Tefillin is the name given to the ancient Jewish practice of attaching two small leather boxes, one to the head and the other to the upper section of the weaker arm. Whether by coincidence or not, the placement of these two boxes forms pressure points that are located in exactly the same place as certain acupuncture pressure points. Interestingly enough, these pressure points act as a way to “clear the mind and harmonize the spirit” according to Dr. Steven Schram, in his article entitled: Tefillin: An Ancient Acupuncture Point Prescription For Mental Clarity in the Journal of Chinese Medicine, Number 70, Oct 2002.
The boxes are each affixed to a long strap, made of leather, 9mm wide. One is placed on the head, and, according to explicit directions, positioned centrally between the eyes, with the base of the box sitting upon the forehead, just within the hairline. This corresponds to a pressure point known as Shenting-DU24 otherwise known as “Tianting” or “Courtyard of Heaven”.
Traditionally used to treat any mental disorder, this pressure point is responsible for instilling calm in the mind and balance to the spirit.
Where the straps meet behind the head at the base of the skull (external occupital protuberance), there is a knot which corresponds to the acupuncture pressure point named Fengfu DU-16 also known as “Gui Zhen”, “Wind Mansion” or “Ghost Pillow”.
Fengfu DU-16 is widely recognized to benefit memory and concentration. On the Yang Linking vessel, this is also the point that unites all heaven-bound Yang energy.
The weaker arm (left arm for right handed people and right arm for left handed people) is wrapped with the second strap seven times, so that the box lies over the bicep muscle. There are four major variants to bind the arm: Chassidic, Sefardim, Sefard, and Ashkenazi.
Essentially, though, the differences between each of the major variants are slight but important to each, they all incorporate in excess of fifty acupuncture points situated on the arm.
Possibly even more important are the pressure points stimulated on the hand, which act as a multiplier to those already activated on the head.
It does not take an expert such as Dr. Schram to see that the act of laying tefillin was strategically engineered to create a heightened sense of calm and harmony within the spirit. However, it is strange that this non-Chinese practice, harnessing energy and spiritual health has clearly been established for thousands of years.
For now, it remains the mystery of the tefillin.