Dr Lam Tai Chi for Health Newsletter
- Issue Number 1787, June 2016
Hello <<First Name>>
In this issue:
As I looked over all the beautiful photos and videos you have sent from WTCQD I started thinking back to the earlier years of Tai Chi for Health. It was an exciting and sometimes challenging time, forging links with other countries, health organisations and tai chi enthusiasts.
Whilst by no means complacent about our mission now, I can say with some satisfaction and great pride that we have established many wonderful tai chi communities around the world. We are tree farmers after all – and you have to work hard to dig a big enough hole to plant a tree, but once it is in place you can stand back and watch it grow!
“Your Time” Magazine recently published a very good article by Sophia Auld, a physiotherapist and journalist in Queensland, Australia. It was all about fighting arthritis and did feature my personal journey and my Tai Chi for Arthritis program. Sophia has kindly given us the above link so you can enjoy the article and share it with your friends.
I really resonate with the Lifestyle Medicine organisation ever since I attended its annual conference few years back. It shares the same goal as us; to improve people's health through healthier life style, I have made many friends and learned much. Stephen Penman, Executive Director, Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine, has sent me an article about this organisation, with a special offer for my readers. As well as a discount on membership they are also offering a discount on their November conference in Melbourne. I would be looking forward to seeing you there!
Recently I have been hearing from a lot of families who do tai chi together – sisters, parents and children etc. If you have a good story or tai chi family photo please let me know and we can have a special “Family” newsletter in August.
This Month’s Special
Everyone loves Tai Chi for Energy. Now you can learn more AND receive a 20% discount when you purchase the Tai Chi for Energy 2 DVD. Please use coupon code JUNETCE20 when ordering. Offer expires 30 June. Not to be used with any other discount.
Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam
- Annual Pre Conference Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Energy by Dr Paul Lam, June 4, United States, OH, Cincinnati
- USA One Week Workshop by Dr Paul Lam, June 6, United States, Ohio, Cincinnati
- Dr Paul Lam's Master Class for Yang 24 and Sun 73 Forms, June 13, United States, Ohio, Cincinnati
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis by Dr Paul Lam, July 7, Australia, Sydney
- Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Training by Dr Paul Lam, July 9, Australia, Sydney
- Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training Workshop by Dr Paul Lam, July 9, Australia, Sydney
- Tai Chi for Osteoporosis Instructor Training Workshop by Dr Paul Lam, July 9, Australia, Sydney
- Tai Chi for Arthritis Part 2 Workshop by Dr Paul Lam, July 9, Australia, Sydney
- Tai Chi for Rehabilitation Instructor Training by Dr Paul Lam with Optional Depth of 24 Forms, July 15, New Zealand, Taupo
- Tai Chi for Rehabilitation Instructor Training by Dr Paul Lam, September 1, United Kingdom, Manchester
- Tai Chi for Energy 2 Workshop by Dr Paul Lam, September 3, United Kingdom, Manchester
- Depth of Chen 36 with Dr Paul Lam, September 5, United Kingdom, Manchester
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Energy, September 16, United States, NY, Colonie
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Diabetes by Dr. Paul Lam, September 17, United States, NJ, Liberty Corner
- Dr Paul Lam's Master Class for Sun 73 and Chen 36 Forms, September 21, Lenox, MA, United States
- Tai Chi for Rehabilitation by Dr Paul Lam, October 1, United States, FL, Vero Beach
- Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training by Dr Paul Lam, October 3, United States, Florida, Vero Beach
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Rehabilitation by Dr Paul Lam, October 7, United States, MO, Kansas City
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention by Dr. Paul Lam, October 8, United States, MO, Kansas City
- Exploring the Depth of Yang 24 Forms, California, October 14, United States, CA, Fresno
- Exploring the Depth Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention by Dr.Paul Lam, October 15, United States, CA, Fresno
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Rehabilitation by Dr.Paul Lam, October 21, United States, WA, Bainbridge Island
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis by Dr Paul Lam, October 22, United States, WA, Bainbridge Island
Other workshops by my authorised Master Trainers are displayed on the Master Trainer Workshop Calendar
Yours in Tai Chi,
Paul Lam, retired family physician and director of
Tai Chi for Health Institute.
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(Dr Lam receives many letters. Each month we feature one, and he answers any questions raised. This month’s letter was originally written to Liz Mitchell, who asked Inge to share it with Dr Lam)
A Letter to Dr Lam
Liz Mitchell, Instructor and Inge Lincoln, Participant
Dear Liz and Dr Lam
I had a wonderful experience using Tai Chi for Arthritis in relieving a cramped hand and leg. I am being treated for Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow and plasma. Treatment can be harsh and has many side effects. I experienced a severe cramp in my left hand, watching it curl into a painful claw. I remembered watching one of Dr Lam’s videos on YouTube in which he said that hands talk to each other. So I began the Tai Chi for Arthritis form, facing the crumpled hand and the good right hand toward each other. “Ok hands! Talk to each other.” Immediately my cramped hand gently opened and relaxed. The pain disappeared! I had another cramp a day or two later, started my Tai Chi practice again, and the hand relaxed and the pain stopped almost immediately.
