Tong Ren Therapy: Beyond Acupuncture by Tom Tam


In this, the third edition of the text, Tom shares the theoretical information behind his Healing System. From the forward: "...this text is the result of more than a quarter century of intense Tai Chi and Qi Gong practice, and a nearly equal amount of practice as a licensed acupuncturist.... Tom has carefully observed what works in TCM and combined this with the best of western medicine."

(207 pages)



From the "Tong Ren Therapy" Chapter

Tong in Chinese means bronze; Ren means man or human. Tong Ren can be translated as 'bronze man.' In China, there were two acupuncture models made in bronze as big as a real man. In the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), the Chinese Doctor Wang Wei Yi wrote a book called 'Bronze Man Points and Acupuncture Statements of Illustrations' in 1026 AD. This book was standard acupuncture book for the government's Chinese medical school. Dr. Wang made these two acupuncture models at the same time. Now one is in Japan and one is lost. These models are called Acupuncture Tong Ren.


I have developed a new therapy. This therapy is a strange one. Usually when we do acupuncture we put the needles in the patient's body at specific points. I have developed a new way of doing acupuncture, a new system. This therapy is a different one: we put the needles in an acupuncture model instead of the patient's body. Of course, this sounds confusing, even unbelievable at first.

Using acupuncture needles on the acupuncture doll for healing comes from the Taoist religion, passed down orally from generation to generation. There is no written record. In China, one cannot find any books to describe it. So there is no professional name for this healing system.

There were different ways to use a doll. One way was to hurt one's enemies. It was called 'Stitch Small Man.' Small man in Chinese means a small doll, or a devil or evil. Now many Chinese still call someone they don't like a 'small man.' So the 'Stitch Small Man' method was not used for healing, but for revenge. This technique is from the Taoist religion and from superstitious methods created by Taoist monks to kill the devil. It is similar to exorcism. Most of the Taoist monks used dolls made of straw, wood, cotton or paper, but never of bronze.

From the "About the Chi" Chapter

Chi, in Mainland China is translated as Qi. In Japanese, it translates as Ki. In America some like to use Chi and some like Qi. Regardless of how you spell it they all have the same meaning: Chi is power, energy from the Tao, the Supreme Energy out of which the Chinese believe the universe was created. In the Chinese language, Chi and air are written using the same characters. Chi is similar to air; we can feel it and depend on it, but we can never see it. Chi is defined by Taoist philosophy. When we want to understand the Chi, we must understand the Tao first. Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoist philosophy lived in the sixth century B.C.

Lao Tzu's Tao De Jing has written.


Chapter Twenty Five

There something was formed integrally,

Occurring before heaven and earth's creation.


Oh, it is so silent and void!

Self-sufficient, it never changes.

Turning and turning yet never ceasing.

It can be named the mother of the world.

I do not know how to name it,

Just call it "Tao."

It is reluctantly named Great.


In the West we are all aware of Einstein's famous formula E=mc2, where the E is energy. However, this energy describes only physical energy. This energy can be demonstrated mathematically and thus its existence can be shown through the use of proper equipment. In the tradition of Chinese medicine, Chi in our body includes physical and spiritual energy or life force. So far, the existence of this energy cannot be proven by mathematical means or any quantitative equipment designed to measure or detect other than the human body. We live because we have Chi inside our body, and when we die the Chi is gone from our body. Each organ has its own meridian in the body along which the energy moves like the path of a planet; if there is a blockage along this meridian then the organ will weaken and sickness will result.

From the "Theory of Chi Gong Therapy" Chapter

If we believe that our bodies have Chi, then we should believe that we can do something to control the Chi circulation in our bodies. Yet many people don't believe that we have Chi in the body, this is from their minds and how they are educated. If people don't believe in Chi, at least they should believe in the life force in the body. This life force is called Chi in Chinese. The way to balance or circulate the Chi's movement is called Chi Gong. Most techniques for Chi Gong is from mind training, breathing practice and body movement.

