiming the very same thing that is claimed by Chinese acupuncture, but performing it in a slightly different way. For those who are unaware of the issues and the nature of acupuncture and other Chinese alternative medical techniques, this description might sound interesting. All I can smell here is “snake-oil.”

How is the “electrical resistance of the body at different points on the skin, known as meridian points” supposed to diagnose disease? How is causing the flow of electricity into non-existent meridians heal anything? Where are the independent scientific studies for this?

The purpose of acupuncture/acupressure as well as various kinds of martial arts, yoga, and some mediation is to free any energy blocks in the body so that the body’s energy (Ch’i) may be in one with the universe. Nonsense. At best it is quackery, at worse such things can open doors to the demonic.

Now, with that said, there is scientific evidence that acupuncture can reduce pain. The needles do release endorphins in the body. But, studies have shown that this method is no better than traditional pain control drugs. In certain cases, however, where the drugs are contraindicated, acupuncture therapy for pain reduction may be useful.

There is also some evidence that sufferers of Asthma have been helped by acupuncture. Stroke victims have shown some improvement in physical rehabilitation. None of these positive effects, however, has anything to do with non-existent meridians.

Whenever anybody claims that a single technique cures wide and broad spectrum of disease and conditions, one need to run, not walk, away from such a snake-oil salesman.

Acupuncture can have some limited results on a limited number of conditions. It is not, however, a miracle cure, and certainly not a cure-all.

For interest sake, here is an article from the Cleveland Magazine about Nemeh.

Bottom line: I would not allow this man to “heal” me, even though he claims to have healed people with some conditions that I share.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

February 9, 2011

Your response about his practice of acupuncture is not surprising, but Dr. Nemeh also holds prayer services at various churches (including Catholic parishes) in which he lays hands on individuals. It is my understanding that the Bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Cleveland celebrated Mass at one of the healing services.

Anyway, I have some friends who went to one of his healing services. The husband felt heat move through his body where his medical condition is located. The wife felt that God was telling her to seek the God of Healing, not the healing itself. A friend of my friends also went; she said that after she had been prayed for, she was healed of her asthma. Would these prayer services be tainted because of his practice of acupuncture? –Melissa

Personally, I would not ever seek out this person’s help. As I understand his method, despite its claims to science, it appears to still include the Chinese cosmology concerning meridians and non-existent energy flows. The question then arises whether or not his “healing gift” is from God. The devil has no problems facilitating an apparent healing if it will advance his cause. I say apparent healing, because the devil cannot perform miracles, but he can facilitate psychogenic effects.

But, regardless of that, all so-called “faith healers” need to be scrutinized very closely. 




Many conditions can be relieved through a placebo effect (though sometimes only temporarily). The only way to verify whether a faith healer is really from God is to have scientific evidence, not anecdotal reports, of healings. The condition must be of the type not subject to placebo or any other psychological effect. This condition must be well documented in advance of the healing. The healing must be immediate and complete, scientifically proved, with no relapse later. As one medical doctor suggest:

(1) The ailment must be one that normally doesn’t recover without treatment;

(2) There must not have been any medical treatment that would be expected to influence the ailment; and

(3) Both diagnosis and recovery must be demonstrable by detailed medical evidence.

Pope Benedict XIV, in the 18th century, laid down strict criteria to assess the veracity of alleged miraculous healings. These criteria are used at the Lourdes Shrine by the Lourdes International Medical Committee.

The Committee created a 16 query scheme, which among other things, requires:

1. Ruling out any psychopathic component

2. Ruling out other subjective pathologic states or manifestations

3. Including only accounts of recovery from serious and provable affections, the only ones that could be deemed as “scientifically inexplicable”.

4. A medical report supporting a “certain and medically unexplainable” recovery, only when:

-The diagnostics and authenticity of the disease has been preliminarily and perfectly assessed;

-The prognosis provides for an impending or short-term fatal outcome;

-The recovery is sudden, without convalesce, and absolutely complete and final;

-The prescribed treatment cannot be deemed to have resulted in a recovery or in any case could have been propitiatory for the purposes of recovery itself. These criteria are still in use nowadays, in view of their highly logical, accurate and pertinent nature.

When applying these criteria used by the Church, the veracity of the vast majority of faith healers will be lacking.

The heat experience of your friend’s husband is easily photogenically created. Even the relief from asthma can be psychogenic. And remember, for a healing to be from God, the healing must be permanent. There can be no relapses even years later. For example, in Lourdes a healing from leukemia is not considered verified unless the person healed remains disease free for ten years.

With all that said, even if a faith healer’s gift is not from God, that does not mean that healings cannot happen. Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34). God can heal someone in honor of their faith even if the “healer” is not legit.

Secondly, it is also possible for a faith healer to have a legitimate gift from God, but still make mistakes in his thinking on other things, or even have wrong motivation.

St. Paul speaks of this principle, which can be applied to healers too, that we ought to praise God that His message is preached even when the people doing the preaching are questionable:

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of partisanship, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in that I rejoice. (Philippians 1:15-18)

The bottom line: If Dr. Nemeh is facilitating genuine healings, even if he is wrong-headed concerning the meridians and such, we need to praise God. Certainly we can rejoice that people have been freed of their afflictions, even if that freedom was psychogenic and not miraculous.

The question is whether or not he is really facilitating genuine miraculous healings. That can only be determined by careful scientific scrutiny per Church criteria, which to my knowledge has never been determined.

Without verification of these healings based on the criteria of the Church we must, in my opinion, look skeptically at this man and be very cautious about allowing him to attempt a healing on us. If this man’s “gift” is not from God, then the spiritual consequences on those who follow him and especially upon those who are “cured” by him can potentially be serious.

In our Deliverance Apostolate we have had clients who eventually become demonized after having hands laid upon them for healing. This consequence is not rare. –Bro.
Ignatius Mary OMSM

Categories: Alternative Therapy, new age

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


The greatest site in all the land! Testimonies

EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai – 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail:,

EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai - 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail:,

%d bloggers like this: