Astra Essence and Serramend… a powerful combination to improve health

Purchase the Astra Essence/Serramend combination and receive a free consultation with Dr. Santiago

This is one of my favorite combinations to both treat chronic degenerative conditions and improve overall health.

Serramend is a major anti-inflammatory that can also help dissolve blood clots, arterial plaque, heal leg ulcers, improve chronic headaches, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and all sorts of inflammatory pain conditions.

Astra Essence is an excellent overall tonic that treats degenerative conditions, deterioration of brain function, loss of memory, and it can balance blood glucose in diabetes. But perhaps its most important function is that it strengthens the immune system and speeds recovery from illness.

When you use this synergistic combination of Serramend and Astra Essence, you are providing your body with an edge in the improvement and maintenance of health.

The Qi Store Stands Out!

I highly recommend both these products. What makes us different? While these products are available from other outlets, what is different is that when you buy from the Qi Store my team and I are always available to provide guidance and consultation regarding your situation and the use of any of our products. And this is our promise.

How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep


Good, sound sleep is essential for health and vitality. For example, cellular self-repair takes place during REM sleep. A good night sleep is also important for normal cognitive functioning and energy during the day.  While losing sleep here and there is not abnormal, lack of sleep as a disorder is becoming a significant health problem in our society. This has been made worse by the advent of over connectivity to digital electronic devices. The electro magnetic fields emitted while we are looking at these devices cause a melatonin decrease, and melatonin is one of the major neurotransmitters related to sleep. Nevertheless, the cause of most sleeping disorders is an underlying anxiety and existential angst.   A relaxed mind never fails to sleep well.  Also the sleep deprivation can become a vicious cycle as not being able to fall and/or stay asleep adds to the anxiety.

In Chinese medicine, the heart channel is the most influential channel for sound sleep. And as we all know, anxiety and existential angst directly affect the “heart of the matter” in the human condition. An over active mind during times when we should be sound asleep clings to all kinds of perceptions and ruminations of thought and we are unable to let go of that which is not present at this very moment. While there are traumatic causes that can definitely influence whether or not we fall asleep, most sleep disorders are caused by the above mentioned factors unlerlying the anxiety and existential angst. 

Definition of good sleep: you lay in bed comfortably, and within half an hour or less you fall into deep sleep for at least six hours. 

What can I do to sleep better? 

  1. Lifestyle adjustments, such as consistent exercise, stress reduction practices.
  2. Establishment of boundaries. For example, an appropriate sleep time that is completely disconnected from actions not related to sleep, particularly looking at electronic devices. Reading an actual book might help induce sleep, but it cannot be an e-book. Stay away form electronic devices.
  3. Learn a meditation routine to be practiced right on your bed when you are ready to go to sleep.
  4. Similar to number 2 above: what’s happened during the day already happened and through the meditation you will be able to keep such attachments and emotional clinginess from penetrating your consciousness. In other words, detachment: you must let go.
  5. Elimination of all stimulants, particularly caffeine or other drugs.
  6. For many, however, a glass of red wine with dinner helps them be more relax.
  7. Journaling:  write down the reasons/causes/people/circumstances in your life that you perceive as to be affecting your ability to sleep.   Write about them and why you feel this way.

Conservative clinical approaches to sleep better:

If you are doing all of the above regularly and still you’re having trouble maintaining good sleep as defined above, then you may benefit from:
  1. Supplementation with Melatonin, or L-Tryptophan, or an herbal supplement like CAVA, or a Chinese medicinal like Zizyphus seed (Suan Zao Ren). You may also try Magnesium Glycinate, or Taurine.
  2. Most people fall asleep during an Acupuncture treatment including those who have sleep deprivation. So acupuncture is a very important component when the things that you are doing by yourself are not sufficient. However, the longer you have had this problem the more serious you have to take coming to treatment because it is going to require an appropriate approach that helps relax the mind and mitigate the underlying anxiety that you are experiencing.
  3. Cognitive Therapy and/or Hypnotherapy.
Conventional Medical Approaches:
  1. Hypnotic agents are the type of drugs to induce an artificial sleep. This can be helpful, but they’re not an appropriate long term option. No agent can resolve the existential angst that is most likely driving your underlying anxiety which is resulting in sleep deprivation.
  2. Consulting with a Psychiatrist may help you treat the underlying anxiety/depression either with psychotherapy, medications or both.
  3. You may also need a full workup, your doctor may suggest this to detect any physiological factors like hormonal imbalances or conditions such as Sleep Apnea or allergies that are blocking your air waves, etc.
Most sleep disorders are driven by an existential angst which results in underlying anxiety and stress.  Although some may have other physiological causes, we need to get insight into our situation, reduce stress, exercise more, etc…  Sometimes, conventional medical approaches will be necessary but still the work has to be done with a therapist in order to overcome the underlying cause of what is essentially a blockage that interferes with our natural sleep ability.  

