Blog Post

Tong Ren

MJ writes: "What is Tong Ren and what do you know about it? A close Christian friend of mine has a 10 year old daughter who has brain cancer and has trusted in the Lord consistently until the cancer got worse and there was no hope given by doctors for a cure.  I know my friend is desperate to get her child healed but recently went to a Tong Ren session and said there would be a 'doll and a hammer' used.

"I was quite disturbed about this and sent her an email begging her to not do this. I believe it is against the first commandment. She is angry with me and went to this session anyway. I worry that this practice will only make matters worse for her child...what do you think?"

This is so sad. Let us all pray for this woman and her daughter. May the Lord, in His infinite mercy, heal them in mind, body and soul.

As for Tong Ren, this is a form of energy healing developed by Tom Tam, who describes himself on his website as a "writer, poet, and healer." He came to the U.S. from China in 1975 as a political refugee and has been practicing acupuncture, Tai Chi, and Chi Gong healing.

According to Tam, Tong Ren is based on a belief that disease is related to interruptions, or blockages, in the body's natural flow of chi (chi is a universal life force energy that does not exist), as well as neural bioelectricity, blood, and/or hormones. Tong Ren seeks to remove these blockages, restoring the body's natural ability to heal itself.

"Drawing on the Jungian theory of the 'collective unconscious,' Tong Ren is believed to access energy from this universal source and direct it to the patient," the web site states.

In a typical session, the Tong Ren practitioner uses a small doll as a representation of the patient and taps on certain areas on the model with a magnetic hammer. The hammer is used to stimulate blockage points on the doll related to the patient's illness.

As Tam explains: "This method is super easy for anyone to learn and practice; it does not require any serious training or experience. I always say, 'Monkey see, monkey do'"

After locating the points on the doll, the practitioner follows a healing chart in the textbook entitled, A Lazy Bum's Healing (I'm not making this up), then marks down the points on the doll or on paper. Following the chart, the practitioner discovers where the energy is blocked.

"When we press on a patient's body following the main points from the chart, the patient will usually experience an uncomfortable or painful feeling at these points.  In TCM [traditional Chinese medicine] theory these are called the Ouch Points. We need to pay attention to any Ouch Point, or any area where pain is felt. Pain is a signal from the body, which indicates that there is an imbalance or where the Chi is static. For example, when one has liver cancer, we shall find an Ouch Point at T9 on the right hand side. When a patient has breast cancer, we can easily find an Ouch Point at T4, on the same side as the tumor. "

I think this is enough to give you an accurate picture of what we're dealing with here and it's not exactly rocket science.

Writing for the Science Based Medicine Blog, Ben Kavoussi calls the practice "voodoopuncture" and chides Tam for using it to treat the terminally ill and the desperate like this 10-year-old child.

"He treats groups of terminally ill and debilitated patients in a deliverance ceremony that is noting but a revamped Taoist exorcism — only the clay or straw doll is replaced by a plastic mannequin," Kavoussi writes.

The main point for Catholics to remember is that we do not believe in a universal life force that permeates all of creation. This is a pantheistic belief common to eastern religions and is one of the hallmarks of the New Age.

As we read in the Pontifical document, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life, "The New Age concept of God is rather diffuse . . . . The New Age god is an impersonal energy . . . 'god' in this sense is the life-force or soul of the world. Divinity is to be found in every being," from the lowest crystal up to and beyond God Himself.

"This is very different from the Christian understanding of God as the maker of heaven and earth and the source of all personal life," the document says. "God is in himself, personal, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who created the universe in order to share the communion, of his life with creaturely persons."

Although Catholics are required to use ordinary means to treat any life threatening or contagious condition, this requirement is waived when all conventional medicine has been exhausted.

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