Natural Medicine vs. New Age Medicine - How can a Christian know the difference?
The Lure of Natural Healthcare
Christians everywhere seem to be running to Complementary & Alternative Healthcare. If this growing field of medicine is “natural,” it must be God’s way.
But is it?
Years ago, I believed it was. I even endeavored to become a Doctor of Natural Medicine (ND), enrolling in an educational program. I would become a board-certified Complementary and Alternative Healthcare Practitioner, which was the newest title in the field since ND was receiving backlash. I wanted to know and practice all modalities of Alternative Medicine. I wanted to help people. As a Christian, I wanted Satan’s lies uncovered in the realm of healthcare.
When I first realized that I was being taught techniques straight from witchcraft, I was shocked. I even experienced a terrifying encounter with a demonic entity. I quit the program and began researching. How could I have been so deceived? Where did I stray from the path? I was a Christian, so what happened?
Today, I still want to help people, and I still want Satan’s lies uncovered. Now it is the form of warning my fellow Christians and others about the occult dangers lurking in Complementary and Alternative Healthcare.
If you find yourself navigating the natural health craze unsure what to believe and seeking the truth, this article is for you. Please read carefully. Occult ideas are rampant in this field of medicine, and terminology can be confusing. It would be best to ask God for discernment before reading this, and any article on the subject.
Natural Medicine vs. New Age Medicine
What is Natural Medicine?
People use the terms “natural medicine” or "natural health" to mean many things. These are not official terms. Natural medicine as used in this article and as it is often understood is a general term encompassing any home remedy or activity that does not utilize pharmaceutical drugs, chemicals or procedures of conventional medicine believed by some to be harmful to the body.
Examples of natural medicine might be common household remedies, such as applying aloe on a burn or gargling warm saltwater for a sore throat. Some people like to utilize the properties of herbs to make infusions, such as thyme into honey as a cough syrup. Natural Medicine also typically means using proper nutrition to boost and maintain health.
Proponents of natural medicine can vary from those who might prefer to use cloth diapers and buy foods labeled organic to those who zealously rid their body and environment of any man-made chemicals they might accidentally encounter. They pay attention to their health and give their bodies required amounts of sleep, exercise, nutrition and fluids. They may use any number of practices from the field of alternative medicine.
Sounds harmless, right?
However, a really big, alarming problem occurs when those who are innocently fond of the buzzword “natural” fall into a deceptive new age or occult trap. New Age medicine has been cleverly disguised today.
OK, so what is New Age Medicine?
New Age medicine is terminology not often used today. It mostly refers to practices of energy medicine, a sub-field of alternative medicine, though New Age medicine is the most truthful description. Those who recognize the eastern religious ties or ties to the occult in this field might call it New Age medicine, as John Ankerberg and John Weldon did in their 1991 book, Can You Trust Your Doctor? The Complete Guide to New Age Medicine and its Threat to Your Family. Others just call it energy medicine.
The problem is that most people believe New Age medicine is the same as natural medicine.
Since New Age medicine practitioners and participants are also natural medicine proponents, usually in strong degrees, this helps to create the illusion that the two are one in the same.
Some examples of New Age medicine include muscle testing for a remedy the body needs (Applied Kinesiology), manipulating chakras to promote balance in the body, channeling energy to activate healing, invoking healing powers of crystals, or imprinting an energy frequency into water to create a healing elixir.
For a Christian, red flags are waving from those descriptions! Good! But do not be fooled. Some occult practices in the arena of medicine are not so obvious at first, such as aspects of some Chiropractic, aspects of essential oil usage, yoga principles, acupuncture, reflexology and reiki. Also, New Age medicine practitioners can be professionals operating in medical settings, such as nutritionists, doctors and psychologists. Sometimes practitioners use body scanning machines and medical rhetoric that implies their practices are evidence-based and safe. The practitioners themselves certainly believe so.
In general, New Age medicine is based on reading, utilizing and manipulating energy. That is where the term energy medicine came from. Not all practices of alternative medicine are spiritually dangerous, but many incorporate concepts from energy medicine/New Age medicine.
One more term to know is integrative medicine. This is the use of both alternative medicine and conventional medicine together. Integrative medicine is somewhat new and is becoming more prevalent today as research reveals the benefits of a holistic or whole-person approach to health and healing. 
