Samuel Cheung, a licensed Chinese medicine doctor and missionary, believes acupuncture and herbal medicine do not have innately spiritual components and are “just like getting a shot or taking a pill.” Secular TCM practitioners agree: The late Dr. Felix Mann, a British acupuncturist, told the U.K.’s Christian Medical Fellowship he believed the ancient Chinese found a way to treat patients that worked empirically and then created an explanation for it using their cultural beliefs.
Still, Cheung stays away from certain areas of TCM because of his Christian faith. For instance, he rejects the Taoist belief of yin and yang as well as qi gong, a TCM exercise and meditation technique.
In a case study published during a 2000 Lausanne Movement conference in Nairobi, a former qi gong master told of how his deep involvement in the technique healed him of rheumatism and enabled him to heal others and even engage in telepathy. Yet he said those supernatural powers came from demonic spirits who eventually enslaved him and commanded him to jump out a window. He was freed only after professing faith in Christ.
Cheung, who worked in the Western medical field for 25 years before becoming a missionary in Central and Southeast Asia, decided to learn TCM because he felt it would be a useful tool in his ministry. Many rural areas lacked the infrastructure for medical teams to haul heavy loads of equipment and medicine, but the only equipment needed for acupuncture are needles.
So at age 60, Cheung got a master’s degree in TCM in Los Angeles and returned to Asia, where he set up acupuncture clinics in rural villages and helped train more than 100 seminary students in the practice. Typically villagers would start out skeptical of acupuncture, but warm to it as they saw results.