Re: Alternative Medicine (was Re: Skepticism - its uses and abuses)

From: jack syme <>
Date: Thu Dec 22 2005 - 06:19:42 EST

> On chinese medicine I am convinced by acupuncture. I have a bad neck - I
> can hear grinding when
> I turn my head! It's been stretched massaged but acupuncture helped. I
> only tried it as nothing worked. However there are good reasons why it
> works.

This is exactly the issue I struggle with. Yes acupuncture can work. But
why does it work? What are the good reasons why it works? As far as I know
there is no anatomical correlate for meridians, and no physiological
correlate for qi.

My professional opinion of acupuncture is that it works by some mechanism
that is not at all well understood. And most likely has nothing to do with
qi and meridians. There might be a real effect on neuropeptides, some
unkown effect on nervous system function, or it might all be placebo effect.
But, the risk of being needled is very small. So if someone can find relief
from a chronic ailment such as headaches, neck and back pain, without side
effects then just because its mechanism is not well understood is no reason
not to recommend it.

But, is the fact that the underlying philosophy of acupuncture Taoist a
reason not to recommend it to Christians? And should I as a Christian
physician not recommend it for those reasons? Similar questions can be
raised about kundalini yoga, vedic medicine, meditation techniques, etc. I
have up to this point taken the approach that the underlying worldview that
acupuncture is based on is so far removed from the practice of it, that
there is little reason to believe that undergoing acupuncture was sinful.
And it is likely that the traditional explanation of how acupuncture works,
is in fact false.
Received on Thu Dec 22 06:24:32 2005

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