Acupuncture is an important tool to calm the mind, reduce physiological symptoms of anxiety and stress.  If you have not done it or stopped doing acupuncture after 3 or 4 sessions, you should reconsider.  Bottom line:  a combination approach that includes acupuncture, lifestyles changes and other practices is most likely to succeed.

I hope this helps you.  Do not hesitate to contact me if you need to discuss your situation.

Coming Soon: Up Your Vibe. Change your Life.

In the new-year, beginning at the end of January 2017 we will begin a special stress busting, anxiety inoculating and personal growth program at the Sifre center:


Up your Vibe Change your Life


This is a 10-Week, Sifre Center Program designed to transform your relationship to and experience with happiness, stress and mindfulness. The main goal of this program is two fold:


  • To teach you how to up your vibe: through Eastern philosophy, mindfulness meditation training and Tai Chi principles you will learn the simple easy tools to make a huge difference in how you feel, how you deal with stress and anxiety and how to set and attract a more positive vibe in your life.


  • To provide you with a block of acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments throughout in order to increase your health, support your training and balance your body, mind and spirit.


This is designed as both, and individual and motivational group program. It is a transformational, learning program to help you get unstuck from low energy vibration patterns. In our view, low vibration patterns (LVPs) are the main culprits behind unsatisfactory life outcomes, low inspirational and creative energy and overwhelming feelings from unresolved, accumulated stressors that lead us into emotional-spiritual blockages.


Instead we will journey into the realm of replacing these LVPs with high vibration patterns or HVPs. HVPs result in greater creative (and sexual) energy, helping us manifest a renewed sense of being, with more health, relaxation, calmness in the middle of the storm and power to accomplish the things that really matter to us but stress, anxiety, lack of energy and clarity have held us back.


Through a few techniques, such as meditation-Chi Gong-guided imagery and a profound study of the Tai Chi principle of Wu Way – Simple Easy — You will be able to implement a state of being which will change the way you approach your states of doing, create more happiness, creative and attraction space and change how you react to your daily and life stressors.


You will also learn about the profound teaching of the model of reality that is Yin Yang energetics. Do you realize that one of the main propositions of Yin Yang modeling is that reality is only 50% objective? The other 50% is subjective. It cannot be seen, touched, hear, smelled! Each has a standard deviation of 10% belonging or existing in the realm of the other. And this relationship profoundly affects each of us, every day.


Keep an eye out for this official announcement on the next newsletter when in January our first group gathering for this very exciting program will take place. At this gathering we will explain the details of this program and also discuss and practice some of the principles that you will be learning.


My team and I really look forward to seeing you at our first orientation and practice group meeting.


Taoshi! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Take the 2-Minute Test


How healthy are you really?

…. Are you out of balance?

Take the 2-Minute Test

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that all aspects of a person must be in balance to achieve happiness and good health. Since symptoms signify an imbalance, and imbalances lead to disease, these symptoms should be resolved. The earlier these imbalances are treated, the easier they are to resolve. This is the best way to prevent disease and ensure a happy and healthy life.

The first two patterns listed on the back generally represent the onset of disease in TCM.  As you progress down the list, the potential for disease development and a Western Medical disease diagnosis increases.

Pattern Diagnosis is the “hallmark” of TCM, the world’s oldest, continually practiced medicine, serving one-fourth of the world’s population.

A “pattern” is a constellation of signs and symptoms that are generally found to exist simultaneously. In other words, various symptoms tend to occur together; that is, they form a “pattern.” There are many types of patterns within TCM.

Western Medical disease diagnosis is similarly addressed in TCM with Pattern Diagnosis. The symptoms are grouped together into their TCM “Patterns” and then addressed with acupuncture and Chinese Botanical Medicine, cupping, moxa, etc… to resolve the patterns and therefore the Western Medical disease.

A person usually does not have all the symptoms in a particular “pattern,” but having 2 or 3 symptoms is enough to indicate the presence of that pattern. On the next page is a list of common patterns and their corresponding symptoms.

