Intersection of Life and Faith

Is it Okay for Christians to Use Acupuncture?

  • Dr. Roger Barrier Preach It, Teach It
  • 2017 27 Jun
Is it Okay for Christians to Use Acupuncture?

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at

Dear Roger,

Is it okay for Christians to use acupuncture? I’ve been told that acupuncture is tied to Eastern religions and if you practice it, you are opening the door to satanic possession or oppression. Is that true? What does the Bible say about acupuncture? Do you think that it works?

Sincerely, Kathy

Dear Kathy,

Acupuncture is a Chinese healing method that has been around for several thousands of years.

As best I can tell, the Bible is completely silent on the subject.

Understanding acupuncture means understanding the concept of “Qi”. The term may also be spelled “chi” or “ch'i”.

In traditional Chinese culture, Qi is the life force or energy that flows in every living creature.

Balanced and free-flowing Qi results in good health, while stagnant or imbalanced Qi leads to disease. The purpose of both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is to restore balanced and free-flowing Qi. It is not unusual to find herbal medicines which originated from plants and trees. Aspirin is a herbal medicine. It is synthesized from the leaves of the willow tree. Aspirin has been used for medicinal purposes for at least 2,400 years.

My acupuncturist friend tells me that we might imagine Qi as the wind in the sails that drives a ship. We can’t see the wind, but when the sails are properly deployed, we can see the ship moving steadily along in its journey. In the same way, when Qi is set just right, an individual reaches optimum performance.

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting thin needles into specific body points to improve health and well-being. As I understand it, there are 14 basic meridians that are used to guide the placement of the needles in order to balance Qi. 

My friend tells me that becoming an accredited acupuncturist is not easy. Four years of schooling are required.

You asked me, “Does acupuncture work?” I figure that anything that has worked for 5,000 years has creditable viability. Otherwise, it would have died out long ago.

Medical researchers are finding that acupuncture can aid in the body’s pain-killing chemicals. Others suggest that acupuncture may help release chemicals that regulate blood pressure and flow. Some studies demonstrate that acupuncture can reduce nausea and vomiting after both surgery and chemotherapy. It can also relieve pain.

Now, for the religious questions: Does acupuncture have a spiritual component?

I very much doubt it! Acupuncture was developed in the context of Taoism during the 4th century B.C. Taoism is basically a philosophical system. Since Taoism is basically atheistic, I’d say that you have very little to worry about.

Well Kathy, I hope this gives you a helpful understanding about the nature of acupuncture. 

Love, Roger

Ask RogerDr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.

Publication date: June 27, 2017

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