2016: Speakers

Eban Alexander

Eben Alexander III


After decades as a physician and teacher at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere, renowned academic neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander thought he knew how the brain and mind worked. A transcendental Near-Death Experience (NDE) during an inexplicable, near-fatal brain infection changed that—completely. He has spent the 5+ years since his NDE reconciling his rich spiritual experience with contemporary physics and cosmology. The symbiosis of science and spirituality he discovered offers profound insight into fundamental Truth. His book, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, has spent more than a year atop The New York Times and international bestseller lists.

Bill Bengston

William F. Bengston


Bill Bengston is the president of the Society for Scientific Exploration, an international group of scientists who study anomalies. His areas of specialization include research methods and statistics. His research has produced the first successful full lifespan cures of transplanted mammary cancer and methylcholanthrene-induced sarcomas in experimental mice by “energy healing” techniques that he helped to develop. He has also investigated assorted correlates to healing such as geomagnetic micropulsations and EEG harmonics and entrainment.

Dacheng Chen

Decheng Chen


Dr. Decheng Chen holds a doctorate in acupuncture. He spent 11 years studying traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture science in China, where he received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in acupuncture. Before coming to the U.S., he worked as a professor at the Acupuncture Institute of China, Academy of TCM in Beijing. He has more than 30 years of clinical and teaching acupuncture experience in China, Russia, Egypt, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and the U.S.

Stephen Cowan

Stephen Cowan


Stephen Cowan, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician with over 25 years of clinical experience working with children. He has a subspecialty in Developmental Pediatrics and is a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics, serving as a member of the section on Developmental Disabilities. He is a clinical instructor at New York Medical College and a member of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. He is the author of Fire Child Water Child, how understanding the five types of ADHD can help you improve your child’s self-esteem and attention.  Dr. Cowan has developed a unique holistic approach to evaluating and treating children struggling with chronic physical, emotional and cognitive disorders that integrates the principles of Chinese medicine and homeopathy. Considering the child as a reflection of the inter-related forces of family and environment is the central focus of his practice. This approach respects the inseparability of mind, body and spirit and promotes a deeper understanding of what it means to be healthy. He is a long-time recurring presenter at Building Bridges for TCM. www.stephencowanmd.com

Thea Elijah

Thea Elijah


Thea Elijah has been a student, practitioner and teacher of acupuncture, herbal studies,

Qigong and Sufi healing for more than 25 years. She is most interested in the intersections of different lineages, where we can explore diversity while maintaining rigor. Her own practice is rooted in Classics studies with Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee, five element studies in the Worsley tradition, pulse studies with Leon Hammer, herbal studies with Ted Kaptchuk, and many others.  Elijah is the former director of Chinese herbal studies at Academy for Five Element Acupuncture and MUIH (formerly Traditional Acupuncture Institute). Elijah is also a teacher of the Shaddhuliyyah Sufi Order, and, as such, she is in a position to consider energy medicine from a cross-cultural perspective. At her students’ request, she has created a body of work called Whole Heart Connection, which draws upon the principles of both Chinese medicine and Sufism, to allow us to bring these healing principles and practices into daily life. Currently Elijah maintains a practice in southern Vermont and travels to teach in the United States and Canada.

Tonya Heyman

Tonya S. Heyman


Dr. Heyman founded The Institute for Women’s and Children’s Health in 1991, treating the whole woman, addressing health by integrating the mind, body and spirit.  In 2002, Dr. Heyman in her own health journey went on to receive certifications in functional medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.  Recently, she founded The Cleveland Health Institute, where she practices her own brand of personalized medicine in the Turning Point Pathways to Health Clinic.  Integrating classical and modern medicines, she believes in biochemical individuality based on one’s genetic blueprint, patient-centered medicine, supporting vitality, creating dynamic balance and promoting organ reserve.  Dr. Heyman graduated and trained at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and has been on the clinical faculty there since 1987.  She is committed to physician and patient education, integrative medical research and the evolution of healthcare systems.

Irma Jenne

Irma Jenne

With her 25 years of classical training in Taoist philosophy, traditional Chinese medicine and internal martial arts under the guidance of Grand Master Lu, Irma’s background is unique. She works with a core team at TCM World Foundation, where she coordinates and teaches health and wellness programs as well as instructor training programs based on traditional medicine and Wu Ming Qigong. Her certifications include Qigong Meridian Therapy, jointly granted by TCM World Foundation and Hubei College (University) of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China, and LifeForce: Tao of Medical Qigong. A gold medalist in several international competitions, Irma has directed and served as lead instructor of the Taiji program at Tao of Healing in NYC for more than 15 years.