Take the test at the end of this blog and see if you have any patterns of imbalance.

I have decided to re-institute an old program I had a few years back at the clinic.  Effective immediately: Dr. Silvia and I will be providing free 20 minute wellness consults for anybody who is not feeling well and especially those who are concerned about their patterns of imbalance. We will also provide set goals for those who need them in order to get into a healthier balance.

The test will help us find out if you are at high risk of developing a Western medical diagnosis.   This test is statistically significant in its ability to uncover patterns of imbalance that have not yet become illnesses or medical diagnoses.  When you are done scan it and send it back to me as an attachment.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on Pattern Discrimination and its ability to uncover patterns of imbalance and correct them before these patterns become actual illnesses.

Lately we have encountered cases of younger and not so old people who have come to see us with diagnosed chronic illnesses that could have been prevented by Pattern Discrimination tests such as this one.

One such case is of a 55 year old male who was in pretty good health until recently.  He was told he was pre diabetic and placed on some meds and advised on lifestyle changes that he undertook.  The problem is that he was already experiencing certain vague, low-level symptoms that Western medicine is usually at a loss on how to understand. He had cold hands and feet, fatigue, on-going unexplained irritability, tingling sensations is head and face and decreased visual acuity.  In TCM these seemingly vague symptoms can indicate a Liver-Spleen channel imbalance and Blood system deficiency.

He had a very difficult time controlling his blood sugar with medications, diet and exercise. Meanwhile, the vague symptoms he was experiencing (in TCM Stagnation of Liver-Spleen Channel Chi causing heat) where associated with a rapidly occurring inflammatory process.  Now his eyesight is in peril and that’s why he has come to see me.  I feel cautiously optimistic about stopping the progression of this imbalance but also feel that if I had seen him 6 months ago, chances are he would not even be dealing with the possibility of loosing his sight.

PS:  Here is the test criteria:  For each symptom check Yes if you have experience this symptom at least once per month or on and off over the last 6 months.


Allergies and Acupuncture

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance — such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander — that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people.”

The definition according to acupuncture-Chinese medicine is very similar: the lung component of your immune system produces an anti-pathogen reaction even though no pathogens are actually present. Allergies are an over-reaction of the immune system to a perceived threat that does not exist.

Once this reaction occurs, you have an inflammatory reaction. This can be a skin, sinus, lung and digestive system reaction with the classical symptoms, such as itchiness, sneezing, etc. that most are familiar with.

Allergies can be a huge problem and living with allergies requires often lots of medications and tests and injections that may control the reactivity for some time. Unfortunately, as so many other things, there is no known total cure for allergies. However, with acupuncture we can reduce the frequency of allergic reactions and balance the reactivity of the immune system by a fairly good degree of success thus reducing the necessity and frequency for medication intake.

In Chinese medicine the main problem with allergies is the internal surveillance system of the lung immune function. This system is called Wei Chi in mandarin and is related not just to the lungs but also to our largest organ, the skin.   Wei Chi also denotes the protective layer of the immune system against external invasion of pathogenic factors such as viruses and bacteria.   When this system is out of balance, our bodies are more prone to inflammatory reactions as explained above.

Cordyceps-PSHerbs That May Help

The classical Chinese herbal formula Cordyceps Dong Chong Xia Cao is significantly helpful in strengthening the immune system. Cordyceps does not inhibit allergic reactions or treats the symptoms of allergies. Rather ittreats the source of the problem by balancing and fortifying the Wei-Chi (immune resistance-response) so that there is less reactivity.

Cordyceps has a wide spectrum of effectiveness in a number of areas. It treats   Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Angina, Bronchitis, Chemo/Radio surgery support – Long term, Chronic infections, Dry lungs, Emphysema, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, HIV-related inmmuno-deficiency, Hypertension, incontinence…

Therapeutic Actions: 1. Improve lung function, and addresses such conditions as asthma, wheez
ing, chronic cough, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 2. May be useful for arrhythmia, heart failure, pulmonary heart disease, hyperlipidemia, cirrhosis, hepatitis, male impotence, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, drug toxicity (cyclosporine), chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. 3. Acts as a general tonifying agent. Cordyceps strengthens resistance to disease, boosts the immune system, and enhances athletic performance

Chinese Therapeutic Effects: Tonify kidney yang; Strengthen protective (We) Chi; Nourish lung yin; Stops cough and transforms phlegm.