Natural Medicine + New Age Medicine = Complementary & Alternative Healthcare
Both natural medicine and New Age Medicine show up side by side in alternative healthcare modalities, which are today collectively termed Complementary and Alternative Healthcare or, in the recent past, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Practitioners in this field (naturopaths, homeopaths, acupuncturists, etc.) usually affirm all the other modalities in the field and often employ more than one themselves, though it’s not uncommon for techniques to differ widely between practitioners.
A few areas of this field of medicine, such as the use of herbs as chemicals for medicinal purposes, can exist outside of New Age medicine influences, but most often they do not. That is why Christians need to be on guard and navigate wisely all that is loosely referred to as natural medicine.
What Does the Bible Have to Say?
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as you for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so. (Deuteronomy 18: 9-14)
The connection between divination and some practices of alternative medicine may not seem clear at first, but take a closer look.
The word occult means secret or hidden knowledge. Divination is a general term that means any practice not specifically ordained in Scripture which seeks to gain secret knowledge.
In general, the “medical” practices of New Age Medicine often involve consulting your body, or something else, for secret knowledge, such as a medical diagnosis or a requirement of your body for a certain remedy or supplement. That is why a reiki practitioner might ask if you are sad because they sense a heaviness over your heart, or a Therapeutic Touch practitioner might say there is inflammation in your body because they sense heat. Your doctor might even confirm it. As another example, a Complementary and Alternative Healthcare Practitioner or a Doctor of Natural Medicine might tell you that an electrodermal screening machine has revealed evidence of an injury you sustained as a child, something they could not have possibly known. In fact, it is not uncommon for alternative medicine practitioners to begin developing a keen intuition about their patients. If you take this out of the context of healthcare, it may easily remind you of a medium or fortune teller.
The answer to the mystery lies in the reality that practitioners are not working within the boundaries of science. They are often working with what the Bible calls familiar spirits, or demons, and these people either know it, or they are doing so unwittingly. The occult practices disguised as medical arts today are no different than other adulterous practices Christians already know to avoid, such as Ouija boards, séances, tarot card readings, and the like. There does not always have to be a demon, of course. In that case, the placebo effect is often at work, for these techniques do not hold up in double-blind tests. Many professionals of modern medicine consider the therapies quack treatments that can cause harm to patients.
However, deceived practitioners believe true science is behind their modalities and the explanation lies in quantum physics. They believe energy in and around us can be read, understood or skillfully manipulated, and correcting an imbalance of this energy puts a body on track for healing. To them, energy imbalances or deficiencies are the root causes of illness and disease. However, this concept is not validated by physics.
Instead, the supposed healing energy of energy medicine is indistinguishable from that used by all manner of occultists. The very definition of magic in witchcraft religions is “the manipulation of energy.” There is no doubt that this energy is either the manifestation of evil spirits themselves or the spirits’ use of natural energies for their own purposes. Practitioners who become very familiar with the energy have admitted that it can be used for evil purposes or good, depending on the practitioner. This explains the idea of good and evil witches. However, as Christians, we understand that supernatural forces are either of God, or they are not. They cannot be neutral.
By implication, practices based on occult energy cannot be “Christianized.” The spirits behind false religions and New Age ideas don’t mind the belief that all gods are the same or that occultic energy is given various names (Ki, Qi, Chi, Prana, Mana, etc.) and attributed to many sources, even Jesus. But God has a problem with it. The Bible is explicit. We shall not consult or worship other gods.
Below is an example of God demonstrating His disapproval of the use of divination for medical purposes in the following Biblical account…
Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, “Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury… (II Kings 1:2)
God sent the prophet Elijah to King Ahaziah to say, “‘This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’ So he died, according to what the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken.” (II Kings 1:16-17)
One reason so many people have come to trust New Age medicine practices is because "they work!" But when it is not the placebo effect, the reason why these medical practices sometimes do work, even miraculously, is likely due to the spiritual power involved. Demons may not heal, but an evil spirit could cease the harm which they themselves are causing in order to feign a healing. When forbidden techniques are used, deception is gained. The craftiness of demonic deception is the reason why even practitioners of scientific medicine can be converted to New Age beliefs.
In Deuteronomy 13:1-5, God told His people that even if a prophet comes to them and foretells a wonder, and that wonder takes place, if the prophet tells the people to follow and worship other gods, they must not listen to any of his words. In reality, “The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:3-4)
In the Bible, God continually wanted His people to be set apart from the occult practices of the cultures that surrounded them, and to rely on Him. It may have been just as difficult then to decipher between safe, natural remedies and deceiving, occult magic as it is today but not impossible.