Many people, having heard a lecture or seminar about the theory of Chi Gong, believe in the theory and feel it is a new, exciting discovery for the West. I always tell my students, no matter how good a Chi Gong theory, it is only one of thousands of systems, and no one can unify all of the theories of Chi Gong. In China there is much argument and fighting about Chi Gong. On one side are those who deny that Chi Gong can be used for healing, because the Chi is still not detectable by any scientific equipment. They believe Chi Gong is superstition, and even psychologically harmful to people. On the other side are people who have already benefited from Chi Gong. Unfortunately the Chi Gong supporters cannot give certified proof due to the limitations of modern science. Finally a famous scientist told everyone to stop arguing. He thought of a new name for Chi Gong: he calls it "phenomenism Chi Gong." What he means is: don't deny the results that occur from Chi Gong just because we can't find the cause. In the future when science is more developed, perhaps we can find the proof.


Chi Gong healing is a self-healing and a way of treating others. Many people in China use Chi Gong to heal themselves. Other ways are the use of internal Chi passing from healer to patient, this is called 'Wei Chi' healing. Chi Gong can be done by, using the mind, breath, or movement to lead the chi and circulate it within the body to balance the Yin and Yang. The Wei Chi healing is when the Chi Gong healer uses his Chi in some style or technique to balance the patient's Chi. This method in China still is not popular because the results are low and many healers do not have a good medical education background.

From the "Theory of The Tong Ren" Chapter

In religion, we have faith healing. This theory is the belief in God. Many people laugh at it and deny it. These people have closed minds. If they interview and do research, then no one can deny it. Maybe the healing is a low percentage. Maybe their philosophy can't be accepted and agreed upon but one thing is true that it works and laughter can't stop people from using this healing approach. In fact, from the beginning of human history each nation and religion has had its own healing methods. Religious and mystical healing have their own way to bring energy to heal patients. No matter what people name and call the energy, I believe it is the same. This is similar to Chi Gong healing. Each style has their own name and technique.

My Tong Ren healing is not connected with any religion, nor should it be viewed as a mystery. My belief in Tong Ren is associated with the philosophy of the collective unconscious and the power of the mind. Many people accept the ideas that there is an unconscious, and that the mind is powerful. Many books describe these philosophical views. When a group of people come together, as in a healing meditation, to form a collective unconscious, this collective mind can be a healing power. This type of healing power needs a leader. So when we form a group to be a collective unconscious mind we need a leader or form to do it, just as a computer needs a font to show a letter on a monitor. In Tong Ren therapy we use a regular plastic acupuncture model to form the healing image. The acupuncture model becomes an energetic representation of the patients body. By placing the needles in the appropriate area on the model and using Chi Gong the healer helps balance the patients Chi. The connection between the healer and the patient is formed and modified by the energetic representation of the acupuncture model. Just as light shining through a slide will display and image, so too the Chi directed to the patient is modified by image of the acupuncture model will inserted needles at specific points. The pattern of needles, the points selected, are the same that the acupuncturist would use if inserting the needles in the patient's body. Both inserting needles in the model and in the patient's body are means to balance the patients Chi. The difference of curse is that when the model is used the patient can be treated over great distance.

This is similar to some Japanese acupuncture methods in which the needle is just touched to the skin but not inserted. Because Chi and collective unconscious are not limited by space only the connection must be made. The healing power is not from the acupuncture model. It is from our mind, and this mind transforms into a healing force. This healing energy we call Chi. In the human body, Chi has its own way to circulate. We must regulate the Chi and make it run on its track. This is the same theory that a Chi Gong master uses to make Chi circulate in a patient's body.

From the "Mind Focus" Chapter

The theory and practice of Tong Ren involves mind power and the collective unconscious. When we practice Tong Ren for healing, we need the patient and the healer to focus their minds at the same time and on the same purpose.

