I (as well as many of you) am very excited about our seminar with Tom Tam taking place Saturday and Sunday, March 5th and 6th at the Double Tree Grand Hotel Miami. Many of you have received Tong Ren Therapy as part of your treatments and I keep hearing how amazed some of you have been at the sensations of energy, heat and tingling that you experience in your individual session and in the group. I keep hearing the same wondering though: How is this possible? How can something like this work? How can people improve their health and even heal from terrible diseases by tapping on an acupuncture doll? Is it the Placebo effect?
These are all great questions. I had them myself since years ago when Tom Tam first introduced this method. Incredulous can easily be one of my first reactions years ago when Tom shared with me what he was exploring. Now, many years later, Tong Ren therapy has grown significantly. There are Tong Ren classes and groups organized in many States and in over 20 countries. People practicing Tong Ren in all of these places share the same results when treating the people. Therefore, over time, we have come to see how Tong Ren Therapy offers results that are replicable. A Tong Ren Group treating a cancer patient with Chemo side effects in Italy experiences the same results (the patient feeling better) using the same method and acupuncture points, as a group in Miami Florida doing the same, for example.
Replicability of results is one of the fundamental tenets of the scientific method and by now we know that this is exactly the case with Tong Ren Therapy. Over the years Tom Tam’s research, constant practice and observation (as well as the results of every Tong Ren group in practice) have helped the Tong Ren community worldwide put together a theoretical framework that provides a scientific basis for Tong Ren’s ability to help people heal.
As medical science progresses, the mind-body effect, first scientifically documented and replicated by neuro-biologist Candice Pert, becomes more evidence-based. In the 1970s Dr. Pert, working for the National Institute of Health, discovered the Opioid Receptor and their sites. This was a revolutionary discovery at the time. In the process, Dr. Pert discovered that receptors for a type of molecule called a Neuropeptide, where found all over the body. This was also a tremendous discovery because until then it was thought that molecular processes originated only in the brain and followed a “Top-Down” system of operation.
Dr. Pert’s (followed by many of her colleagues trying to replicate the experiment) was showing that in fact the communication superhighway for healing signals called Neuropeptides occurred in symbiotic relationship between the brain and the body communicating back and forth rather than Top-Down. And so the phrase “The Mind Body Connection” was coined.
Just as the Tong Ren results show, these scientific findings began to call into question and in fact begin to lay the death bed for the so-called Placebo effect. Why? Because evidence was growing and strongly suggesting humans and animals have an inner healing signal system. A mechanism that helps cure illness. Dr. Pert was one of the first to scientifically document this by showing that a type of molecule (Neuropeptides) named Endorphins where able to put out inflammation and pain; and also, contributed to the self-repair of tissues. Similarly, thousands of spontaneous cancer healings by people practicing many things, from prayer, meditation, Chi Gong, shamanism, etc. have been documented. And the list goes on…
So the question now is not really about the Placebo effect. The question now is: what is the self healing mechanism humans are endowed with? Tong Ren theorizes that this healing signal system is associated with energy and Brainwave Entrainment. Tong Ren has shown that it is able to tap into a mechanism of healing. And it has documented helping many people recover from, for instance, cancer. The difference is that in Tong Ren theory the internal mechanism is activated through the formula: The Collective Uncouncious -à Brainwave Entrainment -à Synchronicity, modulated by acupuncture energetic and the Nervous System.
After more than fifteen years of development and practice, it is difficult for many people to accept that one can literally “tap” into the energetics of health. Through this discussion I hope to help shed some further light into how this system works. I will try to unpack this conundrum by describing the scientific and ancient Eastern theories that provide the foundation of Tong Ren practice; and in the process, I will illuminate the major contributions to energy healing and improvement to the acupuncture system that Tom Tam has accomplished.
1.1 From the Beginning:
The Tong Ren Healing System developed by Tom Tam provides a viable, replicable healing therapy technique (See “The Tong Ren Healing Method: A Survey Study”, Sullivan et al; Department of Social and Behavioral Health, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. 12/23/2008.) Tong Ren offers hope and effectiveness in the treatment of illness without compromising safety.
In his foundational book Tong Ren Therapy: Beyond Acupuncture Tom Tam describes and expounds on the role that unseen energetics play in the human and cosmological system, the macrocosmic and the microcosmic levels. He makes references to energy concepts that are well established in the Physics scientific tradition – Gravitational Force, Electro Magnetic Force, Weak Nuclear Force and Strong Nuclear Force.
These are the established concepts of energy in modern physics albeit with the absence of an energy force that could finally provide evidence of the elusive Unified Field theory. Then he provides a possibility for this Unified Field: the Shen-Chi concept of the ancient Taoist system. Energy that flows (Chi) formed the Universe and this energy is good and permeates all living things. But although foundational in the Taoist system, Shen Chi is, at best, not even a hypothesis to the Western scientific tradition. So Tom Tam is left only with the recognized energies of modern physics to deal with.
