China’s Acupuncture and Tai Chi beliefs and practices

Last Updated on June 2, 2020 by

From “And Many Shall Come …” edition in process chapter on
Holistic Health.
by Jim Pattison
Acupuncture and Tai Chi
This is a treatment system that originated in China.
Parallel treatment systems are Shiatsu and Moxabustion. I say
parallel because the underlying theory is the same, but the
application of it is different. In Acupuncture, there are needles
used to do the stimulation; in Shiatsu hands do the stimulation
of the point; while in Moxabustion, burning herbs or incense on
the point is the method of stimulation. Modern times has brought
us the stimulation of these points by laser. Each treatment has
advantages in certain situations, but this is beyond the scope of
this review.
The treatment system is based on Taoism (Dow’ism). In this
there is the circular diagram that has an “S” shape dividing the
circle into white and black. The 2 parts represent Yin ( ‘Een)
and Yang (Yaung) the two eternal absolutes in the Universe. Yin
represents all things that are: male, warmth, light, strength,
aggressive tempers etc, plus muscularity of organs. Yang on the
other hand, represents female, cold, dark, weakness, peaceable
tempers, and the hollow organs. In each human as well as
everything else in the Universe, there is a balance of both Yin
and Yang. When there is too much of one or the other, then
results disease, or imbalance in a localized area of the
universe. According to tradition, treatment of disease is by
turning up the lesser one, or turning down the one in abundance.
This is done by manipulation of conditions at the acupuncture
points, and with diet. Everything in the diet has been classified
by Yin and Yang strength. For example red meats are very Yin, but
the most Yin of all is white sugar.
There is ever this battle between yin and yang to maintain a
balance in the body. If the balance is affected, there will be
some form of disease, and this will have an effect on the “karmic
debt” that one accumulates.

Tao is an impersonal life force, but it is also referred to
as “God” for the benefit of some Westerners who need to know of
the existence of a god out there.
Ch’i (Kee) is the name for the life force that circulates
through the universe. In its preliminary discussions, Ch’i
sounds innocuous enough, but when considered at a deeper level,
the problems start appearing. If one is familiar with the occult
levels of chakras and prana in Hinduism, there is a 100%
correspondence in Taoist thought, but all the names are changed.
Ch’i passes through tan-tien (centres in the body that do not
exist in a physical way) and becomes shen – pure sexual energy.
The analogous description in Hinduism is prana exists in the
universe and passes through chakras- points in the body that do
not exist in physical matter. When prana passes through the
chakras, there is a change into kundalini or sexual energy.
Closely linked with acupuncture are 2 other treatments: I
Ching (E Jeng) and Tai Chi. Should a person require further
information about either of these, I can recommend a book by the
name of Taoism and Tai Chi by a man Da Liu and it is published by
Perennial Publishers.

The I Ching is essentially a book of divination. Purists
insist on throwing yarrow sticks to come up with the number that
relates to a diagram in the book. Modern persons however do the
same exercise with coins to find the same number. Da Liu insists
that this is not divination and tells us that Tao is an
impersonal force that has just “read” our mind and has
appropriately given us the number we need to come up with the
answer. Those familiar with the ideas of a personal power like
Satan who can seek to change thoughts and thereby the future.
There is a contradiction here. Either the Tao is impersonal and
can not read minds or the Tao is a personal god and can read
minds. It has to be one way or the other.

Tai Ch’i is an exercise and stretching program founded on
the principle of Taoism, and is concerned among other things with
getting Ch’i flowing and balancing the Yin and Yang. Christians
getting involved with this as a “stretching program” should be
aware of the ideology underneath it.

Proponents and practitioners of acupuncture will tell you
that they actually change the function of diseased organs and
make them function right.

I will digress to say that the Theology of Rev. Sun Myung
Moon has been greatly influenced by Taoist ideals with
Christianity. If one looks at commentaries on the Divine
Principle, there is a discussion of the Lord of the Second Advent
and some teaching regarding cycles and identity of this person
comes from Tao.

