Dr Paul Lam interviews Kristie about her journey from Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of six to teaching tai chi to help others.
Hello <<First Name>>
When I read Bill Douglas’s (Founder of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day) Facebook page recently it brought a very deep sadness to my heart. He is concerned that racial discrimination is on the rise in the United States, and his own family have been intimidated. If you have read Born Strong, my memoir, you will know that my parents left me in a Chinese village with my grandmother. When I was two the Communists designated our family as landlords and therefore“enemies of the people". We were all discriminated against and had no rights. People would come to beat my frail old grandmother many times. Eventually she died, partly from her injuries, and partly from a broken spirit. It was a horrific experience for us all.
As I have traveled around the world during the last twenty years I can see a very clear trend around the world that discrimination is reducing. People are treated more equally, race, colour, education and language is less of a trigger. I was so sad to read Bill’s account of his family’s fears. It brought back to me the fear, humiliation and sadness of discrimination.
Equality between everyone opens communication, breaks down barriers, creates harmony and allows greater achievements for individuals and mankind. Tai chi is about empowering us to improve our mental and physical health and to develop self-respect and value, to value others and harmonise with each other and our communities.
I urge all my tai chi family to look at these issues carefully, no matter which side of the fence you are on – discriminated against or discriminating against others. Take a good look at yourself and do what you can to bring back harmony and equality for everyone.
Thank you, Bill, for sharing your feeling with the tai chi world and our friends.
I would like to also recommend Robert Reich’s daily reports on Facebook and YouTube. I like his frankness and dedication to bringing his view to many people and allowing more of us to see a more complete picture in the USA.
I was struck by the recent news that the golfer Tiger Woods had to pull out of tournaments because of recurring back pain. This happens to many sports stars. I am sure they all receive top medical treatment, I wonder if any of them have tried the art of tai chi. The worlds largest study on people with chronic back pain (using my Tai Chi for Back Pain - same as Tai Chi for Arthritis program) has shown that people gain pain relief and more function through tai chi. I don't do private lesson, but would probably make an exception for Tiger Woods.
I would like to recommend anyone who has back pain to try my free lesson on Tai Chi for Rehabilitation and it will teach you the core exercise of the Tai Chi for Back Pain program and explains in medical and tai chi terms how it works. It is simple to learn and you or your friend can do it just about anywhere.
If you have heard Richard Links talk, you would know that Tai Chi for Rehabilitation helped him to transition from being totally disabled in a hospital bed to successfully completing the Master Trainer workshop in Sydney three months later. The Dantien Breathing Exercise is essentially the core of the Tai Chi for Back Pain program and is also featured in Tai Chi for Rehabilitation. More importantly it can help you improve your tai chi no matter what style or form.
You may notice that my Workshop Calendar is looking quite full! All of my workshops for this year (Even January 2018!) are now online and open for bookings. The Master Class is by invitation only, please contact my staff at email@example.com. An invitation with the booking link will be sent to you on acceptance.
I really enjoyed talking to Kristie Vasili about her tai chi journey, from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age of 6, to teaching tai chi at the age of 30. It is an inspiring story, she also offers useful advice for beginners. Enjoy the interview!
Yours in Tai Chi,
Paul Lam, MD
Please don't reply to this Newsletter, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
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Buy any Advanced Series DVD from the Tai Chi Productions website and receive a 20% discount! Please use code APR20DIS when ordering. Offer expires 30 April. Not to be used with any other discount.
This Month’s Special
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Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam
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(Dr Lam receives many letters. Each month we feature one, and he answers any questions raised)
From: Paula, UK
A Letter to Dr Lam
I am currently lying in hospital with the tubes etc, but that’s not my reason for the email, my email is to tell you that I practised my tai chi that I learnt at the weekend whilst I waited for my surgeon to send for me, and I felt calm and ready for what lay ahead, even practicing whilst down at theatre just before being taken in to be put to sleep. The anaesthetic nurse was so shocked and even asked me to show her a few moves, she was so taken with it.
Today although not quite able to do the full routine I am still slowly and carefully doing some moves and I know it helps, so basically it's just to say thank you to Nuala, Dr Lam and all of you that work tirelessly in helping people gain better health through your teaching of tai chi, it must be very rewarding for you all.