Finally, a classical acupuncture prescription to control allergies and improve the immune reaction is the insertion of needles into the points LI4, LU7, LI20, CV17, K16, YT or Third Eye and BL13, 14, 15 in the upper back. Receiving a dosage of between three and five sessions of this prescription provides a significant boost to the ability of the immune system to improve its self regulation


Anxiety — The Natural Expression of the “Old” Reptilian Yang Brain

What is anxiety?

It is a just a concept unless you can define what actually makes you anxious and what are the predominant emotions that express this anxiety. In Chinese medicine anxiety is about fear, fear of the future, of unpredictable circumstances that seem out of control. Anxiety can thus result in actual physical symptoms like increased breathing, hyperventilation, chest pain, rapid thoughts, nervousness, profuse sweating, etc. In other words: All the whole marks of panic. We panic when fear overcomes us. In Chinese medicine Anxiety is also related to the work of the Kidneys, bladder and sphincters. You might have noticed that when people fall into major panic or fear they can lose control of their sphincter6359504458188932981491825186_63585578230284411616684844_anxiety 2s and urinate or defecate on them (specially kids.)

Yet, anxiety is also a survival mechanism we have been endowed with. Evolutionary biology required the development and adaptation to anxiety; because, without anxiety to protect us – to release the adrenaline and epinephrine necessary to act fast and efficiently – may not be able to survive.   So the problem is not about feeling a little anxious as we undertake a difficult situation or a condition in the future. The problem is when this condition overpowers our senses and becomes a source of panic and illness. Yet, if you are human, you must experience anxiety and this is the paradox.

Calm Spirit herbal formula is a very effective formula to reduce and control anxiety in a natural way. As an aid in the process of overcoming this conditions without drugs it provides good results. Acupuncture, Tai Chi, Mindfulness and Emotic practices are also very effective in overcoming anxiety and panic disorders. Next month we will look at how specifically mindfulness and Emotic practice can help us overcome anxiety and panic disorders.



Calm Spirit – Available in the Qi store (90 or 270 tablets)



I treat anxiety a lot. The four most asked questions by my patients as we work together are:


  1. Why do I have anxiety? First we need to define and bring into insight the feelings and perceptions that specifically you experience with what we are calling anxiety. Otherwise, anxiety is just a word. There can be multiple sources, stress and traumatic imbalances; learned paradigms of living, assumed perceptions, physiological reasons, energy imbalances, combination of factor, phobias, drug and alcohol use, etc. just to name a few. People often are also working with a psychotherapist and have gained better insight into themselves. I also suggest they read and learned about how the neurological system works so that they can understand better how we are wired. Please read my full blog to gain some insight into this matter.
  2. How those acupuncture help anxiety? By sedating and rebalancing the nervous and energy systems thus improving brain wave functioning and calming the mind.
  3. How long will it take to feel better? Most people have tremendous relief from the outset. But it normally takes a number of sessions (5-10) to really improve long term. Improvement is also related to lifestyle and thinking habits among other factors.
  4. What else can I do to overcome this? Aside from getting more educated about how the brain works in relation to anxiety states (see Sifre Blog), keeping a journal to try to identify triggers as well as to write through the insight can be important. So is also mindfulness meditation practice mindfulness philosophy (see Have a Better Mental Day at the Qi store) and Tai Chi. The homeopathic remedy sold OTC Rescue Remedy can also be very helpful. Psychotherapy can improve your insight, especially if the anxiety is associated with an existential problem. But acupuncture will be the fastest at reducing physiological symptoms without drugs.

For now let’s look at a story of us, early humans, in order to understand the anxiety paradox better.


The Human brain is divided into different components. For example, left and right hemispheres. It can also be divided into frontal, pre-frontal or occipital cortex. As far as we know, these brain parts have different functions.   For instance in general the left hemisphere is related to analytical functions while the right hemisphere is in charge of more creative functions. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body –meaning the cranial and peripheral nerves that provide function to this side — while the right hemisphere does the same for the left side. As you will see most brain functions can be categorized in terms of Yin Yang theory — thus the word I have coined: NeuroyinYangnology.

Within the hemispheres we have the different brain cortexes: the specialized systems within each hemisphere. You can also, as you will see, sub-categorized these into their own Yin Yang manifestations. Bottom line: we have a Reptilian Brain (Yang) also called the “Old” brain– composed of the Brain stem, medulla and limbic system; and we have Cerebrum or Cerebral Cortex (Yin) also called the “New” brain (composed of the two brain hemispheres in themselves containing the Frontal, Prefrontal and Parietal Cortex).