The first focus comes from the healer. Many people are confused by what is meant by 'focus.' When I practice Chi Gong healing in China, America, or anywhere, many experts wonder why I don't need to focus my mind as I treat patients. During my Chi Gong treatments I remain casual, I can continue talking to any person. In China, when the Chi Gong master treats his patient, he is not allowed to speak. He must keep quiet and practice inhaling and exhaling. His mind is focused with the Chi, how it can flow from the Dantian to the palm, then from the P8 point on the palm, it passes to the patient. Some of them may vibrate the palm with a red face. Many times we can see this type of picture in magazines and newspapers. My mind focus works in another way, but it cannot be said that I am not focused.

From the "Feeling of the Treatment" Chapter

Tong Ren therapy is a system based on Chi Gong. When we put the patient in the Chi Gong state during Tong Ren therapy, the Bai Hui point on the top of the head (also called GV20) opens first. When the Chi opens the top of the head, the face fills up with Chi. We can observe the patient's face turning red due to the De Chi from the Tong Ren therapy.

This is confusing to many patients because people usually do not really believe that heat or facial warmth is a type of feeling. In the beginning, if you ask patients if they feel anything, they will reply no. But if you ask them, 'Do you feel warmth on the face?' they will say 'yes.'

The other thing people often feel is tingling in their hands. When the Chi flows from the universe, it moves first into the top of the head. In TCM this point is called Bai Hui and it is were the Yang Chi enters the body. Bai Hui in Chinese means that 'hundred Yang Chi gathering.' Then the Chi follows down the back of the head and goes into the neck. The neck contains all of the nerves connected with the arms and hands. When we feel the arms or hands tingling, this is the Chi filling up the hand's three Yin meridians and three Yang meridians. Some may feel their palms sweating. These people usually have blockages around T4 and T5. The sweating indicates the opening of the heart meridian.

From the "Energy and Science" Chapter

Energy has no volume, and no boundaries, but because all matter is composed of energy it possesses the ability to change at its most basic level. Chi Gong is an ancient method of energy healing which theorizes that Chi or energy can be produced and transferred via the mind or physical body. A well-trained Chi Gong practitioner can use his mind and/or hand to produce Chi and direct it toward a patient needing energy, thus altering his condition. We know that any two objects exert a gravitational pull on each other. Depending on the size and quality of the objects, this force may be great or small, but we know gravity has the ability to travel over great distances, from the sun to the earth, from the earth to the moon, and the moon back to the ocean causing tidal changes. The scientific community recognizes that planets have gravitational fields but they have not identified energy fields between humans. This less quantifiable gravitational attraction is presently beyond the realm of explanation for modern physics. We each have a mind. Men and women find themselves inexplicably attracted to each other. It is not only matter attracting like matter; it is a product of the mind. If we attempt to use the philosophy of physics to explain this force, then we will never find the answers we seek. It is exactly our humanity that makes us unique. We have a conscious mind, and the mind has the ability to blend with gravity to form a different force. This force contains not only the physical gravity, but it also possesses a human frequency as well. We can call it the vital force.

From the "Strengthen Your Chi" Chapter

Chi in the body is a life force and energy, but we also need our minds to be powerful. Mind can affect the Chi in our bodies, and the mind can affect healing results also. Many people try to learn my healing method, but not so many of my students want to learn the mind exercises from me. From the Chi Gong training, it is necessary to empty the mind or focus the mind to move the Chi. There are many different methods to train the mind. In my Chi Gong training, I require my mind to be always in a relaxed condition. The mind needs philosophy as a support and foundation. No one can force others to accept a philosophy. In my life, I like the Taoist philosophy to support my mind. The Tao is the way from nature. Wu Way is the major idea from Taoism. Wu Way means Following the Way of nature.

From the "Location of the Needling" Chapter

The point in using my system is mostly to treat the area but not the disease. Because it is an energy healing, the location of the complaint is more important than the disease. Chi healing is different from healing with medicine. The Chi is more intelligent than what we think. In TCM, one believes that sickness comes from the Chi being out of balance. So we can use any technique to balance the Chi. Medicine taken into the body produces a chemical stimulation and reaction. Different chemicals have different reactions. For example, if someone complains of stomach pain, it may have a hundred of different causes. Different kinds of stomach pain will be cured by different drugs. But in my Chi Gong healing, we only balance the Chi circulation in the stomach area and the Chi will automatically collect in the stomach for healing.

