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

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Thu Dec 22 2005 - 16:51:37 EST

On Thu, 22 Dec 2005 06:19:42 -0500 "jack syme" <>
> > 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.
There are, as I see it, two different problems. The one is that the
explanation given is false. This cannot be operative, because there are
lots of treatments in contemporary medicine which have had erroneous
bases. Try prefrontal lobotomy, which did more harm than good; boring
holes in the heart to increase circulation--but my cardiologist said all
it did was kill nerves so the angina went away. I also recall a treatment
that involved wrapping the heart with muscle tissue from the chest wall.
I have no idea how many more treatments will eventually prove to be based
on mistakes, though the proposals sound plausible at the time.

The second problem is a requirement that the treatments involve
incantations and similar recognition of forces and entities that do not
connect directly to the Father. I recall, on a different level, a convert
from demonism who claimed that the "tarrying" procedures of some
Christian groups were what he had practiced to secure the power of what
he now recognized as demons. Certainly no wise Christian wants to become
entangled with satanic minions. This seems radically different than the
first difficulty.
Received on Thu Dec 22 17:40:04 2005

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