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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tfillin and Acupuncture

This was sent to me by a patient:

I don't know why this happened to me, but it's a fact that stuff comes my way; I went to Tel Aviv to visit my father and someone there asked me, "Have you heard about Tefillin?" I said, "What are you talking about?" She tells me that her friend has an article from the Chinese Journal of Medicine written about Tefillin. Right away my curiosity was aroused and I had her immediately bring me the article and when I got it, I saw something unbelievably amazing! Absolutely astounding!

Who of us doesn't know about Chinese Acupuncture? The Chinese discovered the medical treatment using needles to heal when they are inserted at certain points in the body. The Chinese have mapped out and named all the points of the body du 24 du 70 du 23, and so on. And the Chinese Journal of Medicine - to which everyone important in the field of Acupuncture subscribes - published an amazing article, absolutely astonishing. The main article in volume number 70 of the Journal deals solely with the Tefillin of the Jewish People. The article conclusively establishes that the contact and pressure points covered by the hand and head Tefillin are exactly those points at which the Acupuncture needles are inserted in order "to increase spirituality and to purify thoughts." The non-Jewish author of the article puts it that the points covered by the Tefillin are those where the Acupuncture needles are inserted. Reverse the statement to read: The Acupuncture needles are inserted in those points which are exactly where a Jew puts on Tefillin.

The article details all of the Acupuncture points which are the same as the points-of-contact of the head Tefillin - front and back - as well as the points-of-contact of the hand Tefillin on the arm and hand. In the opinion of the expert who wrote the article, these are the only Acupuncture points that will achieve this result [to increase spirituality and to purify thoughts] which, in addition to following the Torah's command to place the Tefillin on the arm (hand) and head as a sign that HASHEM brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand, is likely the reason that Jews put on Tefillin.

Absolutely amazing!


The Observer said...

Could someone explain to me why we need to validate tefillin on the basis of Chinese medicine? And I'm still waiting for the experiment in the penultimate paragraph.

(N.B. I commented on this 2 years ago so it's time must have come round again.)

PsychoToddler said...

Observer: Sorry, I don't remember if I saw your post back then. This just showed up in my mailbox this morning.

I do think it's interesting. Like all of these attempts to rationalize halacha, it runs the risk of DISPROVING the validity of tfillin if you insist on linking it to tangible real-world (or eastern medicine) results.

Halfnutcase said...

who said that we are validating it according to medicine (and acupuncture is considered valid medicine, although many of the westerners don't have the foggiest clue why it works)?

This is an explanation of the mitzvah of teffilin, according to medicine. That's all. It is a cute beur and is very nice to read and say that others recognize the potential benifites of doing what we do. Its kind of cute, that's all.

Who cares if it's validated or invalidated, what matters is that it's another understanding of the mechanism that hashem left in place to allow them to work. I, in all honesty, like it.

tuesdaywishes said...

I saw this on a poster in my son's Yeshiva. I would not say that it validates or invalidates, but it is an interesting confluence.

Nice Jewish Guy said...

Blah, blah, blah. So what. Tefillin has nothing to do with the meridian system (which is the what the system of pathways along which the acupuncture point lie is called, BTW). That email couldn't have been more loaded with breathless hyperbole ("absolutely astonishing!").

Acupuncture points are maybe literally a few millimeters in size, and grouped very close to one another in many areas. Otherwise thin-gauge neeles wouldn't be necessary. So it's not "astonishing" that in a system of meridians that comprises upwards of some hundreds of points, tefillin will manage to overlie some of them.

Also, as far as I know (from back when I studied the meridian system), there really aren't points that "stimulate spirituality and pure thoughts". The meridian points are related to specific organ systems and also to the Chinese 5 Element system (Earth, Air, Fire , Water, Metal). The discipline doesn't really correlate very well to Western medicine and physiology as we understand it, so those who utilize it accept it as a system unto itself and try and rationalize it that way.

I think the Tefillin thing is interesting to some people because it takes a religious practice that only makes sense to those who practice it, and links it to another fuzzy science that also has a tenuous grounding in hard physiology. Oooh. Look at that. What a coincidence, right? But I don't think relating Tefillin to acupncture (meridians) really adds credence to (or takes it away from) either. They are what they are, that's all. Why do they need to be related?

Nice Jewish Guy said...

OK, I stand corrected on the points that may relate to mental clarity thing-- but again, I don't think that trying to relate one Tefillin, which has meaning only in a religious context, to acupx, which is sort of an esoteric and fuzzy science, does anything for either.

Doctor Bean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doctor Bean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RaggedyMom said...

Do you know what's weirder than this acupuncture story? Your haywire, fakakta "most recent comments" section. What's up wit dat?! :)

PsychoToddler said...

RM: See here.

Ayelet said...

likely the reason that Jews put on Tefillin.

The reason we put on tefillin is because Hashem told us to in the Torah. "Histakel b'orighta u'bara alma."

Btw, how exactly does one measure increased spirituality and purification of thoughts?

PsychoToddler said...

Re: Comment weirdness: I fixed it. As usual, the hack was found by other bloggers, not by Blogger.

Anonymous said...

Now I know why I can't wear tefillin on shabbes - it would be work...

A friendly neighborhood acupuncturist.
(Who is ashamed that such an article made it into a professional journal.)

Ralphie said...

I must be laying my tefillin incorrectly - all it does for me is drain my sinuses and relieve carpal tunnel syndrome.

Jewish Blogmeister said...

Study has proven that people who were tefillin longer lose more weight then those that don't. It has something to do with the pressure points and the lack of blood to ones arm that suppresses ones appetite......umm yeh...

Anonymous said...

So what's with the non-Jewish author? Who told you that? As the author, I can definitely attest to my being Jewish. If you read the article fully, you will see citation 3: "Personal instructions given to me 37 years ago by Ashkenazi Rabbi Elihu Elephant."

Also see http://www.forward.com/issues/2002/02.12.13/fast3.html

As far as the acupoint locations, some points are larger than others. But the need for needles is not true. Why else would Shiatsu be so effective. The most significant points are where the Kesher goes as well as the last wind of the arm. The hand wrappins points are also imprtant.

Dr. Steve Schram

PsychoToddler said...

Dr. Schram:

I never said you weren't Jewish. All I said was, "This was sent to me by a patient:"

Thanks for an interesting article!

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viagra online said...

I'm not a huge needles fan, but after doing some research about what is acupuncture about, I realized that needles are used in order to calm down some of the worst pain you can feel, this is impressive!