The Other Side of Acupuncture
A True Story
If you know that your spouse or child is unknowingly doing something that is injurious to herself, would you keep silent or would you warn them? They have already made up their mind. They will most likely consider you judgmental, intolerant or crazy. Would you "let nature take its course"? Or would you still give them cautions, despite how they may take it? Two years ago I decided to give up my career plan on becoming an Oriental Doctor and quit my school program as an acupuncturist intern. I did not tell my dear classmates the true reason why I left. In my farewell email, I told them something polite and courteous: it was not the right career fit for me, and wished them the best... I made the excuse that they would never understand, they would never believe if I told them. They would not want to hear this. I feared being ridiculed. So I kept quiet. "If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it?" (Proverb 24: 11-12) I regret. If I really "wished them the best", I should have told them the truth, regardless. I missed my friends.
My name is Ox Cheung. I was born and raised in China. I came to the United States of America for college education. I studied Biology at a University. Then I continued with graduate school. I graduated with Master of Science degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. After that, I worked for 5 years as a clinical statistician in research and pharmaceutical companies. I sat in front of a computer screen in a cubicle. The job was unsatisfying and unchallenging for me. I wanted to be my own boss, make more money and to live wherever I wanted. I strongly disliked western medicine and pharmaceuticals. I thought it is profit-driven, and it gives side effects that are worse than the disease it treats. Slowly I got interested in learning about natural cures and the alternative medicine. It impressed me as preventive, harmless, treating the root, and it is the 'suppressed underdog' that threatens the monopoly of mainstream healthcare industry. I wanted to be an entrepreneur. It was my dream to be "doing what I love, and loving what I do".
After much research, I finally decided to enroll in a 3 year program at an accredited acupuncture school. It was one of the Five Element Acupuncture schools in the U.S. Compared to the regular TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Acupuncture, Five Element is proclaimed to be more classical and therefore, spiritual-based medicine, while TCM is a watered down version that was scientifically repackaged to be more readily acceptable for marketing to the western world. As a student, I did not care. I only needed a means to make a good living. Patients did not care either. They wanted their pain gone. As long as it works, who cares about the details on how and why it works?
I met 17 classmates. Many of them were massage therapists, Yoga instructors and some other form of natural healers. We were quite like-minded: we talked about 'Chi' energy, Feng-Shui (geomancy) and discussed various healthy diets, while eating junk food at the same time. I was fun and loyal like a Labrador Retriever. In the classroom, I told crude jokes and did silly things to make my classmates laugh. Very quickly our friendship grew and we became very close friends. During semester breaks, my classmates and I memorized acupoints on the meridians and used each other's back, arms and legs to practice point locations with marker pens. We took each other's pulses and practiced interviewing techniques. Sometimes we went to parks and did Qigong together. My classmates were considerate and kindhearted. I was sure we would all become good doctors.
During the 1st year, I already couldn't wait to graduate and to pass the national exams afterwards. Then I would get the L.Ac license. I could 'visualize' myself setting up my clinic and becoming a successful doctor, helping people 'heal themselves'. As a Chinese, I often reminded myself of being a "Descendant of the Dragon", proud to have the opportunity to exalt our 5000 years of rich culture. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12 )
Taoism is the root of Acupuncture and Qigong. We believed when the human mind is in the flow or becomes one with the Nature, the energy blockage that causes illness or unpleasant situations would dissolve itself. We studied Yin-Yang and Five Element theories and also took some required western biomedical classes. In addition, I read many extracurricular books and ancient Chinese medical texts on my own. I aspired to be the best Chinese doctor I could be. I had always been motivating to both myself and my classmates. After all, we invested a large amount of money taking on this new career path. We were going to get the most out of it. We supported each other like comrades.