Elaine Katen

Elaine Katen

Elaine is program director at Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation where she co-develops and teaches educational programs based on her unique training with Grand Master Nan Lu. For more than 14 years, she has been privileged to study TCM and internal martial arts with him in the traditional master-student apprenticeship model. During this time, Master Lu has imparted profound insights, particularly regarding one’s inseparable connection to Nature and the Universe that she feels passionate about sharing: “My life changed when I was introduced to Chinese medicine. Today, my role in the Foundation allows me to share TCM’s life-affirming teachings through our unique self-healing programs.” Elaine gives professional trainings in LifeForce: Tao of Medical Qigong, Instructor Certification for the Dragon’s Way® Program and Wu Ming Qigong for Breast Health.

Renee Lehman

Renee Lehman


Renee Lehman is a licensed acupuncturist and physical therapist, with more than 25 years of experience in healthcare. She is in private practice in Gettysburg, PA.  She has studied LifeForce: Tao of Medical Qigong and is a certified instructor of The Dragon’s Way® Weight Loss and Stress Management Program. With a deep love of nature, Renee understands that the body is wise and has the intrinsic ability to heal and return itself to a place of balance.

Nan Lu

Nan Lu


Nan Lu, OMD is founding director and president of Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, the country’s foremost educational organization for traditional Chinese medicine. He is also founder of breastcancer.com and The Breast Cancer Prevention Project. As Grand Master of Wu Ming Qigong, he is a lineage holder of ancient knowledge not found in today’s textbooks. He has devoted his life to preserving the unique body–mind–spirit wisdom of TCM and Wu Ming Qigong. A longtime TCM practitioner, his mission is to help patients and his Qigong students discover their healing abilities and the effect of consciousness in everyday health. Dr. Lu’s latest book is Digesting the Universe: A Revolutionary Framework for Healthy Metabolism Function, a major work that addresses the multidimensional aspects of today’s chronic health issues. He holds a doctorate in traditional Chinese medicine from Hubei College (University) of TCM, China, and is a clinical associate professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, School of Social Welfare.

karen newell

Karen Newell

Karen Newell, co-founder of Sacred Acoustics, is an innovator in the emerging field of brainwave entrainment audio meditation. Listening to recordings containing binaural beats will quiet the mind and body, helping people reach expanded states of awareness during meditation. Karen’s lifelong passion and interest in historical and ancient cultures, and sacred sites, strongly influences the content of Sacred Acoustics’ recordings. Using these unique meditations, she teaches how to engage one’s consciousness to connect to inner sources of guidance, inspiration, wellness and intuition.  At their workshops, Karen and best-selling author Dr. Eben Alexander demonstrate key practices of exploring consciousness: heart awareness, intention, maintaining neutrality, emotional management and cultivating inner knowing.

Tatiana Phillippova

Tatiana Philippova


Tatiana’s unique background is grounded in her longtime master-student traditional training with Dr. Lu encompassing TCM, acupuncture, martial arts and Wu Ming Qigong. She has spent more than 15 years practicing acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine under his guidance. Tatiana’s extensive experience encompasses continuing study of Wu Ming Qigong, as well as teaching expertise in Qigong Meridian Therapy (QTM), for which she is jointly certified by TCM World Foundation and Hubei College (University) of TCM, China. She is a certified Lifeforce: Tao of Medical Qigong instructor and is a certified instructor of the Dragons Way® program. Tatiana is a frequent presenter on whole-person health and the Five Element Framework at TCM World Foundation educational events and retreats. Tatiana holds a master’s degree in Science and Acupuncture from the Swedish Institute, College of Health Sciences in New York.

Evan Rabinowitz


Evan Rabinowitz is the director of Chinese herbal studies at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. He is also on the acupuncture faculty at Daoist Traditions College of Chinese Medical Arts. Evan is a longtime student of Jeffrey Yuen and has studied a wide range of medical and Daoist traditions for the last thirteen years. He has also studied herbs and energy work with Thea Elijah, and traditional philosophy and Eastern religions with Seyyed Hossein Nasr. He is a graduate of the Traditional Acupuncture Institute, and is the founder of Yao Shan Center for Chinese Medicine in Washington, DC, where he maintains his clinical practice.

