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what does the Torah, Talmud and other scriptures (commentators) say about alternative treatments and medicines (yoga, accupuncture, ayurveda, haptonomy etc.)? Is it ok to get this kind of healthcare? At what point do medicines or treatments become 'not allowed' or 'allowed' acording to scriptures?

  • Related question judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/28587/… , the answers tackles some of the issues raised in this question – bondonk Feb 15 '15 at 14:10
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    Rabbi Akiva Tatz touches on the question briefly in this lecture. He says that in general, one is not required to pursue it, but it's generally permissible. – MTL Feb 15 '15 at 21:12
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    Ask a doctor... – Shmuel Brin Feb 15 '15 at 21:47
  • Hi @J.Levi ... My suggestion is narrowing this question down to individual parts of your original question. Mi.Yodeya will probably like it better if you ask one question like "What does Judaism think of yoga?", then a separate question about acupuncture, another about ayurveda, etc. For each one, explain the possible issues with the practice and why you worry it might not be Jewishly ok. (Or, if you're just wondering, say that.) Good luck! – SAH Feb 16 '15 at 7:38
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Many have spoken up and warned against healing methods based upon non-Jewish, eastern style mysticism, that are not proven on a scientific basis, but often are based on idolatrious practices (like yoga).

You can read such a warning from Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh:

http://www.inner.org/responsa/leter1/resp49.htm

Here you have a similar summary from various dati leumi rabbis:

http://www.vosizneias.com/89433/2011/08/17/israel-rabbis-alternative-medicine-based-on-idolatry/

Here is a general summary about alternative healing practices, mostly emphasizing the importance of not relying on them exclusively (it doesn't mention yoga and the like, probably because it was written earlier when it was not that prevalent):

http://download2.yutorah.org/1990/1053/735804.pdf

If you have some time, I think it worth very much to listen to this shiur about the general understanding of the mitzvah tamim tihye, not looking for any "esoteric" kind of things. It gives a very healthy general approach to a lot of other issues as well, and it is mostly excerpted from a book of Rabbi Yaakov Hillel:

https://www.torahanytime.com/#/lectures?v=3656

And let me add my 5 cents to the issue at the end: I am somewhat surprised, why the incident mentioned at the end of Avodah Zarah 27b is not referenced in sources which are discussing this issue. I think it presents a very important reason why to avoid cures which are rooted in not so clear sources:

Rabbi Yishmael didn't let a min to cure his nephew of a snakebite, and subsequently, the latter died of it. He was concerned that the nephew or the people surrounding would be influenced by the worldview of the one who healed him.

I think this line of reasoning is certainly applicable in our world, where there is such a big chaos of every kind of strange ideas!

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  • Thank you! Although I didn't see it before, I hope my answer offered fits the rules quite well. – BinyominZeev Dec 15 '16 at 11:33
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In a recently published book from the writings of Rabbi Yisroel Belsky Z"L, titled "Shulchan HaLevi on Alternative Medicine", the exact workings and halachic ramifications of many such methods are clarified. The Psak is that all alternative medicines (including Energy and New Age healing) are absolutely forbidden.

  • as the question is a general one, all pages are relevant. – heshy Nov 26 '17 at 20:22
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Rabbi Tendler wrote in the name of his father-in-law (Reb Moshe Feinstein) that fake medicine leads to false beliefs, and Reb Moshe refused to answer whether such medicine was kosher or not.

However, Rabbi Meir Amsel wrote that this answer doesn't sound like something Reb Moshe would write, and he ruled that taking such medicines (when it's Pikuach Nefesh) is permitted even when it violates the Torah.

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