I noticed that there were inconsistencies and wide variance in the efficacy of Acupuncture or alternative/complementary treatments. It worked miracles for some people but did nothing much for others. There had never been any solid convincing proofs published in well established medical literature. I suspected and blamed that it was due to suppression by the evil pharmaceutical companies. I was on a mission to be a top-notch practitioner. I was going to find out the optimal factors that make it work consistently. "If they can do it, I can do it." I found out that historically all the legendary folk doctors in China practiced some form of Qigong, Taichi or meditation. It gave them supernatural abilities, including the power to heal others. I thought these exercises must have allowed them to tap into the infinite resources of the Great Universe. These highly revered masters were also called Shaman Doctors. I vaguely understood what "Shaman" meant. It didn't matter to me. As long as I could one day achieve the same results, I would be instantly rich and famous. "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) I was very into Feng Shui: constantly moving my furniture and adjusting the direction of my bed in order to increase my prosperity quotient and put the odds in my favor. There were Yin-Yang symbols placed at strategic spots to ward off negative Chi. There were also lucky charms and auspicious animals to attract good Chi. "...but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things." (Romans 1: 21-23) I also used visualizations such as to imagine the body being protected by a bubble of white light, or to envision a towering dragon walking behind me. Such techniques, along with meditation and Qigong, could supposedly protect us from getting "healer's disease": a phenomenon when a doctor takes on the illness or symptoms of his patients.
I had collected my own set of motivational proverbs: "Whatever it takes, I would do." For almost two years, I practiced Qigong for an hour or two daily. These were simple slow movement exercises. In beginner's level, they are merely simple repetitive movements or body stretching. In mid-level, reciting or chanting of mantras are incorporated. In higher levels, there are less physical movements and more stillness or meditation involved. The mantra of the Qigong I practiced was about peace, love, kindness, benevolence and forgiveness etc... "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Soon I became familiar with many metaphysical concepts and theories, because I studied them all diligently. I read through shelves of books in the library and bookstore in the 'New Age' section. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2: 10-12) I thought all natural medicine is wholistic and it tied together so perfectly with Taoism and metaphysics. According to Taoism, everything is energy. As within, so without: the outside world is a reflection of my inner thoughts. Everything, whether living or inanimate, is the microcosm of the Great Universe. We are all one, a part of the whole, a drop of water in the ocean. The Holographic Universe and other Quantum Physics theories attest that every part of the universe is a projection image of the entire whole. If one cut a hologram into many small separate pieces, each small piece still retains the original whole image. It explains Reflexology: a full body of organs are mapped out on the sole of our foot. It explains acupuncture: needling an ear acupoint can effect the liver, for example. It gives foundation to Palmistry, Tarot Card reading, Astrology, I-Ching, dowsing and other divinations. It explains Feng Shui: one can improve the exterior or interior setting to augment one's fate. It even explains reincarnation: life is one energy transformed to another continuously: we never really die. "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:" (Genesis 3:4) Tao also explains how psychic, distant healing and Hawaiian mantra healing works: a person 2000 miles away is still a part of you, by changing your own state, you change the state of others. Similarly, the Law of Attraction works by being in a state of positive vibe or higher energy vibration, you attract more of the same to you. Now with this belief, I became everything and anything. I elevated myself to be the Center of the Universe, and therefore attained the highest divine status, a god, through awareness. "...then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4) Like a light bulb lighting up in me... I thought I found the Tao (Way), the Truth. I got the whole Universe figured out with this "enlightenment".
