Archive for acupuncture

Tong Ren Therapy

Posted in Alternitive Medicine with tags , , , , , , , on June 1, 2008 by youtubeskeptic

This has got to be one of the most disturbing videos and some of the most irresponsible “reporting” I’ve ever seen in my life.

The introduction to the story sends up one of the biggest red flags that what you’re about to hear is 100% crap.

“From chronic illnesses to late stage cancers; one Massachusetts man says he has come up with a therapy that can heal almost any ailment”

One of my rules of thumb when considering a claim of a medical treatment is that if it claims to be a universal cure all then there is pretty much a 100% chance of it being garbage. Of course,just about every woo woo “therapy” claims to be able to cure cancer.

So,what exactly is Tong Ren? Apparently it’s a acupuncture/voodoo hybrid that this guy,Tom Tam, just made up out of thin air. You just tap the “energy” points on the doll with a tiny hammer and somehow this is supposed to heal you. I noticed that when they did close ups of people who were supposed to be tapping a specific point,that they were tapping randomly all over the place almost.You would think that if it actually worked the way its claimed then the accuracy of the tapping would be of the up most importance since you have to make sure the healing “energy” is directed to the correct point.I mean,if I had a brain tumor I wouldn’t want to lose all that healing because people were tapping the back of the neck or the upper back.Here is the “Theory of Tong Ren from Tam’s website.

“For any healing system, there has to be a supporting theory, no matter where the theory comes from or whether it makes sense. The theory of the collective unconscious is the basis for Tong Ren Therapy. Without proof all theories are merely conjecture. Proof may be found in research or empirical data. Tong Ren has not been proven by any expert research. This type of research involves financial support, political support, development of modern science, and case studies by a qualified practitioner. The proof for all of my theories is only through the experience and results of my patients and myself. Of course I have no doubt that Tong Ren Therapy works. No one can deny the work we have done or the results we have achieved or argue about it.”

Need I say more?

The anecdotal evidence is pretty typical of alternative medicine techniques. The patient is undergoing standard medical treatments for their disease and doing the alternative techniques on the side,but if they start to get better all the credit goes to the alternative “therapy” and not the chemotherapy or whatever standard treatment they were involved in.

Doing some research I found that the Tong Ren proponents are already trying to parade around the fact that Harvard Medical/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have initiated a pilot study. Here is what they are doing:

“The purpose of this study is to obtain preliminary evidence of the efficacy of the Tong Ren Healing System in improving symptoms from treatment or disease through an anonymous cross-sectional survey of participants of Tong Ren Healing sessions. We will collect self-report surveys from attendees at 6 different sites for Tong Ren Healing group sessions in Massachusetts. A self-administered survey has been developed for this study to assess the following: conditions for which people seek treatment; duration of treatment; other treatment modalities sought for condition; reports of changes in symptoms and conditions; for those who report improvement, extent of improvement. Although the primary population of interest is patients with cancer, we will collect surveys from all attendees to assess impact of Tong Ren on other chronic conditions. Approximately 300 participants will take part in this study. Results will be used as preliminary evidence for future research in this healing modality.”

So basically,its just a survey of people who at least already believed enough in it to go to a session and to self evaluate the effects-anecdotes.This is hardly anything in the way of proof of Tong Ren. The sad thing is that usually the public only hears about the results of pilot studies such as these which are almost always positive,especially a survey study which does nothing but help to establish the claimed effects of a treatment so real studies can be formulated,but then the public never hears the results of the actual conclusive studies which come out to be dead negative.Name me one time you’ve turned on the news and heard them say “remember the positive pilot study on (insert treatment) we told you about 10 years ago? Well the phase four conclusive studies have come out and the results were negative”. I know I sure haven’t!

At the end of the story they tell us that Tom did not want to be interviewed for the story.Strange. I looked up other news stories about Tong Ren and he declines being interviewed for them all. Mr.Tam cites his reason for not being interviewed on that be feels “critics have made unfair accusations”. What kind of nonsense reporting is this? If someone makes fantastical claims but refuses to be interviewed for a story on it then DON’T DO THE STORY! Whats the point of this other than to do an easy fluff piece which does nothing but harm to people who need real help?

For more on Tong Ren straight out of the horses mouth you can go to TOMTAM.COM. There you can find the Holy Trinity of woo woo with “Tong Ren Astrology” . Acupuncture,voodoo and astrology combined? Sounds reasonable to me. You can also sign up for the upcoming training course….only $300! Or,you can buy a “TENS machine” and give your Tong Ren doll electric shock therapy for only $85. Think of all the illness you might have caused when you were a child blowing up G.I Joe action figures with a M-80.