Then I had a cramp in my left leg from inner thigh to calf to my foot. My big toe was pointing straight up at a right angle, and my entire leg was so painfully stiff. I could just barely manage to stand up and start my Tai Chi for Arthritis practice. But the first few motions were enough to relax the muscles and make the pain stop.
I hadn’t thought that Tai Chi would really help, but both you and Dr Lam were in my thoughts. So I “gave it a try”—and now I am a believer! I feel the benefits from your class at the Senior Center and now from practicing more often at home. So my thanks to Dr. Lam and to you for a wonderful lesson learned.
Dr Lam replies:
Thanks Liz for sharing this with us. So lovely to see Inge’s smiling face. Both of you are doing a great job!
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What is Lifestyle Medicine?
Stephen Penman, Executive Director, Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine
Lifestyle Medicine bridges the gap between health promotion and conventional medicine. As a discipline, Lifestyle Medicine sits at the intersection of medicine, healthcare and health policy with behavioural, social, environmental, socioeconomic, political and other factors impacting on health and wellbeing.
It has been defined as, “The application of environmental, behavioural, medical and motivational principles to the management (including self care and self-management) of lifestyle-related health problems in a clinical and/or public health setting” (Egger, Binns and Rossner, 2013).
In practical terms, Lifestyle Medicine involves a range of health professionals working as a team to prevent, manage and treat conditions resulting from physical inactivity, poor diet or nutrition, smoking, alcohol overconsumption, chronic stress, anxiety, poor or inadequate sleep, social isolation, and loss of meaning and purpose, amongst other factors.
Why is it needed?
There are numerous determinants of health and well-being, ranging from genetic inheritance, to early childhood development, through to behavioural. Others are socioeconomic, occupational or environmental, and of these, some may be modifiable, such as poor health literacy, unhealthy work practices, social isolation, or exposure to toxins in our environment.
Then there are a number of largely ‘self-inflicted’ behavioural determinants, such as poor diet and nutrition, physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol overconsumption, which along with other factors like sleep debt and chronic stress, can lead to overweight and obesity, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, lung diseases, kidney disease, asthma, arthritis, osteoporosis, dementia, anxiety and depression and some cancers.
Although the combined effect of the four most preventable lifestyle factors (poor diet and nutrition, physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol overconsumption) is well known to account for at least 70% of the total healthcare burden, attempts by government to address the problem have been dwarfed by the scale and velocity of the growth in chronic and lifestyle-related conditions in recent years.
Lifestyle Medicine is particularly interested in the determinants, factors, policies and practices, including clinical, that can be modified. And from reading the above, it should be clear that there is great potential for modification, even in areas that may seem ‘out of our control’.
How can you get involved?
Like other not-for-profit societies and peak bodies, if you want to see change in our health system that results in improved prevention and improved patient outcomes, ASLM needs your support, by taking out membership, attending workshops, enrolling in the fellowship, or attending the major Lifestyle Medicine conference in Melbourne in November.
The conference, for example, will be a high profile international scientific conference (oral abstracts and poster presentations) but also a forum to discuss health policy and a clinically focused event at which health practitioners can earn CPD points. The conference will help to ‘announce’ Lifestyle Medicine and to bring attention to systemic issues while at the same time proposing solutions and providing examples of how Lifestyle Medicine can influence clinical practice.
Organisations, companies and groups can also support ASLM’s work by joining as ‘Organisation members’. TCHI has done just that and will help ASLM achieve its goals through collaboration and cross promotion. ASLM is a fully multidisciplinary society and fully in support of evidence-based mind-body practices like Tai Chi that contribute to health and wellbeing and enhance self-efficacy to take charge of and improve our own health.
Please consider getting involved by joining ASLM at http://lifestylemedicine.org.au/membership/ and do check out the conference at http://lifestylemedicine.org.au/conference/
Dr Lam Tai Chi for Health Institute's readers can use the Conference Promo Code ‘TCHI’ to get a discount of between $55 and $165 on the conference, depending on which days they register for.
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Questions and Answers between Kathleen A. Cameron,
Senior Director, National Falls Prevention Resource Centre and Dr Lam
I am writing to you with some specific questions about Tai Chi for Arthritis. These questions have come up with the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL)-funded falls prevention grantees as they’ve been implementing and offering the program to older adults in their communities. You can read about the ACL grants program and the grantees here. Florida and Iowa are examples of states that have implemented Tai Chi for Arthritis.
As background, ACL requires that grantees offer programs that provide 50 hours o Tai Chi for Arthritis. To meet this requirement, many grantees are offering two 12 week sessions with classes twice per week. Current ACL grantees have found that achieving the 50 hour requirement for attendee participation solely through group-based classes is problematic. Older adults typically are not willing to commit to enrolling in classes for a duration of more than 12 weeks, and most Tai Chi classes only meet twice a week. Thus, over the 12 week period, participants would only reach 24 hours of documented Tai Chi exercise. To achieve the 50 hour requirement, participants must re-enrol for another 12 week class after completing the initial 12 week class. This creates logistical and participant data collection difficulties for the instructors and the grantees.