The Cerebrum (the new brain) reflects some of the Yin aspects of mental functioning. These include the higher, executive, consciousness and super consciousness abilities of the being including the relaxation pathways that mediate feeling like “one with the universe”. These originate in autonomic nervous system processes in the Brain Stem.

The Reptilian brain on the other hand is the Yang component of the central nervous system mechanism. It controls “survival” functions and directs the body through sympathetic (reactivity) pathways to react when neurological sensors detect a dangerous situation (whether real or imagined). This encapsulates what are called the fight or flight response (a Yang function of the old Reptilian brain) V.S. the relaxation response (a Yin function of the New Brain).

It has been shown by neuro-scientific experiments of meditators and athletes that when such subjects reach the deep state of relaxation and focus that has come to be known as the “zone”, the cerebral cortex (the Yin-new brain) is able to turn off electrical activity of the deep brain structures in the Reptilian (old) brain and sedate the pre-frontal cortex control reactions. This in turn mediates deep relaxation-focused processes which are associated with feelings of inner peace that the mystics talked about. Whereas what is experienced in heightened states of alert –mediated by the so called Reptilian Brain – are the feelings that we relate to anxiety, reactivity and stress.

Embryologic Evolution of the Brain:

So we humans already come into existence wired to increase the capacity for survival. It is an inherent aspect of being. If anyone has any doubt of the paramount importance placed by evolutionary nature on survival and control mechanisms just look at how we evolve embriologically. Evolutionary biology clearly places a tremendous importance on the development of the Reptilian (Yang) brain, before any other more complex mechanisms like organs.

The Central Nervous System (CNS= Brain Stem, spinal cord and the rudimentary expression of what will become a fully developed Autonomic Nervous System ANS) and the heart appear in the first three weeks of embryonic/fetal growth.[1] In other words, biological evolution is programmed to make sure that the survival mechanism that we are calling the Yang Brain or the Reptilian brain are in place as quick as possible.

Where is your Neanderthal? In the back of your head lives your friend and foe: Anxiety.

Why is this? Simply because the main organizational structure of early humans is not based on reaching high levels of consciousness but simply on trying to stay alive. To be able to cry for the nipple while still not being fully awake to consciousness. To be able to cry, scream and fuss so that your care takers can know you are uncomfortable or hungry or cold or scared. To be able to express in some way that something is wrong, that you need help: that you need to survive. In such a state a fully developed cerebral cortex is useless. Reaching high levels of consciousness is a “learned” process that utilizes very sophisticated wiring of cerebral cortex structures (Yin Brain). Whereas the old Yang brain reactions are not learned. They are automatic. At the early stage of neurological evolution thinking is not as necessary as surviving and expressing distress in a very reptilian form is fundamental to survival. It is the expression of a primal anxiety state. It is sort of like kicking and screaming. The Yang (heightened, expressive, violent, aggressive) mechanisms of the brain are favored over the Yin (high consciousness, intelligence, etc…) mechanisms of expression.

It is important to remember that for over 200,000 years, hominids –early humans – not homosapiens – dominated the population of the planet. During that time, men and women were concerned by one thing only: physical annihilation or survival. As hunter-gatherers we needed to protect ourselves often in very inhospitable environment in an endless search for food, clothe and appropriate shelter.

Some of this food was gathered, but little vital protein sustenance –especially in winter- could be gathered. Rather, this type of food needed to be hunted by every capable member of the clan. This is a very dangerous and extremely energy consuming situation. Moreover, the clan needed to protect itself not just from animals but from members of other clans who were in competition for the same food, shelter and clothing sources.   This is a tremendously stressful, high anxiety situation. At any moment you could be killed, either by an accident, animals or by other humans.

Our brains needed to be almost in a constant state of stress alert. That is, when the Fight or Flight response – the Yang mechanisms necessary for survival – kicked in the thrust of the anxiety response. Language was not as important. Poetry writing was not as important. Knowing God? What exactly would be the use?   It was most important to kill and survive.

Obviously, this Reptilian Yang brain structures continued being of great importance through the ages, even as we became more sophisticated beings. For anyone who has had to undertake a dangerous mission this is familiar. The sense of fear for what needs to be done provides the body with the chemical structure necessary to get the human being a higher chance of coming out alive through the mission.

