Is traditional Chinese medicine spiritually dangerous?
#1
More specifically, acupuncture and “acupressure”?

How about traditional Chinese herbal and dietary remedies?
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#2
(02-28-2021, 09:55 AM)Margaret-Mary Wrote: More specifically, acupuncture and “acupressure”?

Probably. We do not have energies/chakras/whatever they are claiming to manipulate. If a treatment works, it encourages superstition. And it's due to one of a few explanations, in descending order of likelihood:

1. The placebo effect
2. Something that has a simple, naturalistic explanation but which isn't explained by the literature or the practitioner
3. Demonic influence

(02-28-2021, 09:55 AM)Margaret-Mary Wrote: How about traditional Chinese herbal and dietary remedies?

Very, very few of these remedies are effective at all, and the effect is usually very small. If you can find a double-blind trial that demonstrates the efficacy of a given remedy, by all means, take it. At that point, it's simply a dietary supplement and not some ancient, eastern woo-woo.
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#3
Whew. Amazing how opinion can replace facts. Chinese, and all herbal remedies, were all the West had before synthetic substitutes. In the US, using any herb without a doctor's advice is dangerous.

Acupuncture claims to manipulate bodily energies. There is no scientific basis for this.
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#4
My sense is that acupressure and acupuncture have no theological valence. However, many practitioners have wu-wu ideas that they bring to the table, in the form of meanings they ascribe to points on the body.
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#5
Amazing. There is a lot to Chinese medical history. I won't post the details about acupuncture to dissuade the curious. Like alchemy, acupuncture is not scientific.
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#6
Right:  much modern medicine is naturally based, and many home remedies will save you money and side effects if you're careful.  Aspirin was derived in part from willow tree bark.  I think some of the herbal Chinese medicine can be more effective than Western medicine, but it takes more time.  Steve Jobs was imprudent in blindly (?) following acupuncture and herbal remedies, and his illness couldn't wait; therefore, the more aggressive Western approach would have worked better.  I know people who swear by acupuncture, and there is that cool story of an emergency (aren't they all?) appendectomy on one of the journalists during Nixon's visit to China.  It took place at the Anti-Imperialist Hospital in Beijing - Ha!.  What gives me the willies is qigong, which seems to suggest the qi is its own life force that can be manipulated independent of the soul.  This is often done with a "master" doing some nifty hand movements in the air above the afflicted like a Shaolin shaman.  At least, acupuncture, even with its inscrutable meridians and gates, has some resonance with medicine.  We've all felt certain points on our feet that seem to echo elsewhere.  I don't know...   Be careful when you believe the stuff being peddled by our pharmaceutical masters at Pfizer, GSK, and the like, too!
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#7
I think there's something to all traditional medicine, I wouldn't quickly dismiss the accumulated wisdom of an ancient civilization. I'm more skeptical towards the modern West's approach to things.
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#8
(03-01-2021, 09:53 AM)Florus Wrote: I think there's something to all traditional medicine, I wouldn't quickly dismiss the accumulated wisdom of an ancient civilization. I'm more skeptical towards the modern West's approach to things.
 
Me, I'd take both with a grain of salt and with an open mind. As to acupuncture, the body's nerves are interconnected in a big way (look up "referred pain," for ex.-- i.e., e.g., feeling pain in the right shoulder blade in response to a problem in the gall bladder). Or consider the vagus nerve and all the places it goes and the functions it has. I know a professional musician -- upright bass, jazz --  whose career was saved by a Korean doctor who treated his carpal tunnel syndrome with acupuncture. This doctor also practices Western medicine, using the best of both worlds.

As to herbs, some of our greatest Saints were big time herbalists (SS. Hildegard von Bingen and Albertus Magnus, for ex.). 

While there might be some woo explanation for a phenomenon, it doesn't mean the phenomenon isn't real and doesn't have a perfectly good natural explanation that science might be able to explain to some degree if it's studied.
T h e   D u d e t t e   A b i d e s
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#9
An op-ed by an acupuncturist: https://patch.com/new-york/glencove/bp--...lind-study 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19454879/ --"Applicability of press needles to a double-blind trial: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial"

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15520102/ --"A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of acupuncture for the treatment of childhood persistent allergic rhinitis"

And there's more, if one is willing to do the looking and reading.

My own experience with acupuncture is that it appears to be most beneficial for pain.  But as it's been used for thousands of years, and most recently by many doctors trained in both western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, apparently to great effect, who am I to broadly criticize it?  Chinese herbal medicine, often used in conjunction with acupuncture, but also used separately, seems to be more effective with chronic illness.

Like TruthWhichIsChrist suggested above, I'm pretty sure that eastern medicine has no theological "valence" and there are practitioners of many different faiths, including Catholicism, who use it.

As for placebo effect, well...that's a whole other kettle of fish.  I seem to recall that placebo effect is effective, i.e. successful at relieving symptoms/treating illness approximately 30% of the time, if not more ( https://www.health.harvard.edu/mental-he...ebo-effect ).  That, my friends, is nothing to sneeze at :-).  Placebos have been shown to shrink tumors, amongst MANY other things.  I recall reading some time ago, that placebo, *for less severely depressed patients* is more effective than anti-depressant drugs.  So, dismissing something as "just a placebo effect" might be doing it a huge disservice.


EDIT:  I'd just add that the body has within it an ability to heal itself from many different kinds and levels of ailments.  What systems like Chinese traditional medicine, homeopathy, and to a lesser extent western herbalism do is to stimulate the body's self-healing mechanisms.  Most western medicine, on the other hand, works to suppress symptoms or to remove "offending" tissue or body parts.  There is certainly a place for that within medicine generally, but it is not the be-all and end-all of the medical arts.  When I stop and think about it, just the about the ONLY thing I can think of that is actually curative (as opposed to symptom relieving) of "disease" in western medicine is antibiotic treatment of bacterial infection.  And we know where the over-use of those has gotten us. There may certainly be others but I can't at this point identify them.
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#10
(03-01-2021, 01:07 PM)J Michael Wrote: I recall reading some time ago, that placebo, *for less severely depressed patients* is more effective than anti-depressant drugs.  So, dismissing something as "just a placebo effect" might be doing it a huge disservice.

I agree that the placebo effect can be strong, but I wanted to respond to this part. I remember that study. That study was less of a demonstration of the placebo effect's power and more of an indictment of the widespread prescription of SSRIs. It showed that, for most people, brain chemistry is not the source of their woes, and that CBT and/or lifestyle changes are more likely to be more effective.
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