Given this background, our questions are as follows:
What is the minimum dose necessary for an older adult to achieve a falls risk reduction benefit from Tai Chi for Arthritis?
What approaches would you suggest that ACL grantees implement for older adults who wish to do Tai Chi for Arthritis exercises in addition to attending classes? Should they attend a minimum number of hours of Tai Chi in a structured class before beginning home-based exercise? If so, what is the minimum number of hours? Is a DVD required? Do you have recommendations on how hours of home-based exercise be tracked?
Dr Lam replies:
I did read about the studies of 50 hours and I hear your dilemma, which is common for many of us. So to answer your questions, let me start with fall prevention to reduce the risk of falling, the largest study in the world (Sydney Tai Chi Study at the CDC website) with over 604 subjects which did one hour tai chi per week for 16 weeks (85% of people did TCA). The study showed that the reduction in risk for falling is around 67%. Subsequent follow ups showed that the benefits persisted.
Another study by Dr Leigh Callahan is at this link with 343 individuals. For that study they had two one hour lessons a week for eight weeks. Again that is 16 hours of lessons and it still showed a very positive result for pain relief, improve physical function, balance and quality of life.
Eventually what matters is our goals and what criteria is the granting body basing on. While Tai Chi for Arthritis has been shown to bring significant reductions in risk of falling in 16 lessons, 50 hours is even better, so we have to weigh this against how the funding body looks at it.
If it is acceptable to the granting body, one good way is to encourage home exercise. That can be done right after the very first lesson, and would be even better to use a log book, and with my instructional DVD if participants forget the sequence. My DVD is designed like being in my class in real time (eg lots of repetition, follow me just like class). They can follow me in real time. We found in our studies that giving a participant a log book with date, time and length of practice, encourages participants to record how many home practices they do - even 10 minutes here and there, it would tally up to four hours per week.
Often if the instructor encourage participants to practice and to check the log book frequently it would bring the actual hours of tai chi to 50 hours within the 12 week period. If people practice regularly it actually makes them enjoy the tai chi more and they are more likely to come back and continue. That is how I designed my TCA DVDs. Sometimes participants say they can't remember the forms, well my DVD was like a real time lesson so if they have a lesson with their class then using the DVD to have more lesson and practice at home.
If the granting body agree, then you get 50 hours tai chi with 12 weeks grant.
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World Tai Chi and Qigong Day Reports
Gail Turner, Instructor, Broken Hill, Australia
We celebrated World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Broken Hill, in outback NSW with about 30 people. We were so involved in what we were doing that we totally forgot to have a photographer take a few photos of us actually all doing Tai Chi. So I grabbed most people together for a seated picture after and then a few of us went out to our famous sculptures in the ‘Living Desert’ and posed for a few photos. Hope you like them.
The lady in black is also a TCA instructor, she helps with my classes when I’m away. Her name is Betty and she has just had a hip replacement, she came and did seated Tai Chi and what she could standing, she is amazing. I am also very proud to have two of my participants attending classes who drive in from Menindee each week, which is over 100 kms from Broken Hill, hopefully they will be able to take Tai Chi back to their community one day.
Susan Thompson, Instructor, Flower Mound, Texas
I had some of my Tai Chi students meet at a nearby botanical garden this morning to share some Tai Chi.
As we were practicing our form, people were watching on the periphery. In particular, this little girl who was standing off to the side started trying to move with us. I asked the mother if they'd like to join us. I put the little girl in the middle of all of us and we began our set again. Look at her form! :-)
It was so special to all of us that a child of 4 would find our Tai Chi mesmerizing and engaging. I could tell she was a special soul. It made our Tai Chi day a memorable one. Just wanted to share.
Bill Pickett, Master Trainer, Knoville, Tennessee
We had a very good turnout and I would like to share my slideshow with you.
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Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health
Dr Bob McBrien, Master Trainer, Salisbury, MD, USA
My goal of presenting uplifting humour each month involves an ongoing search for stories that meet the uplifting/positive standards I set and bring on a laugh. We have an innate capacity to experience humour and our ability to laugh is a topic of study by behavioural scientist around the world. My message to readers is to be aware of the opportunities to 'find the punch line" each day provides. Following are from annual contests for Lexophiles (folks who love words).
Readers can find more examples of sentences with a twist via Google.
* No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationery.
*When chemists die, they barium
* A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
*A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
*A boiled egg is hard to beat.
*Police were summoned to a day care center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
*The guy who fell into an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.
*He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
*When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she'd dye.
*Acupuncture is a jab well done.
If you find positive humour you would like to share send to me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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END OF NEWSLETTER
Warning: Dr Lam does not necessarily endorse the opinion of other authors. Before practicing any program featured in this newsletter, please check with your physician or therapist. The authors and anyone involved in the production of this newsletter will not be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any injury which may arise as a result of following the instructions given in this newsletter.