As human evolution through the ages became more sophisticated with agriculture, economic production and governmental organization, clans became villages, villages became towns, towns became cities, cities organized as city-states and states became countries organized under governments which provided protections to its citizens through laws, policing and organized armies. Rather than have the clan protect the children and elderly, we had now professional police structures, and so on and so forth. Humans became able to raise animals and to farm them and sell them in the markets, along with other goods and services. Gone by-and-large was the need to hunt and gather. Now, production systems allowed humans to make money or something that could be exchanged or bartered, so that it became possible to pay for food, shelter, clothe, safety, etc.

The anxieties inherent in the survival mechanism seemingly had been transformed. And it is anxiety, which is nothing else than a rational Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) response to the sense of a threat to survival, what lead the march on a morning when you and your friends decided to go out to hunt a mastodon. With progress the reptilian Yang brain was now a second thought, put aside for the more sophisticated cerebral cortex structures that could lead to human progress and transformation through mathematics, economics, physics, medicine, law, government, technology and spirituality. And as the human race has surpassed the agricultural, industrial and technological revolutions, it has arrived at the age of post-modern advanced development, the digital revolution.

The fossil record shows that over one hundred fifty thousand years ago we roamed this great planet as Neanderthals – hunters and gatherers — with no real use for evolved states of consciousness associated with advanced cerebral cortex structures. Why? Because we didn’t need to understand God, or art or math. We needed to survive. Due to the prevalent conditions of man and nature at that time, we needed to live with a very short fuse all the time and by design. Only the strong in the clan survived more than thirty years.   This was not a time conducive to human dialogue because we didn’t even have language. To fight or flight, injure or kill, was a very sane and appropriate solution under these circumstances. The brain was totally wired to the reptilian mechanisms of anxiety and reactivity necessary to mount a major attack and hope to survive.

Anxiety in the 21 Century

So what happened to the Yang-Reptilian brain? Nothing. The reptilian brain does not know the story I just told you. It is wired by evolutionary biology to be there. What I mean is that the mechanisms of reactivity to fear and panic are still working as it was over 100,000 years ago. No one came and said “Opps, we do not need this reptile brain any more”.

Once we fear and panic about a perceived conditions or future event – what happens in anxiety states — the person experiences a physiological cascade:   a negative feedback loop of stress hormones that are released through molecular pathways. Result: increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, decreased blood circulation to the organs, increased visual and hearing disturbances, increased release of potentiators to the musculature, blood vessels, etc… These stress hormones once in the blood stream make up quite a powerful cocktail — chatecolamines, cortisols, adrenaline, noreprinephrine. These are powerful chemicals which at the time of battle, hunting, escaping for dear life or saving someone –come very handy.

When fighting or fleeing is the response at hand, this ‘natural’ anxiety and its physiological cascade is a force designed to increase your chances to be saved – your chances of survival. In such a situation no one thinks about calling a psychiatrist to order medications to stop these symptoms. Because these symptoms are what will help save your life or someone else’s and interfering with this natural anxiety would probably cause your demise.

Yet when this same cascade of physiological mechanism ensues as a result of an office situation, argument or fear about what an unknown future may hold, then it can become an anxiety disorder. But it is still the same old Yang reptilian brain doing what is designed to do: scan, perceive and catalogue threats to survival and provide a response to this threats. This response can take different forms: from a full blown pre-emptive counter attack, to a flight and run as fast as you can, paralysis, or just simply play dead.

As you will see our old and trusted friend – the reptilian brain — is still there acting in similar ways as it did for our ancestors way over 100,000 years ago. The problem is that this brain is unable to rationally understand that things have changed. It is unable to logically relate to the explanation that I just discussed.   It is still the same “Old” Yang, reptilian brain.   And it acts as if the mastodon or the saber tiger is running after you. The difference is that there are no mastodons or saber tigers running after you. There are no hunting or clan wars to undertake in order to make it to the grocery store. There are however the office politics, the family politics, the relationship politics, the friends, the health and the “what is the future going to bring for me”.

[1] Principles of Anatomy and Physiology: Unit 5 Development and Inheritance


A Glance: The Foundation of a Tom Tam’s Tong Ren Healing System and its Theory

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?

1.2: Background:  

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.

1.6: Conclusion:

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!



Top 5 Practices for improving Fertility with Chinese Medicine


Happy New Year!  January is the freshest month of the new born year. That’s why I thought it perfect to write about fertility and how important and effective acupuncture-Chinese medicine can be in this area.