Tom Tam suggests that these four energies (Gravitational Force, Electro Magnetic Force, Weak Nuclear Force and Strong Nuclear Force) are at work all the time on planet earth, the cosmos; and by definition, in humans. And we can see that while we take them for granted, the fact is that, for example, without gravitational force –which cannot be seen or felt – there would be no point in trying to cure cancer because everyone on the planet, including those trying to find a cure, would fall off into deep space. Yet nobody is worried of falling off into deep space. The people just accept it. The same metaphor hence works for other energy phenomena, including the non-specific Chi from the ancient Chinese medical and Taoist philosophical systems.
As Tom Tam explains:
“The meaning of Chi in the body includes all invisible energy. This includes the bio-magnetic field, the electro-magnetic field, bio-electricity, gravity, temperature, light, etc. However it is not equivalent to the Western view of energy [but] to the Eastern mind, Chi encompasses all the functions attributed to the Nervous System and more: Chi encompasses consciousness, spirit and life itself… Then the body must function to balance the Chi…” (Tong Ren Therapy: Beyond acupuncture. Life Force, page 18.)
In other words, energy permeates everything. And just like the physics energies that cannot be seen, such is Chi: an energy superhighway that for the Eastern mind is what forms the Universe. Just like Einstein’s theory of the formation of the Universe by energy. Tong Ren elucidates that if the Universe is formed by energy and energy is what sustains the Universe (and the human) and permeates everything that is; so therefore, this energy should be able to/and can be harnessed because it is already there. Tong Ren is a vehicle for the harnessing of the therapeutic effects of energy – through the marriage of Western neurophysiology and acupuncture channel Systems – into the human body for health and healing.
But what are the infrastructure and superstructure of the Tong Ren energy healing system?
In Taoist philosophy, Yin Yang Theory provides a model of reality based on the balance of Yin and Yang energy — similar to a magnetic field positive and negative mix. This is portrayed by the Yin Yang symbol. This symbol – a centrifugal, spiral model similar to the shape of the galaxies which contain a black hole in the center — describes an inter-dependent, interrelated system of energy balance within chaos. One of its most specific descriptions of reality is that only half the picture of reality can be observed or identified via objective rationalism. The other half is subjective – it cannot be observed or described using classical rationalism or objectivism. It is “hidden”. Yet, each half has a standard deviation of approximately ten percent of its counterpart contained within. This concept is portrayed by the small circle in each half of the Yin Yang symbol. This model thus suggests that the subjective, unseen, world has a degree of objectivity potential and vise versa.
So, reality, the Universe itself being of enormous size, contains a significant part of it hidden to the naked eye. In other words, by and large: energy is invisible, just like Chi, Gravity force, Weak and Strong nuclear force. The reason this is so important is that it gives us a beginning evidential basis for the possibility of Tong Ren therapeutics. Meaning: the harnessing of unseen healing energy and a body that can process this energy by activating or synchronizing this through its inner healing mechanism.
If energy sustains the Universe and largely cannot be seen doing so – physics comes to that conclusion – then, energy has to be able to sustain human health. It either sustains the whole Universe or none of it. And we humans are a part of this universe. And that is the Superstructure of energy in the Universe and a fundamental concept of Tong Ren Healing.
On the other hand, the infrastructure – so to speak – is the practical as well as the theoretical components of Tong Ren therapy. We are talking about the Tong Ren mechanism or how we are able to harness the healing energy and activate the inner self-repair mechanism.
1.3: The Tong Ren Equation of Replicable Healing Effect:
Any theoretical system that is replicable in the application of its effects must also be capable of mathematical description. This is a fundamental truth of experimental science. Mathematical description identifies the mechanics through which we can verify (or not) the effects and results. In doing this, it sustains the experimental strength of the theory or it destroys it.
In other words, mathematical description strengthens (or weakens) the experimental system or theory. One of the most noted examples of this is Albert Einstein’s equation for the theoretical formation of the Universe (matter) by energy or E=MC2. Tom Tam has alluded to this equation frequently in his writings and process of discussing energy, physics and the differences in the conception of energy between East and West. Most importantly, he has successfully elucidated how this knowledge applies to energy healing in general and Tong Ren Healing in particular.
We can say that Tong Ren Healing has achieved this stage in its development. The theoretical mechanism of Tong Ren Healing can be described mathematically through an equation:
CU (Gp∞) x E = S(L)
CU= Collective Unconscious ( (Gp∞) weighted by the number of people up to infinity in the group) multiplied by Brainwave Entrainment effect per person receiving healing = level of synchronicity effect per person / A/n (mediated by the effects of the neurophysiology by the actions of the acupuncture points utilized.)
As Tom Tam says, in order for any system to be viable its foundations must rest on a sound theory. At the beginning of Tong Ren therapy he didn’t have much of an explanation for the therapeutic results he was seeing. But as the system developed a theoretical framework arose.
One of the fundamental concepts of Tong Ren is the power of the Collective Unconscious. The Collective Unconscious is the theory put forward by German neurologist Carl Gustav Jung. It is defined as follows: it refers to structures of the unconscious mind which are shared among beings of the same species.
In the Tong Ren sense, the Collective Unconscious acts like an activator of the healing power built up through the group power (The Collective Unconscious can be multiplied to infinity on the basis of the number of people involved. So it is a quantifiable variable), and the confidence and belief of the practitioner(s) and/or Tong Ren group. The stronger the group power, confidence and belief, the stronger the effect.
