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Proclamation Index

Alternative Medicine

by William E. Cripe Is there more of an agenda to alternative medicine than tends to meet the eye? Is it possible to sell the soul in an effort to heal the body? Here is an insightful exposŽ by Bill Cripe - pastor, registered medical technologist, and AIIA Resource Associate for Social Issues. The very term is debatable, but for our purposes here, let's consider "alternatives" as those forms of therapy which do not derive from a traditionally-trained physician who has graduated from an accredited school granting the degree of M.D. To be sure, traditional medicine is neither infallible nor particularly effective in its approach to the patient as a physical entity alone.  But it is at least based on a rigorous quest for answers which are grounded not merely in human experience - as tends to be the case with alternative medicine - but also in objective, scientific truth. A gentleman I know returned from treatment one day and told me that his chiropractor had asked him to describe the "color" of his pain. When he asked my opinion of such an approach, I said, "I call that woo-woo! You need to see a real doctor." This is not to disparage chiropractic as a whole. I know many people who have been relieved of chronic pain through the manipulation of muscles at the hands of a chiropractor. Such manipulation has an anatomical and physiological basis. Treating pain on the basis of its "color" does not. Alternative medicine can be dangerous due to prescribing "cures" that have no basis in objective fact, and may also mask a serious disease process. But another less-discussed aspect of alternative medicine is that much of it has its origin in eastern religions. Consequently, their practice, knowingly or unknowingly, incorporates an association with spiritual powers which are dangerous. The apostle Paul warned of such inadvertent participation with spiritual powers when he warned the Corinthians about eating the sacrifices that their pagan neighbors were using in their religious rituals.  Paul writes, "What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons." - I Corinthians 10:19-20 Many of the therapies falling under the category of "alternative medicine" are inherently religious at their source, if not outright occultic. "Medical Channeling," for example, permits a spirit entity to actually possess the ailing individual, believing the spirit will heal them. Acupuncture and reflexology often claim a scientific foundation, but have no scientific or medical evidence undergirding their claims. Their roots are in the oriental religion of Taoism, utilizing the "chi" (pronounced, key). Taoism teaches that chi is the cosmic life energy which, when directed properly through various "meridians" in the body, effects pain relief, or healing. Additionally, there are the various forms of meditative states which unabashedly derive their whole basis from Hinduism. The Bible is quite clear that such endeavors are inherently spiritual, and that powers which lie outside of Biblical faith are not benevolent. One who is a participant in many so-called alternative therapies is at risk, not only from the hazards of bogus science (chromotherapy, aroma therapy, polarity therapy, for example), but may be compromised in their spiritual vitality, resulting in depressive episodes, hearing voices, emotional disturbances, or even plagued with suicidal thoughts. What's the solution?  One key lies in knowing your health practitioner, including his or her spiritual beliefs and worldview. Don't be taken in by lofty-sounding jargon. If something sounds a bit out of the ordinary (like asking about the color of your pain, or describing your aura), or if your practitioner begins massaging the energies surrounding your body, it's no doubt well past time to look for a new health- care professional. God made a world which is ordered and reasonable. Truth can be discovered and verified with reproducible results through sound, scientific inquiry. Any discipline that discards such proven scientific or medical absolutes should not only be questioned, but rejected. AIIA highly recommends Examining Alternative Medicine (inset), Dr. Paul C. Reisser, ©2001 InterVarsity Press

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