Question: "Should a Christian participate in acupuncture / acupressure?"
Answer: Let us begin this answer with a bit of history. The origin of acupuncture is Chinese and it is a teaching of Taoism. Taoism is the philosophical system evolved by Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu and that advocates a life of complete simplicity and naturalness and of non-interference with the course of natural events in order to attain a happy existence in harmony with the tao, or life force. It is also called Hsuan Chaio, which is a popular Chinese religion that purports to be based on the doctrines of Lao-tzu but which is actually highly eclectic in nature and characterized by a pantheon of many gods, superstitions, and the practice of alchemy, divination and magic.
In this Chinese philosophy and religion there are two principles. The first is the "yin," which is negative, dark and feminine, and the second is "yang," which is positive, bright and masculine. The interaction of these two forces is thought to be the guiding influence for the destinies of all creatures and things. In other words, there is no place for the one true God of the universe in this false religion. One’s fate is under the power of the balance or imbalance of these two forces. Acupuncture is an attempt to bring these two forces (yin and yang) into harmony and therefore positively affect the "destiny" or the health of the body. Acupuncture then is a mechanism practiced by adherents of Taoism that is used to bring the "yin and yang" of the body into harmony with tao and it is based in a false religion.
With that information as a basis, can we find an answer about false religion in Scripture? The answer is yes. There are numerous commands to Israel by God that deal with the false gods of the pagans that surrounded them. We find many of these commandments in Leviticus and again in Deuteronomy. However the first commandment God gave to Israel is the foundation of all of these commandments. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3).
The question of whether acupuncture is biblical is answered by the first commandment from the Old Testament that is repeated in the New Testament (Matthew 22:37-40). Any practice that is part of a false religion is not biblical. The fact that our society has been inundated by imported Eastern religions and "New Age" practices is another sign of the "last days" (2 Timothy 3:1-7). However, these things are not "new" at all. Rather, they are the old counterfeit religions masquerading as legitimate practices. No wonder the Apostle Paul warned us that Satan and his ministers masqueraded as angels of light. "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
Adding the word "Christian" to something does not legitimize it nor does it make it biblical. The term "Christian acupuncture" is what is known as an "oxymoron" or a self-contradiction. In other words, the two words cancel out each other. Acupuncture is not based in the foundations of Christianity. The definition of a Christian means a follower of Christ. Acupuncture is a practice of an ancient Chinese religion and philosophy that has no place in the life of a born again believer. Acupuncture may seem harmless and innocuous and perhaps even "beneficial" but it can be a doorway to the occult. William Divine, chairman of the California Acupuncture Association said, "You could bring one patient in and five different practitioners could look at him and they would come up with five different diagnoses and none of them would be wrong." In other words, none of these five practitioners know the truth. They are all operating from their own opinions based in superstition rather than a diagnosis based in true knowledge. A needle piercing the skin could conceivably cause a beneficial reaction to a nerve, but that is not the original theory behind the practice of acupuncture. There are many who are practitioners of this philosophy that are deceived as to its true origin and what they are really involved with.
As to the difference between acupuncture and acupressure, instead of needles, pressure is placed upon nerve centers. For instance there are pressure points said to be in the sole of the foot and the palm of the hand that correspond to other areas of the body. Acupressure would seem to mean the same as deep massage therapy where the muscles of the body are exposed to pressure to increase blood flow. However, if the process is practiced to bring the body into the harmony of yin and yang, then it is rooted in occultism. The question becomes is it being practiced as part and parcel of the same philosophic origins of Chinese acupuncture? The answer to that question should be the guiding issue.
The important issue here is separation for the born-again believer from any and all practices that would bring them the danger of bondage to counterfeit religions. Ignorance of evil is a danger and the more we inform ourselves as to the true origin of the Eastern philosophies and practices, the more we see that they are rooted in superstition, occultism and false religions that are in direct opposition to God's Word. The world's false religions teach that there are "many paths to God." This is the ultimate lie. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father, except through Me" (John 14:6). None of the counterfeit religions can bring us into harmony with God. The only way is through the Lord Jesus Christ.