I attended Qigong workshops and other healing seminars. There are so many different kinds of healing therapeutics nowadays. One of the workshops was called Tong Ren Therapy. It was taught by our Qigong teacher, who was very intelligent and charismatic. He had cancer many years ago and was cured by his Qigong master teacher, who invented this therapy. It was simply tapping an acupuncture model doll with a small pointed hammer. It could allegedly cure all sorts of diseases. This looked and sounded very much like voodoo. One by one in the class, whatever disease we called out, the teacher would prescribe to us specific combination of acupoints to tap on the doll. We were busy tapping like monks, and writing down the points for their corresponding diseases. These included cancer, Hepatitis, Alzheimer's, HIV etc. This therapy was long distance, remote, no touch healing. He explained its concept with Physiology, Neurology, Carl Jung's collective unconsciousness, the Oneness Doctrine and some computer and Internet analogies. When a whole class full of people were tapping the dolls together, it didn't seem so odd. This therapy could be used to treat animals as well: just switch to a pet model doll, a photograph or just draw it out on a piece of paper and then tap on it. Furthermore, you could use a laser pointer to shine on those points and achieve great results. There is no limit but the extent of our mind and our imagination power. "How long shall they utter and speak hard things? And all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?" (Psalm 94:4) He stressed that before doing the healing, we need to get an informed consent from the recipient. And also we should only send out good healing thoughts, because all the energy goes through ourselves first. We were ethical and righteous! The cost of this workshop, including the voodoo doll and hammer was $120. We were told it was as all powerful as acupuncture, if not better. Then I thought: our acupuncture program costs about $50,000 in total tuition, with additional living expenses. Why did I spend this extra money on tuition when I could just use the doll? If a=b and b=c, then shouldn't a equal c? In fact, I could have saved the $120 fee too. Just sit home and meditate on the health and wellbeing of patients, visualize the perfect outcome and let it manifest itself. Somewhere in the equation, I got ripped off in the amount of $49,880?? "Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols..." (Psalm 97: 7)
Even though I became "enlightened of the Tao", I thought I still had some minor things I did not understand... I did not become any healthier with all the natural medicine I surrounded myself with. Before joining the school, I had been healthy and did not need treatment of any sort. For the sake of program requirement, I had received several Acupuncture treatments by a teacher and intern of the school clinic. I gradually developed sleeping problems. It was hard to tell what caused it. I tried more Acupuncture and Qigong treatments. They did not help. I tried herbs, melatonin and every sleeping tips in the world. Nothing worked for more than a day or two. In fact, it got worse and I also had skin rashes and recurring nightmares of gnawing worms boring in and out of my flesh. "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:48) The usual diagnosis for these symptoms was 'fire out of balance'; the law of cures (healing crisis): it gets worse before it gets better; or maybe the body is going through detoxification process.
During this period of time, I was worried and distressed. I was quiet. There was not much laughter in the class anymore. It was the last semester before the 3rd final year, the clinical internship year. As an intern I would have to recruit many patients and perform 120 treatments in order to graduate. How was I going to do that when I was sleepy during the day and sleepless all night? Would anyone want to see a doctor who looked sicker than his patients? How could I sell microwave ovens if I believed they can cause cancer? Who would buy them?
Despite being lethargic and uneasy, I continued to research. This time more objectively, because it affected me! Most of us were led to accept that there are no side effects whatsoever associated with Acupuncture and other natural medicine. "The worst it can do is nothing." I started to doubt this statement. I recalled hearing an old lady complaining to me about her condition getting worse after Acupuncture treatments. I disbelieved and ignored her. I also remembered a story of personality changes in a patient that led to family crisis and divorce. Those were unconnected, exceptional, rare occurrences, I rationalized. But, I decided to find all I could find about the potential side effects or adverse reactions linked to alternative medicine and exercise. I had come across some related articles previously, but I brushed them off right away without giving much thought, because they were contrary to my belief. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Tim 4:3-4) At this time, I had no other choice but to put down my pride and carefully check whether there was any truth to it. In Qigong and Yoga books, there are often some disclaimers that state the potential physical and mental danger involved, including insanity and death. That seemed very odd coming from the guru authors themselves, even just for legal purposes. There are no such warnings in jogging and swimming books! Then I researched about 'Qigong Deviation' and 'Kundalini Awakening Syndromes'. These are not the pictures of people doing Taichi peacefully under a willow tree in a park, or an athletic person sitting in lotus position with Big Sur sunset in the background. These are people who developed various debilitating symptoms after practicing Qigong, Yoga, meditation and other new age 'activities'. How can it be? It is just stretching! It is just relaxing!