Peter Russell

Peter Russell

Peter Russell is a leading thinker on consciousness and its role in human affairs. He coined the term “global brain” with his 1980s bestseller of the same name in which he predicted the Internet and the impact it would have on humanity. He is the author of eight other books, including Waking Up in Time and From Science to God: A Physicist’s Journey into the Mystery of Consciousness. His principal interests are the interface between science and consciousness studies, and the inner challenges of our times. He believes that to navigate our way safely through them we must listen to the wisdom of the world’s wisdom traditions, as well as to our current scientific understanding.

Ellen schaplowsky

Ellen Schaplowsky

As founding vice president of TCM World Foundation, Ellen Schaplowsky has collaborated with Nan Lu, OMD, on developing many of the organization’s educational initiatives and publications. She has also helped co-author his three self-care books on TCM. A longtime internal martial arts student of Nan Lu, OMD, she is certified in LifeForce: Tao of Medical Qigong. She is also former executive vice president and director of training at Ruder Finn, Inc., one of the world’s largest independent PR firms. Her background includes creating reputation-building communications strategies for well-known companies, brands, and nonprofit organizations, as well media training and presentation training for senior executives.

Brother Bernard

Brother Bernard Seif


Brother/Doctor Bernard Seif, SMC, EdD, DNM, is a Christian monk in the Roman Catholic and Salesian traditions and clinical psychologist, board certified in behavioral medicine. He is also a doctor of natural medicine specializing in Chinese medicine with subspecialties in medical Qigong and Chinese medicinal herbs. Brother Bernard is certified as an advanced clinical therapist and a Qigong teacher by the National Qigong Association (NQA) and is a lifetime professional member of that organization, past ethics chair, has served on the NQA board of directors, and is a member of the World Academic Society of Medical Qigong. Doctor Seif enjoys writing monastic mystery books and has studied in both the U.S. and Asia, and offers workshops and retreats here and abroad. www.gentlestrength.org


Larry S. Stoler


Larry is a clinical psychologist and a leader in the integration of Eastern and Western healing practices. Dr. Stoler is a lifelong student of healers and healing. A past president of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, he has worked to help energy-based healing approaches gain credibility in the public and among mainstream professionals. He is a Qigong student of Grand Master Nan Lu, is a certified Dragon’s Way® Instructor and offers other Wu Ming Qigong programs. He is an ongoing LifeForce: Tao of Medical Qigong student. His integrative practice, Budding Spring Healing, combines psychotherapy, Medical Qigong, and group wellness programs for the public.

Melissa Thiel

Melissa Joy Thiel


Dr. Thiel graduated from Cornell Medical School and did her residency in ob-gyn at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She has been in the practice of women’s health and wellness for thirty years. She has delivered more than 3,000 babies, supervised women’s health centers and pregnant teen clinics, developed protocols and support groups for rape victims and women with miscarriages, pregnancy loss, and infant deaths. Currently, she is a Certified Menopausal Clinician, lectures on women’s health and has experience in functional medicine, nutrition, and acupuncture. She is a certified LifeForce: Tao of Medical Qigong practitioner under the guidance of Nan Lu, OMD. Dr. Thiel has been recognized as one of Washingtonian magazine’s ” Top Doctors.”


Haihe Tian

PhD, MD (China), Professor

Dr. Haihe Tian is president of American Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine and director of Chinese Acupuncture and Herbs Center in Florida. He started his medical training in 1982 at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, China. He studied both Western and Chinese Medicine for six years. He continued working toward his master’s and doctorate for another five years with the world’s most famous TCM expert, Professor Dong Jian-hua. Dr. Tian worked in the affiliated hospital of Beijing University until 1997, when he moved to America. He has been teaching and practicing Chinese Medicine for over 17 years in the US. He has served as a board member of AAAOM and has given more than 200 lectures and seminars at state, national and international conferences. As an author or co-author, he has also published more than 40 professional papers and 20 medical books.

Ruan Jin Zhao

Ruan Jin Zhao


Dr. Zhao is a native of Henan province, China. He has been engaged in practicing, teaching and researching traditional Chinese medicine with a focus on hepatic disease, viral disease and cancer, for more than thirty years. After graduating from Henan College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1984, he studied with the renowned Professor Du Zhou Liu at the Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology (TCM&P), where he earned his master’s degree in medical science. In 1990, he earned his PhD in Chinese medicine and cellular biology. After teaching cellular biology at Beijing University of TCM & P, he immigrated to the U.S. and has been practicing traditional Chinese medicine in Sarasota, Florida, where he is the president of The Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine, Inc., and a member of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.