Is it ok to do tong ren in my office while the patient rests in the treatment room with acupuncture needles, and a tdp lamp? For some people tong ren is kind of far out. It took them this long to try acupuncture. Why add more to the scenario? Must I tell the patient that I am practicing what he/she might think of as voodoo? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Dan Karp, Lic.Ac
It is best to not practice without others consent and awareness. Tong Ren or any energetic work on a patient requires both to be aware of what is going on. Distance isn't the issue, but awareness and openness is. Even from your perspective, if you cannot feel comfortable openly using a technique that is helpful for people, how can your intent be strong?
Tong Ren is also strengthened when done with the patients mind engaged - what do you feel? does the cyst feel smaller now? try moving your arm now, does it hurt?, etc. This feedback from the patient based on what you see in their energy and what they respond with allows you to fine tune your treatment, spending more time on some areas perhaps. It also allows their lower levels of consciousness to open to what is happening. It is crucial that they are aware.
Now it is true we work with people in coma's, on animals, and on infants - so in those cases there is little or no awareness, but you cannot hide what you are doing.
While it is true that many people may find the techniques somewhat unique, if you explain it to them scientifically - if you understand it scientifically, the majority have no issues with the treatment. The truth is, Tong Ren is an excellent way to access lower levels of consciousness by essentially distracting the conscious mind. Most other energy medicines/medical qi gong techniques require too much conscious focus which is ultimately weak due to distractions and low in energetic flow and systemic change. There are other major benefits of the system, of course, but the ability to access the subconscious mind and the collective unconscious is important.
You may have to ease people into some of the techniques, perhaps with some more explanation, and offering Tong Ren classes to the public is a good way to get people acquainted with the system. Working on them without their knowledge, however, is incorrect and will not come of much.
Many acupuncturists have issues with using Tong Ren, whereas people from other disciplines (or no background) have no problems working on people directly. Once you help your patients they will rarely question you. So long as you can explain what you are doing and why in terms they understand all will be well.
In most people you can see signs of the energy working within their body once you begin treatment. The most noticeable is the face getting more color. The feedback as far as what people are feeling is important, but it's not crucial for them to have any sensations. Tom always says that there are a few percent of people that will never feel anything during the treatments - clinically whether or not the people have strong sensations does not seem to correlate to symptomatic improvement.
Generally when we begin treatment, usually with sky window points or points on the scalp, we are looking for some change in their facial color or a sensation from them (hands tingling, warmth, etc.) that shows the energy is present. After it is present you can proceed to work on the main treatment points for the condition they are presenting with.
We all have had many patients who are not strongly sensitive to energy work - so it shouldn't make you feel like a novice. In fact, Tong Ren is explicitly different from other related arts such as Medical Qi Gong in that your level of qi development (internal energy training) has little to do with the success of the treatments. The main thing is to use the theory and the treatment methods for awhile and you will get results. As the results come, your confidence in the techniques grow, and everything becomes stronger.