Many people in my healing class get confused because they want to know what is the disease and what acupuncture point should they use. I usually tell them not to get tied up by the diagnosis from the medical dictionary, just know where and what organ is out of balance.

From the "Range of Healing" Chapter

The range of Tong Ren healing is very wide. Tong Ren therapy is a way of Chi Gong healing, so the range is as wide as Chi Gong healing. Any healing from Chi Gong or energy healing can be effective, and that is what the Tong Ren technique can be also. The first thing that works well with Tong Ren is relaxation. Many sicknesses stem from or are related to the need for relaxation, such as nervousness, stress, depression, insomnia, anxiety, phobias, negative memories, etc. When we treat the patient with Tong Ren, most fall into a Chi Gong state. This state is very relaxing, and this relaxation allows the Chi to circulate easily in the body. Most people feel tingling like an electrical current running through their body. From the law of physics, we know that the less resistance, the more the current passes.

From the "Into the Tong Ren Treatment" Chapter

After putting needles in for the Tong Ren treatment, the next step is to make sure the patient can feel the Chi. Most of the patients can feel the Chi in a short time (around 1-2 minutes.) The sensation for the Chi feeling is different for each individual. Some can feel the sensation when the needle is put in for the Tong Ren. Some can feel it later and some not. And some are confused. Some people can feel the Chi sensation but they deny it. Since it does not make any sense to them, they don't trust their own feelings or believe the truth.

With long distance treatment on the phone, the first thing we ask the patient is how they feel after needling. The first sensation they should feel is relaxation or warmth on the face. But many people deny that they feel anything, because relaxation and warmth to them is not an important feeling. The second thing they feel is the warmth travelling to the neck and hand. Their hands and palms can feel the tingling also. If they can feel the hands tingling, that means the Chi is already running in the body to balance the Yin and Yang.

From the "Tong Ren For Cancer" Chapter

Another situation that can cause a DNA copying problem results from difficulties in the spinal cord. We know the spinal cord is a cable that passes signals to the organs and body. If the cable has high resistance, the current of bio-electricity will be low and it can cause trouble with copying the signal during the forming of new cells. Similar to a tape recorder whose battery is low, the new tape being played will produce a bad sound. Each organ has its own set of nerves to control it. All nerves come from the brain and pass signals through the spinal cord. These signals order normal functioning of the body and its organs. If the nerve has been blocked, we can find a knot or blockage adjacent to the spinal column. For example, in breast cancer we can find a blockage in the T4 area. With lung cancer we can find the blockage in the T3 and T6 area. Leukemia and pancreatic cancer have blockages at T7 and T8 on the right side. Liver cancer blockage is in the T9 and T10 right side. Stomach cancer in T9 and T10 left side. Ovarian and prostate cancer blockage is found at L3. Skin cancer at T4 and T7. Brain tumors are caused from blockage at C1 to C3, sinus cancer is from C3 and C4. These are common cancers. With each cancer, we can find a different blockage. Tong Ren treatment on the spinal column can help but needs to be combined with Tui Na and acupuncture. Then there will be the best results. When we find blockages along the spinal column, it does not mean we will find cancer. In other words, a blockage can mean other illnesses but if people have cancer, they must have a blockage along the spinal column. Cancer only can be proven by a biopsy. In fact, to diagnose cancer is not our job. It is a medical doctor's job. So we do not mislead the patient.

Within my practice, I can not tell people that I know what the cause of their cancer is, because what I do does not have Western medical research to support it. The way I find each cancer is related to blockages found and are associated with acupuncture points. From TCM, an acupuncture point is where the Chi or energy flows. When the Chi is out of balance, this is looked at as the root cause of the cancer. So when we treat cancer, we must open the blockage by stimulating acupuncture points to let the Chi flow freely in the body, then the cancer can be controlled or disappear.