Shamanism comes with many different flavors and names. Googling it, you will find its definitions include: "shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. ... also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. " I also looked up the meanings of associated terms like medium, channeling, spiritism, sorcery...etc. As new age as I was, it took me some time trying to fully make sense and to digest these 'out of the world' terminologies. No ordinary person has any necessity nor inclination to clearly understand these practices, unless they are involved and there are bad consequences. I came to my senses when I read an article that contains the following quote from the Bible: "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God." (Deut 18:10-13)
Shamanism = witchcraft! Acupuncture = shamanism! Witchcraft was what I had been involved in! But nobody told me that, when I joined the school. Of course, nobody knew. But this warning came from a Christian author who quoted from the Bible! I strongly resented Christians, due to their overall horrendous publicity. I thought they were delusional and hypocrites. But now the Bible is the only original source that condemns witchcraft! Everywhere else it is being popularized. There were conflicting reports, multilayered conspiracies and misinformation everywhere. Who and what could I trust? How did I end up in this position?
On one hand, I reexamined Taoism and the new age. But now I checked more carefully into the background of the authors, including their affiliations and their beliefs. The Law of Attraction books that I liked to read were written by Hicks, who consulted with "non-physical beings" called Abraham using an Ouija board. As positive as her message was, what good can come out of an Ouija board? These "spiritual guides" just want to help human beings evolve into a higher state of consciousness. They want to help, to prevent us from destroying our environment and our planet. How nice! That's all? For free? No hidden agenda, no fine print, no obligations or strings attached? "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:" (John 10:10) The PanGu Qigong inventor, Master Ou, in his book states that the form was transmitted to him in his visionary dream of the Chinese mythical god, PanGu. Sure they have humans' best interests in mind? The inventors of Reiki, Homeopathy and Chiropractic were involved with spiritism. Many books and movies attempted to disprove the authority of the Bible. The producers and people involved all invariably advocated the new age Oneness doctrine. Their propaganda stories and claims could easily be refuted by documented facts. They were in closer look, very sloppy counterfeits! They lied, fuzzed, and used reverse-copycat to confuse the audience and readers. The twisted conspiracies were perpetrated and then "exposed" by their own conspirators. It was a trap and a waste of time. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."(John 8:44)
I put down my own bias and voluntarily resigned my position as "the Center of Universe". I was tired of lies. Where can I find truth? I started to read the Bible. I wanted to know if it is really true or not. If I could just find one mistake in it, I would be glad to deny the whole book as a lie. However, I sincerely desired to know why the Bible would warn humans against witchcraft or spiritism. If God is real, is He trying to protect humans from harm?
On the other hand, I reviewed the research done by Christians like John Ankerberg and Dave Hunt. I systematically learned about the dangers of witchcraft and dabbling in the occult. Shamanism has disguised itself in many forms. I studied about the altered state of consciousness, or trance. It is the state when hypnosis most easily occur. It is the mental state that facilitates channeling. It is also when human behavior is most easily manipulated. Psychedelic mushrooms, shamanic herbs, certain music beats and rhythms, tattoos, Yoga, martial arts, meditation and Acupuncture are all trance-inducing. They are doorways leading to shamanic experience and demonic bondage. Putting the puzzles together piece by piece, I started to understand the connections and see the bigger picture. I had been deceived by the spiritual Trojan horses. Those lovely gifts had little difficulty getting past the defense. They were invited to my city through the front gate. I celebrated in the welcoming banquet until dark and drunk, until it was too late.
