Is it okay for a Christian to participate in acupuncture / acupressure?
Acupunture is the practice of placing needles at nerve points which connect to "meridians" in the body, in order to stimulate blood flow and nervous system function. Acupressure does the same thing, but instead of using needles, the practitioner uses a hands-on technique similar to deep-tissue massage or structural integration therapy.
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Acupuncture originated in China, and rose out of a Chinese philosophy called Taoism. In Taoism, there are two forces or principles alive in the world. The first is the "yin" which is a negative, dark, feminine force, and the other is the "yang," a bright, positive, masculine force. These two interact and balance one another, according to Taoism, and guide all living things. Acupuncture is practice by followers of Taoism as an attempt to bring the yin and yang into balance within an individual's body.
Throughout the ages, and across cultures, natural physical functions have been shrouded in myth and superstition, and it has been common for religions to assign special meaning to things that are functionally aspiritual, like reproduction or eating. The ancient Chinese people who discovered acupuncture found relationships within the body, connections from one part to another, and found that if pressure or a needle was applied to a certain area of the body, it was possible to relieve pain or discomfort. It appears that God made the body to be interconnected. The fact that acupuncture works, and relieves pain, is evidence that someone discovered that interconnection.
Taoism assigned spiritual meaning to the practice of acupuncture, but that does not mean a Christian has to do the same thing. If a believer's conscience is not bothered (refer to Romans 14:1–23), and they are not tempted to practice Taoism as a result of acupuncture, there is nothing in the Bible to suggest it is inherently sinful or evil to use acupuncture as a medical tool. "So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves" (Romans 14:22 NIV).
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