Acupuncture- Integrative Medicine: East Meets West

Is integrative medicine right for you?

Posted Apr 14, 2017

Those who have been following my blogs know I am a firm believer in integrative medicine. As described by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, “Integrative medicine is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.”

with permission from Pexels
Source: with permission from Pexels

When medical doctors told me I would not get better after sustaining a traumatic brain injury, I took matters into my own hands and through an integrative approach, I was able to regain my life again. It was then I developed Dr. Diane®’s 5-Prong Approach. My integrative practice consists of a team of integrative brain health experts who specialize in a wide-range of traditional, alternative, and complementary treatment methods. Together, using Dr. Diane’s 5-Prong Approach, we provide each person we treat with a customized program specifically to overcome their unique symptoms.

East Meets West

I would like to share with you a healing method and introduce you to Tom Tam and his daughter, Yvonne Tam, who is part of my integrative team.

Tom Tam is a Chinese healer skilled at acupuncture and acupressure who is also a well-respected QiGong Master. However, he is most recognized for his Tong Ren energy healing method he developed, which is based on the belief that health can be restored by healing a patient’s energy system.

For over 20 years, Tom has been working with the electrical grid of the body to heal all types of conditions and diseases including: cancer, immune disease, Parkinson's disease and more with growing success.

I first met Tom Tam over 27 years ago, soon after my own brain injury. Over the years, I have referred many of my patients with various brain injuries, such as Locked-In Syndrome, Stroke, movement disorders, such as myoclonic jerking, Parkinson Disease, MS and cancer to Tom Tam.

What is Tom Tam’s Healing System?

Tom Tam’s healing system is based on East meets West. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on the Huatuojiaji, which translates as “to treat the spinal cord.” Tom Tam has taken the Huatuojiaji system, along with acupuncture points or energy source points, Western anatomy and the chiropractic system and combined them to develop his healing system.

Tom Tam explains:

“The West has a very good understanding of the body’s anatomy, pathology and physiology. They understand the physical aspects of the body, but they do not understand the energy. They lack the knowledge of the body’s energy and the experience of treatment. This is the reason the West has a hard time understanding many diseases. For example, laboratory research focuses on chemical reactions and cell division. The East has a very good understanding of the energy in the body and much experience in treatment, but they do not understand much about anatomy and physiology.

"In traditional Chinese medicine, the doctors never needed to learn anatomy and physiology; they learned the meridians and energy points, and still did a good job healing. Through autopsies, the Chinese were able to see inside the body and discover that their amazing concepts were based on fact. I believe that in the future, medicine must combine Eastern and Western knowledge. In fact, in China they are beginning to combine these two healing systems. The traditional and holistic combined will be the best possible treatment system.”

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) works with the body’s energy system (Chi or also called Qi). TCM focuses on balance of the Chi throughout the body, and harmony of the Yin (negative) and Yang (positive) in balancing the body energy systems.

In the Tom Tam Healing System, Tom focuses on both the structure and workings of the body along with the energy system. In both Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine systems, there is a focus on blockages and what causes symptoms and diseases. As part of these two systems there is Acupuncture, Tui Na and Chi Gong.


As part of Tom Tam Healing System, Tom uses traditional acupuncture along with his own method. An acupuncturist will first do an evaluation of the patient to gain an understanding of their symptoms. This is necessary to figure out which areas should be focused on during the acupuncture session. The evaluation may include questions and answers, pulse-taking, abdominal palpation, and an examination of the tongue, skin color, and body odor.

After the evaluation, the acupuncturist will insert incredibly fine needles just below the surface of the skin at specific points on the body that correspond to the pain’s location. For example, a needle in the right pinky toe will help alleviate pressure experienced around the left eye—a common symptom of cluster headaches. The needles stay in the skin for approximately half an hour, and then the acupuncturist will remove them.

Tui Na Massage

Tui Na is a form of bodily massage that is designed to release blockage in the body. Tui Na is the oldest known system of massage and physical therapy in the world. Originating in China 15,000 years ago, the oldest record of medical massage for trauma was carved on turtle shells. In the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (the first comprehensive treaty of Chinese medicine) from 230 B.C., Tui Na was described as one of the five major therapies of the time. Tui Na has remained an organized and systematically developed form of massage and physical therapy since that time. Currently in China, Tui Na is taught as a separate but equal field of study in the major traditional Chinese medical schools. Tui Na doctors receive the same demanding training as acupuncturists and herbalists, and enjoy the same level of professional respect.

Chi Gong (Qi Gong)

The two words, chi and gong (or some places kong) mean cultivating energy. Chi Gong is a system practiced for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention.

From these combined methods, Tom has helped thousands of people worldwide from a wide variety of issues.

used with permission from
Source: used with permission from

Yvonne Tam

In April 2016, after I was diagnosed with one of rarest forms of lymphoma, I went back to see Tom, only to discover that his daughter Yvonne had taken over his practice.

Yvonne is a second-generation licensed acupuncturist who has been studying with Tom Tam for over 12 years. Part of the Tam Healing Center and Tong Ren Classes, she practices Tong Ren Therapy, a healing modality developed by her father, as well as acupuncture and Tui Na massage. In addition, Yvonne is part of my integrative team of brain health experts.

Tong Ren Therapy

Tom discovered, based on Jungian Psychology, (collective unconscious) and Chi Gong, that you don’t necessarily have to put acupuncture needles into the body. From this understanding, Tom developed Tong Ren Healing. Rather, what he discovered was tapping on points with an energized hammer on an acupuncture doll has the same effects as putting needles in those locations to release blockages. Using the hammer and doll represents and energetically conveys the signal of opening and dissolving blockages on the patient.

Tong Ren is a remote healing method that can be performed in person or remotely. It is a powerful, effective, and revolutionary healing method that has no side effects, as there are no medications or physical touch involved.

Yvonne explains:

“Throughout the years of growing up in a healing family and healing environment, I have absorbed invaluable information and have seen a countless number of miracles performed as if they were daily occurrences. Among illnesses, simple to severe, we have had many, many sufferers of brain injuries walk through our doors. I, along with my fellow Tong Ren practitioners, have successfully treated patients with devastating dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, brain tumors, and anything and everything. We have had dementia patients who completely shut down, without a trace of who they or their families are. After treatments of Tong Ren and acupuncture, they completely and fully regained speech, cognitive function, and their former self.”

Tom has always theorized the body and the bio-electrical signal in the body is what causes illness. The theory of Tong Ren Healing and the objective is to release these physical and energetic blockages that are causing the decrease in the bio-electrical signal.

Is Integrative Medicine Right For You?

Integrative Medicine is becoming more mainstream with good reason. Combining treatments and therapies from various methods of healing, both conventional and alternative, it is a model of health and wellness, as opposed to a model of disease. Today, more people are seeking ways to maintain good health and prevent illnesses without having to rely on medications and medical procedures.

As I have said, and will continue to say, no two people are alike and neither should their treatment programs. What works for one person, may not work for another, which is why treating the “whole person” is my approach. Regardless of the presenting problem or situation, in my practice we see the patient/client from the five distinct views that make up our approach: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and energy. Only then, can we determine the best course of action.

There is a Way!®
—Dr. Diane

© 2017 Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D. All Rights Reserved.