1.4: Brainwave Entrainment:
- A new mother is in the kitchen preparing food. Her new-born baby gets hungry in the living room and starts crying. Mom feels a pain and throbbing sensation in her breast that calls her to breast feed.
- Ten women decide to share a household. Within thirty days of living together their menstrual cycles synchronize and they begin menstruating on the same day of the month.
- Two hundred similar subjects are enrolled in an HIV treatment outcome study. Thirty self-selected members of this group decide to start meeting once per week for a healing meditation class. Of all the subjects receiving the same treatment, the thirty members of the healing meditation show, by far, the best treatment outcomes.
- Twenty cancer patients are receiving chemotherapy treatment in the same facility. One of them decides to talk positively to, and bless his chemotherapy, every day before treatment starts. Two other join. Of all the patients in this group, the three engaged in this ritual have the best outcomes of the group. Although others survived, this group of three experienced much less side effects, better quality of life and faster remission.
- A flock of birds is flying from the Canadian tundra to the everglades in Florida for the winter. They need to fly in a specific formation that follows a specific route and cadence until they arrive at their destination. It is a perfect dance and some in the flock will not make it. But the majority will.
- A school of fish will swim together from Cape Cod to Costa Rica without any hitch, following a specific formation and pathway in complete synchronicity…
All of the above is possible through Brainwave Entrainment. Brainwave Entrainment is analogous to an inner GPS system. It is the concept of an inner synchronistic (healing) capability the human (and animal) is endowed with. And it is congruent with the ancient Chinese concept of Chi. In the Tai Chi Classics we are introduced to this by the maxim of “The Mind Leads the Chi”. In other words: how our mind is synchronized with the flow of energy plays the biggest role in how we feel.
1.5: Modernization: Neuro Anatomy-Physiology and the Acupuncture Chanel System:
Acupuncture is based on points that activate the flow of energy. These points are found on Channels called meridians. The channels are given their descriptions based on their relationship with the organs, tissues and circulation. There are twelve main channels and many other tributaries of these channels that connect every part of the body.
In working with the channels however we find certain problems. Specifically, we find that the descriptions and/or actions and effects of the points on such or such Channel are tied primarily to an organ function and the whole gamete of modern, Western neuro-anatomy and physiology is by-and-large left out. For example the pathway of the so called Gall Bladder channel (GB) transverses the lateral part of the body and the face-head-brain. Yet, in the classical acupuncture books this channel is given no major actions and effects upon the brain structures covered by its pathway. And herein lays a major contribution of the work by Tom Tam.
In his research and studies, Tom Tam has elucidated what we may term a major modernization and understanding of the relationship of neuro-anatomy physiology and acupuncture Channel theory. He has added the actions and effects of points in the head to reflect their effect on major nerves and brain structures. In doing so he has improved the understanding of how acupuncture and Tong Ren Therapy can stimulate the circulation and activity of brain tissues, nerve pathways and blood vessels.
For instance, it makes total sense that a point identified as Large Intestine 17 has only a related effect on the Large Intestine, but it is not part of the large intestine. Let me explain.
This point (LI 17) is located on the fronto-lateral aspect of the neck, besides Adam’s apple. According to Tong Ren and the new actions and effects conceptualization of the acupuncture points, the effect of this point LI17 on the system, including on the large intestine itself, is due to the stimulation of oxygen distribution impulses and bio-electricity associated with the pathway of the Phrenic nerve. In other words, this is a neurophysiology and anatomy conceptualization. In similar fashion, many other acupuncture channel points have been re-conceptualized by integrating the Chi activation (bioelectricity) system with the brain and Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) structures of modern neurophysiology. This has been one of the most significant contributions of the Tom Tam system.
Significant advances in Tong Ren theory have been achieved since its inception. We not only know that it is safe but one of the survey studies conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine showed that it also provides improvements in quality of life and other health measures. The experimental group also showed better cancer and autoimmune disease treatment outcomes. Tong Ren appears to provide therapeutic benefits as an oncology and autoimmune support therapy.
Tong Ren is being practiced in over twenty States and countries. Results from the different groups seem to show similar, replicable treatment outcomes.
The power of the Tong Ren technique rests on the group intention, confidence of the practitioner (belief) and size of the group of practitioners and participants (Collective Unconscious). It is theorized that activation of healing mechanisms through energetics and the Nervous System is related to Brainwave Entrainment and not to the so-called Placebo Effect. The Brainwave Entrainment condition in turn activates a state of synchronicity with the treatment. The mind-body effect as postulated by scientists like Candice Pert show that certain states can stimulate the release of health modulating molecules without the introduction of external, physical substances. Finally, the change to the nomenclature of acupuncture points, their actions and effects through the Nervous System, has been one of the greatest achievements and contributions of Tom Tam.
I look forward to seeing you March 5th and 6th as we get together with Tom Tam to explore Tong Ren, Energy medicine, Chi, Oxygen, synchronicity, Cancer and the Nervous System and so much more!