The Gospel writer Luke is an example of someone who probably understood the boundaries. According to Bible scholarship, Luke was a learned physician. He put his medical knowledge to use in ministry and notably to attend to the Apostle Paul’s needs. However, because he was a Greek, Luke likely adhered to the Hippocratic school of thought, which includes the occult theory of the four humors. Nevertheless, Scripture identifies Luke as the “beloved physician.” Doubtless, occult practices did not enter into Luke’s administration of medicine as a believer. In fact, Luke was present for the encounter in which the Apostle Paul rebuked a spirit of divination from a slave girl (Acts 16:16-19). Luke discerned the spirit as such in his writing in the book of Acts.
As an example, using herbs as chemicals for medicinal purposes likened to that which Luke perhaps utilized, therefore, unlike other modalities of energy medicine, is not divination. However, it should not be taken lightly that the use of herbs has been an area rife with occult activity since antiquity. Old ideas are just as rampant and deceptive today as they have always been. For example, some herbalists believe the herbs are healing the body energetically. Therefore, even with neutral modalities, beware of any anti-Christian philosophies that may be presented with them. It is not the herb or other vehicle that is evil. It is the beliefs behind them that should be questioned.
On the other hand, some practices cannot be neutral at all, such as reiki, where communication with spirits is an integral part of the practice.
Christians and New Age Medicine
Today, divination is still found infiltrating the Christian church, especially thanks to New Age medicine. It is just as poisonous to the faith as it was to Israel's faith in the Old Testament. The basis for pantheistic doctrines is that because everything is a manifestation of divine energy, everything is divine. Basically, all men are part of God. Recall that Satan lured Eve toward sin by telling her she would be like God. This is the basis for Eastern religions and Western occultism. It is to this dangerous deception that New Age thought leads. It is no place for a Christian.
One way that Christians are often lured to New Age healing is because it is deceptively labeled as all-natural. Christians readily believe God infused His creation with healing qualities yet to be fully understood, such as a natural healing force within the body. It is appealing to Christians to utilize creation “the way God intended” and to reject man’s manipulation of it into synthetic chemicals. Furthermore, Christians recognize a spiritual power at work that looks and sounds similar to the God we know (II Corinthians 11:14). In fact, it is most common to find Christian practitioners in the New Age medicine field believing their skills to be gifts from God.
Christians themselves help spread the deception by teaching it to other brothers and sisters, claiming the field is God’s way. Christian victims of New Age medicine often say they first believed the deception because another Christian introduced it to them. Miraculous healing (“It really works!) is often the primarily evidence sited for belief, but look again.
Not surprisingly, many of these healings are later identified as demonic counterfeits or the placebo effect. Testimonies abound of sicknesses improving for a time and then worsening. (See testimonies below this article.) Other Christians tell about having needed to repent of their involvement with a New Age Medicine practice before true healing could take place, or before they could be freed of demonic bondage brought on by opening themselves up to the occult. Both practitioners and patients are equally at risk.
Christian proponents of natural medicine should be on guard because it is rare that New Age medicine is not found seeping wherever and however it can. This field is mostly unchecked by both the scientific and faith-based communities, making it easier for innocent proponents of natural medicine to be deceived by New Age medicine.
The Apostle John tells Christians to “test the spirits,” learning to recognize counterfeits (I John 4:1). We must know the true Shepherd and rely on His Word, certainly not signs and emotions, which themselves can be deceptive. Science and rational thought are also secondary tools at our disposal.
As an important aside, modern medicine and natural medicine are not our only choices, so there is no reason to despair. When I first realized that the field of natural healthcare was riddled with deceptions, I felt lost. At the time, I thought modern medicine seemed to be failing us in ways, too. I felt there needed to be a third option. One day, Jesus opened my eyes to understand that He has always been the first, only and best option! When our health is placed in the hands of the Almighty Healer, we can finally know the hope that we have desperately sought. Learn what the Bible teaches about healthcare here and healing here.
In the meantime, this writer encourages Natural Medicine proponents to no longer fear the medical doctor. Instead, it is best to include proper medical diagnosis, testing and applicable treatments into your life, prefaced with prayer, supervised by the Holy Spirit and covered with biblical wisdom.
I also ask Christian brothers and sisters to do prayerful research, as you would not have found this article if the Holy Spirit was not drawing your heart to seek the truth about alternative medicine/energy medicine.
Meg Grimm writes biblical studies and research articles that help set women free from impractical standards of the world. She strives to unveil true beauty and sensible body care principles from a godly perspective.
 O’Manthúna, Dónal and Larimore, Walt. Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook. Zondervan, 2007. (pg. 22)