Alternative Medicine

Dear Probe,

Firstly, thanks for a wonderful “questions and answers” webpage. So helpful since I wanted answers on Reiki vs Christianity. The other one that I need clarity on is Kinesiology. Is this also linked to alternative/new age stuff? I don’t have a good feeling about it and I have a dear friend who spends time at a health spa/hydro where they do kinesiolody, reiki etc. I know that reiki is a no-no (thanks to your website) but can’t find anything about kinesiology (except info where other Christians are trying to “justify” that it is ok. I would really appreciate your valued info regarding this. Many thanks, D

D,

Thanks for writing in to Probe as your reliable resource for truth in a confusing world. Previously, you asked about Reiki, and my colleague Michael responded; so glad it was helpful to you. My undergraduate degree is in Kinesiology, which is simply the study of the human body in motion. Under this umbrella are studies and occupations such as physical therapy, sports medicine, physical education, sports management, coaches, personal trainers, and outdoor recreation specialists (ie. camp directors, adventure tour guides, etc.).

So I think what you are referring to is what’s called Applied Kinesiology (AK), which does fall under the category of alternative medicine. (At least, that’s how we break it down in the States. I realize in South Africa that may not be the case.) You can find a helpful, and scholarly sound, article at Wikipedia for more info about what AK is and why it’s largely considered a pseudoscience. However, the problems with AK are scientific more than theological.

I want to note that not all forms of alternative medicine are spiritually or scientifically suspicious. I’m not saying you do this (I don’t know you that well :)), but as Westerners we can have a tendency to be overly suspicious scientifically and overly sensitive spiritually in regard to alternative medicine.The argument can be made that mainstream medicine relies too heavily on medicating everything and often does more harm than good with the many side effects we put our bodies through as a result of shifting our natural chemical makeup. And, that by removing ourselves from more natural remedies, we remove ourselves further from God’s creation than he intends. In other words, God created all things and all things are connected to him and to each other; when we distance ourselves from creation, we distance ourselves from God. Or at least, we’ve made it more difficult than perhaps God intended. We certainly don’t believe that all things are God or divine. But all things are created by God and he has left his divine fingerprints on everything. And his very image in man!

So we can be cautious when it comes to alternative medicines or practices such as yoga or tai chi; we don’t have to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. We must remember that all truth is God’s truth, and that even when these methods are misdirected away from the True God and into false gods and spiritual realities, that doesn’t mean that the whole method is false. We are called to reconcile what has been directed away from God back toward God.

I hope this is helpful to you. If you have any other questions, let me know!

Grace and Peace.

Renea,

Many thanks for your reply and explanation. Appreciate it.

Regards, D

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3 Responses to Alternative Medicine

  1. John says:

    Hi Renea –
    Do you think that we should start asking the question “Why would we restrict this?” instead of “Is this ok to do as a Christian?” If we have valid reasons for restricting something (i.e. excessive drinking) then we restrict it, but I think we shouldn’t go around asking if something is allowable, but rather ask why it should not be.

    This way, we start with a broad view of the world where we are free to experience life fully (as the Christian life should be, I think), but also realize that there are limits. We don’t start small and expand, but we start wide (this isn’t relativism, btw. And “starting wide” doesn’t mean just going and doing anything and then thinking about it, but rather it’s a mental position) and then restrict as necessary.

    Thoughts?

  2. reneamac says:

    Excellent point, John! Yes, I think we’d be better off if we were socially wired (by our particular Christian subcultures) to start from a more generous view of the world. And the way our Christian subcultures can shift toward this kind of social co-creating of frameworks for viewing the world is if we, as individuals, begin to use this language, as you have.

    I often say that for those of us bent toward asking the question “Why?” sometimes the question, “Why not?” is a better question to ask. Of course, that works in reverse as well; for those more oriented toward shrugging “Why not?” asking “Why should I do this or not do that?” will help temper a tendency toward haphazardness.

    Well said my friend! A very welcome return as a commenter here at swwf. 🙂

  3. John says:

    Thanks Renea. It’s nice to be back in the world of commenting on blogs (and maybe resurrecting my semi-in-the-grave blog as well).
    I think your point about the question working in the reverse as well, and I think it’s an important question to ask along with the “Why not?”, as this does help keep from relativism. Of course, if we’re doing the “Just in the mind” way of living, theoretically when considering it, then we keep away from this relativizing. This could raise some interesting questions about the life of the mind, though…
    Thanks for making me think again! I miss our diatribes, and I look forward to future discussions on our blogs as well!
    John

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