I failed in my Bible fault-finding mission. The only faults I found were in myself. No one else has ever correctly found a flaw in the Bible. Every word in the Bible is pure and true. All the prophecies of the past and of the present have been fulfilled with 100% accuracy. It can be taken for granted, as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow, that the warnings and the prophecy of the future will be fulfilled. This is what the Bible says about me: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21: 8)” Based on statistics and common sense, there was no chance this would not happen, if I carried on. I believe every word of the Bible. It is irrefutably the Word of God. There is no evidence available that proves otherwise. I very much wished I was wrong because I had reluctance accepting what destiny awaits me and my dear classmates in the future. It rocked people's boat and pushed them out of their comfort zone. The implication of truth is too harsh to deal with. But I also reckoned that the result of avoiding the truth would be infinitely more unbearable. Jesus said Hell is a real place. My nightmare of worms was a wake up call to me but it did not prove the existence of Hell. Visions and dreams can not be trusted or used as court evidence. However, I absolutely do not want to go there just to confirm its existence or to prove others wrong. “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”(Matthew 13:42) Hell is a very real place because Jesus Christ warned us about it in the Bible.
Nobody forced me to believe. I was surrounded by people who did not believe. My faith in the Word of God grew as I continued to read the Bible. I completely stopped doing Qigong. I got rid of the symbols and good luck charms. I had no more nightmares and my health slowly improved. I thanked God for His warnings to me through His Word in the Bible. He rescued me from the path towards destruction. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Roman 6:23) “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ( John 15:13) I no longer prayed to the mysterious Great Universe or to my ancestors asking for help. I found out that they would not be able to hear me, nor would they be able to help. “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:... They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. “ (Psalm 115:4-8)
I thought maybe I could continue practicing acupuncture, as long I stayed away from the shamanistic and spiritual part of it. I did treat two patients in my clinical year. I felt tremendous guilt when needling them. I prayed before, during and after the treatments that they would be okay. I knew the potential risk would possibly be emotional or spiritual in nature, and it might take a very long time to manifest. But you never know. Who knows for sure what got invited during an Ouija board session? One person can play fifty times without incidence, but it can be “sudden death” for another. “But I spent three years of time and all the money on this medical profession...” I came up with a hundred reasons and justifications, but to no avail. “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.”(1 Corinthians 10:21) Who in their right mind and conscience can knowingly do this to others? If my classmates understood its danger, I am sure they would also give up, eventually. It will affect not only the shaman and the shamanee, but their families as well.
It had been clearly established in the fundamental doctrinal text of Chinese medicine, Huang Di Nei Jing, that Wu (Shaman) and Yi (Physician) in Chinese medicine are equivalent. Chinese characters are pictographs. Wu 巫 is depicted as two people 人 holding a pen doing divination. Wu (Shaman) is the bottom half of Yi (Physician) 毉, in the ancient variant character for Yi 醫. So, Shaman Doctor is the name. The healing effect and the force does not come from us. ”whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,” (2 Thessalonians 2:9) Please wake up, my friends! It defiles a person. The initial benefits come with a price that no one can afford. ”The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2Peter 3:9-10)
When I saw my third patient during the interview, I told her that disease is often beyond physical. I advised her that Acupuncture would not work for her and asked her to try praying. Then I sent her off without consulting my supervisor teacher. That was the end of my clinical internship, the end of my “promising career”. With disgust and resolution, I threw away all my Acupuncture books, charts, needles and anything related to it. I wanted nothing to do with shamanism anymore. I became a Christian.
I miss my classmates. I valued our friendship. I did not want our farewell to be an eternal separation. My classmates are always in my mind. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) I wanted to tell them a true story: it happened about 2000 years ago. Jesus Christ was born to a virgin named Mary. Jesus is the Son of God, the only one true God who created us. We were separated from Him because of our sins. He is pure and just. The only way that we can be reconciled with Him is through Jesus Christ paying for the price of our sins. He was tortured to die on the cross in our place. He was innocent, without sin. Therefore, His shed blood contains infinite power that cleanses away all our sins and acquits us from satan's condemnations. Our Redeemer conquered death by His resurrection in three days. I believe it completely. It is plainly written in the Bible. So anyone can easily understand. God cares about each one of us. This free gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, I desperately needed and most gladly received. It takes faith, and nothing else. He saved my soul, and He is the Lord of my life. This is a true story about our Saviour. My beloved classmates, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)