What do you know about acupuncture? No one in my church knows much about it except that it works.

In a book on Alternative Medicine, written by Christian scholars at The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, the authors noted that a National Institutes of Health (NIH) review, while finding many of the claims for acupuncture to be lacking in firm medical and scientific evidence, nonetheless reported that “acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy or surgery and was effective at relieving dental pain” (Gary P. Stewart and others, Basic Questions on Alternative Medicine: What is Good and What is Not?, [Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998], 44).

But what is responsible for the limited success enjoyed by acupuncture? The above authors write:

“Different explanations for the effectiveness of acupuncture have also been proposed. Acupuncture causes numerous biological changes, with the release of endorphins being the most significant. These compounds are part of the body’s natural way to relieve pain. Also, pain in one area of the body can be reduced when another area is irritated, which may partially explain why the needles work” (p. 44).

Thus, there are some reasonable physical explanations for the limited success of acupuncture. But are there potential moral and spiritual dangers which one must be wary of in acupuncture? Yes. To quote again from the previous source, “Caution should be exercised in choosing a practitioner. Those who adhere to its roots in traditional Chinese medicine and religion may call on spiritual powers to assist in treatments, thus exposing people to occult influences” (p. 44).

This is a very good point and we would do well to be careful of such possibilities. But of course not everyone who practices acupuncture is involved with the occult. In fact, I’m aware of a local Chinese doctor who incorporates acupuncture (when appropriate) into his medical practice. But this man is a devout Christian and does not buy into the philosophical/religious ideas sometimes associated with traditional Chinese medicine.

So it appears that there is at least some evidence that acupuncture can be medically effective in treating pain and nausea. However, one should be careful in selecting a practitioner for the reasons stated previously.

Hope this helps. God bless you!

Michael Gleghorn
Probe Ministries

Addendum 3/17/2019: A friend of Probe, Dr. Caroline Crocker, provided us with this insightful article on the worldview aspect of acupuncture, adding, “Acupuncture is based on nonChristian prescientific ideas. Sorry.” It states that there is no scientific support for any mechanism that would explain a way for acupuncture to work, and that clinical trials show that it doesn’t work apart from a placebo effect.


Dr. Michael Gleghorn is both a research associate with Probe Ministries and an instructor in Christian Worldview at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University, a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Theological Studies (also from Dallas Theological Seminary). Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children: Arianna and Josiah. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565
[email protected]

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  1. Leonardo Locksmith 7 years ago

    Really awesome one.

  2. Ruth C Forde 5 years ago

    Great article. I have a friend who needs acupuncture treatment for neuropathy due to chemo. Could you recommend a Christian practitioner in the DFW area.

  3. Author
    Dr. Michael Gleghorn 5 years ago

    I’m afraid that I no longer know of anyone who is practicing acupuncture as a Christian in this area. Of course, that does not mean that there are no such people. I’m simply not aware of any. When I “googled” this issue, it appears that there are people you could contact. You can probably find a good doctor who practices acupuncture (and doesn’t include any religious elements) in the DFW area. May the Lord guide and direct you to such a person!

  4. Sue Bohlin 5 years ago


    I posted a question on Facebook asking about Christian acupuncturists in the DFW area and received a number of recommendations, but also a response from a trusted scientist friend directing us to this article from Science Based Medicine: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/reference/acupuncture/ . Her accompanying comment was, “Acupuncture is based on nonChristian prescientific ideas. Sorry.”

    However, if you are still interested in the recommendations, email me and I’ll send them to you.
    [email protected]

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