There are four aspects to my work in fertility and sexual dysfunction.  These are:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chi Gong
  • Guided meditation (visualization)
  • Herbal medicine

I have had great success in my more than 18 year career helping both females (and males) achieve the dream of being parents and/or improve sexual functioning.  Even when all other methods of conventional fertility and sexual dysfunction treatments have failed, I still have had success helping mothers-to-be get pregnant and fathers-to-be improve their sperm quality and overall sexual vitality.

The body of research showing acupuncture-Chinese medicine’s effectiveness in infertility in general, and IVF increased effectiveness in particular, is significant.  No longer do we have to wonder if acupuncture-Chinese medicine is going to help; but rather, how much it is going to help.

Cases of infertility where the person has a structural problem can be difficult but not impossible to help.  The same goes when the person is diagnosed as infertile but there is no biomedical reason why.  Actually, these tend to be the most frustrating for many women.  Fortunately, there is the understanding of Chinese medicine and its principles of energy, Chi, blood and the organs as an interrelated-interconnected super highway.  Perhaps Western medicine is sometimes at a loss to understand why the infertility.  But often Chinese medicine can provide major insight on why, and prescribe a set of practices to become fertile, a mother, a father.

I have seen both these situations play out hundreds of times and been able to help solve it as many times as I have seen them.  So I know that the first order of business is always hope and belief:  Hope that there is a huge chance with acupuncture-Chinese medicine to become pregnant or improve ED and belief that the miracle of birth, itself being a reality of everyday life, gives us power to focus and to be hopeful that with the right approach this miracle is totally replicable (as we can see all around us.)

Acupuncture is essential to balance the energy, activate blood circulation, regulate the menstrual cycle or bring it on, and to focus and calm the mind.  Acupuncture also helps the person get through Western fertility treatment with better outcomes and deal with the stress, anxiety and frustration often encountered even in the most successful cases.

Chi Gong is the meditative, energy-based exercises of the ancient Chinese.  I have found these to be as powerful as anything in helping restore appropriate circulation and vitality to the mind and reproductive system.  It can be particularly effective for ED as well.

The mind is very important in everything especially in creation, which is what fertility is.  The abundance receptivity and positive vibration enhance fertility.  Guided meditation/visualization is another powerful complement to your aim of getting pregnant or impregnating your partner. The attraction law is also enhanced with the appropriate relaxation, meditation and visualization practice.

In Taoist philosophy, everything comes from Nothingness, and Nothingness is a state that has a name.  In mandarin it is called Wu Chi.  Just like the architect, who needs to dream and visualize the idea of what she intends (intentionality) to draw and then build before it actually takes material shape on a board, a computer and finally on the ground itself as a structure.  It is the same for creating children.  I have found that through energy and meditation practices fertility is increased because the person doing the practice starts becoming more synchronistic with the energy of creation.   The vibration becomes more “resonant” with the idea, rather than “dissonant”.  Sort of like playing a very well-tuned piano.

In scientific terms, this is called the theory of Brainwave Entrainment and many think of this as the neuro-immune mechanism of inner or self-healing behind the so called Placebo effect.  The person is more in tune with unseen energetic forces.  And while these might not be explainable based on classical rationalism, they do exist.  Just like the Gravity Force, that while no one can feel or see, keeps you and me from falling off the planet into outer space.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Chinese herbal medicine therapy.  There are many fertility and sexual vitality enhancing formulas according to the different patterns of conditions and syndromes.  I have successfully utilized many of these and have found them to be effective and safe.   I am featuring one such formula this month:  Don Gui Wan or Angelica Sinensis Compound.  This formula is composed of four herbs, the principal one of which is Angelica Sinensis.  This formula reestablishes healthy menstruation, activates and fortifies circulation to the uterus and increases fertility.

Here are the Top 5 Recommendations for improving fertility

If you have been having a hard time getting pregnant or getting your partner pregnant even with fertility treatments, below are five recommendations that may help you in this process

  1. Make sure you have been thoroughly worked up with blood tests that check for metal levels in your stream, particularly mercury.
  2. Make sure that you have a very strong nutritional, clean and organic food regime and do not drink more than 1 glass of red wine a day.  If possible and other than red wine, avoid alcohol all together
  3. Begin an inner practice utilizing meditation/visualization technique and construct in your inner eye a movie, your movie on what it would look like (your whole environment with very specific detail) when you get pregnant and your baby is born.
  4. Learn the Chi Gong exercise “Holding the Ball” and practice it in the Horse Stance.
  5. Relax about the whole thing.  Do not fall for the massive anxiety-stress provoking practice of blaming yourself, becoming totally impatient, worried, overwhelmed, etc.  This practice activates Fight-or-Flight mechanisms that are counter-productive and only hinder your effort.