Is this an occult art?
Acupuncture is not an occult art per se. Since acupuncture
does not talk of God, it could be considered as occult, but that
may be stretching a point. I Ching is beyond a doubt occult when
it uses divination to provide the answers to life’s problems. If
one looks at the advanced level of acupuncture and Tai Chi where
ch’i is converted into shen (aka prana) in the tan tien (aka
chakras), this has much more of an occultic sound to it. Since
Acupuncture and I Ching are allied, by implication there is
something occult happening in this system.

Should a Christian have acupuncture?
That is not an easy question to provide a definitive answer.
The medical profession has looked at acupuncture and have arrived
at the conclusion that it only is an analgesia. (There is only
relief of pain, but no curing of actual disease.) I was talking
to Dr. Mann (M.D. Ph.D), a researcher at the University of
Manitoba. He has done extensive research into how acupuncture
works, and has proposed a model called a neural gate mechanism.
Essentially what happens is that the presence of the needle or
other stimulus, causes the release of strong painkillers in the
body. These are called endorphins and enkephalins. These
chemicals are naturally occurring in the brain and are some 100
times more powerful than opiates. Opiates bind at the sites in
the body where these endorphins are supposed to bind, but have a
much different effect when they do.
There is also a mechanism called a “gate” for lack of a
better term. If you have a toothache, and I put a needle in your
big toe, there will be some of the chemicals released that I
talked about. There is another effect that in 1981, researchers
were still looking at. It seemed that at the spinal level, the
body did not respond to any further stimulation of pain. When a
pain fibre sends an impulse to the spinal cord, there are several
different levels of reflex that we see. There is the spinal
level. Putting your hand on a hot burner will provoke you to
pull that hand back before you knew what happened. There is a
slightly delayed response of putting out the other hand for
support, and there is a much later response which arrives at the
brain to put the hand under cold water or something. If there is
pain in a certain area, one should expect that electrical
evidence of the spinal reflex arc would be seen. With
acupuncture stimulation, the specific spinal reflex arc can not
be found. There is evidently some process which is not totally
understood that inhibits the acknowledgement of pain impulses at
the spinal reflex level or the sending of them to the brain.
On the other hand, those people who sleep on beds of nails
have pain impulses registered electrically at the spinal reflex
level, but ignore the message when it gets to the brain. The
processes used by these people to do their feats are different
from those of acupuncture.

If a practitioner reuses needles, there may be a problem
with spread of communicable diseases. Hepatitis has been
documented to be spread in this way. Most doctors are au courant
with proper hygienic practice, and may even dispose of their
needles after use. Certain other practitioners may not be so
familiar with hygiene since acupuncture in its purist form does
not buy into the “germ theory of disease” (ie germs cause disease
– a fact demonstrated in the west for about 300 years). These
other practitioners may not be familiar with the concept of
diagnosis and referring people to doctors more able to help the
person. The medical viewpoint is that there is only analgesia
going on here, and the person may have a disease or process that
would respond well to “standard medical practice” but would not
be given that opportunity.

The most basic difference between most of the new medical
philosophies and Christianity is their focus. Christianity is
“others centred”. We are to do things for others, and when we
focus on others, we have to get out of the way. See the chapter
on Mormonism for a more complete discussion of this fact. The
others have a CONSTANT demand for attention on self. Is MY yin-
yang balance OK today? Am I in tune with ch’i today? In essence
others and God get out of the way for self. It is SELF that
verifies all these things, and there is no room for others or God
doing much.

Although I would not personally have acupuncture in any
form, I would not always deny someone in almost intractable pain
the analgesic effect which acupuncture can give. I see a great
distinction between a practitioner using his art to balance yin
and yang and a Doctor using it for analgesic effect.

The bottom line is that if in the face of its history and
theological background, you want to receive acupuncture or any of
its allied treatments, find someone who uses it for analgesia.
Make sure your focus is not on self, and that it stays that way.