Apply 3-4 above so that you have something productive and helpful to do.  Also, 3-4 help you achieve the peaceful-relaxation-awareness response.

Feel free to contact me if you need help or schedule an online consulation.

Related Event

On Wednesday, January 27 at 6:00 pm I will be having a chat for those of you who would like to learn more about fertility, acupuncture-Chinese medicine and the energy practices mentioned above.  Please send me an email or contact the office at 305-672-4403 to save your space as it certainly will fill up fast

And may your fertility be increased by a thousand fold during this year and for the years to come!

Happy Holidays – Sharing the Gift of Relief


Happy holidays and greetings from the Sifre Center!  We wish you and your loved ones the best Chi and blessings during this time and the New Year.  This is a special time where we as a people share the joy and love with all sentient beings.

We have put together a nice gift certificate idea for the season, only available this time of year, our Two-For-One package:  an opportunity to give a nice treatment gift to someone you would like to get healthier or more relaxed, and a session for you to reduce your stress and get you ready either before or after the season.  We hope you enjoy it and take advantage of this opportunity.

Wholiday2015e are also featuring the wonderful herbal formula Bupleurum Entangled Qi
  Take a different, non-chemical route to feel relax and distressed during the season.  This formula does wonders for stress, irritability and for many menstrual syndromes.  While any person can take it for stress and irritability, this formula has a particular benefit for the menstruation syndromes in women.  It pacifies and smoothes the emotions.  For stressed out, irritable, grumpy men and for women with difficult menstruation, infertility issues, emotional upset, swollen sore breasts, fibroids

Have a wonderful season and New Year.  May the Chi be good and strong!

Be sure to visit our Events Calendar for all the latest happenings at the Sifre Center


The Two Amigas Of Herbal Medicine: Astra Essence and Flavonex by Health Concerns


Astra-EssenceThis month we are featuring two anti-aging formulas, what I call The Two Amigas: Astra Essence and Flavonex.  These formulas work synergistically and are highly anti-inflammatory and provide significant vitality support.  They are very safe to use and in my opinion -having been using them for a long while myself and many of my patients — they are very effective in supporting health and maintaining high energy.  They are available at the Qi Store.

These two formulas can actually also support health in specific conditions and can be safely taken by people who are also taking chemical medicines. For example the classical formula comprised in Astra Essence (Zuo Gui Wan-You Gui Yin) falls under the modicum of a restorative herbal formula.  In Chinese medicine it has the therapeutic effect of fortifying the kidneys, heart, Chi and blood.  As a result, this formula has broad therapeutic actions and while it is an excellent overall tonic to take preventively without sickness, it can also help and assist conventional therapies for people who need strengthening of the immune system due to degenerative conditions; those who are going through chemo and/or radiation; those who suffer from vertigo, poor memory, deterioration of brain function, hearing loss and dizziness; as well as those who experience infertility or impotence.  This formula may reduce frequent urination and hair loss, and has been shown to be effective in balancing blood sugar.


FlavonexFlavonex on the other hand has the therapeutic action of revamping and promoting blood circulation; and thus, oxygenation of tissues.  This formulas is based on Flavones that have been shown to be effective in cardiovascular degeneration.  Because it dilates peripheral and coronary blood vessels it strengthens microcirculatory mechanisms.  In Chinese medicine this classical formula fortifies the Jing and astringes it.  The Jing in Chinese medicine is the deepest level of Chi or energetics in the human body.


This formula is used for prevention of cardio-vascular disease and to promote cerebral circulation.  It can be useful in peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, poor mental function and other inflammatory disorders like colitis.  Because of its effects on blood circulation and vessels, it is useful in impotence and erectile dysfunction.   The main caution of this formula is for individuals taking blood thinners, as this formula may further have such effect on the blood.  While it may be used in these situations cautiously, such individuals should consult this matter with their health care provider.


I highly recommend these Two Amigas combination for prevention of illness and improvement of energy, vitality and circulation.

Dr. Sifre