I'm quite a private person regarding my breast cancer journey so this doesn't come easy to write however I just had to share it with you and tell you how it helped me. Thank you and here's to many more tai chi years.
Dr Lam replies:
Thank you Paula for sharing with us. I am very happy that tai chi is playing a part in your recovery and I wish you well.
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Ellen Schneider, Instructor, North Carolina
TCAFP Training for Tribal Organisations
In partnership with the U.S. Administration for Community Living, the National Council on Aging’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center (NFPRC) sponsored Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention training on November 30th and December 1st 2016 for Tribal Organizations in the Four Corners States at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM. Eighteen representatives from tribes in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah received scholarships from the NFPRC to attend the two-day instructor training conducted by Ileina Ferrier, Tai Chi for Health Master Trainer. The training was held as part of the NFPRC’s effort to promote older adult evidence-based falls prevention programs, especially among hard-to-reach and under-served populations.
American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) elders report the greatest percentage of falls (34.2%) of all races/ethnicities in the United States. AI/AN elders are more likely to report a fall-related injury (16.8%) than whites (10.9%), Hispanics (10.7%), and blacks (7.8%). AI/ANs also experience a number of health disparities such as diabetes and heart disease that can potentially increase the risk and rate of falls and fall-related injuries.
Over 40 tribal representatives applied for the NFPRC tai chi instructor training scholarships, illustrating the demand for additional falls prevention activities in their communities. As part of the scholarship process, applicants were required to outline the work their organization was currently conducting to prevent falls and fall-related injuries in their tribe or community and what their plans would be for implementing and sustaining the Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention program.
Ellen Schneider represented the National Council on Aging’s NFPRC at the Tribal Tai Chi for Arthritis for Falls Prevention training and joined the tribal representatives in becoming a trained instructor.
“It was an honor and privilege to take part in the training, and I can’t say enough about how wonderful Ileina Ferrier was as our trainer. I am excited that Tai Chi for Arthritis for Falls Prevention now will be available in so many more tribal communities to help elders improve their balance, increase their strength, and reduce their risk of falling.”
To learn more about the National Council on Aging’s National Falls Prevention Resource Center and access free falls prevention tools and resources, click here.
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Congratulations to Tracey Simic (Australia) and Tammy Wells (USA)!
Product Review Prize Winners
You have both won 3 DVDs of your choice valued up to AU$120. Please contact us within one week to claim your prize.
Be sure to post your review when you make a purchase to win a mystery prize.
Product: Tai Chi for Arthritis
Reviewed by: Tracey Simic
"The TCA DVD is really just like having Dr Lam in your lounge to explain and demonstrate every part of the form. The extra info on breathing, safety and other useful information makes it a valuable resource. Many of my students have copies so they can practice at home and I keep some spares for anyone wanting a copy. Highly recommended."
Product: Tai Chi for Arthritis
Reviewed by: Tammy Wells
"I am so loving Dr. Paul Lam's tai chi training dvd! I began with the free lesson on youtube and then I requested the 6 forms dvd from my local library. After spending much time learning the 6 simple forms I absolutely had to expand my knowledge of tai chi and it's benefits, plus I wanted to learn more from Dr. Lam. When I began tai chi, I was 6 months in to recovering from a severe karate injury to my left knee. I was barely able to walk without limping and I felt my prognosis was hopeless. After practicing tai chi everyday for 2 months, my knee pain and swelling has almost gone completely away! I can see myself fully recovering and moving freely without pain. I know that Dr Lam's teachings have played a huge role in my recovery. I love the way Dr Lam explains every move with great detail and goes over each form slowly with repetition. I hope to attend the conference in Asheville this summer as I would love to meet Dr Lam and thank him in person for how much his teaching has changed my life and given me much hope!"
*Please contact email@example.com (Aus/Global) or firstname.lastname@example.org (USA/Canada) to arrange delivery of your prize DVDs.
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Dr Andrew Kiyu, Sarawak, Malaysia
From Dr Andrew Kiyu for Drs Chin Chyou Lam and Flora Ong
I am a 65-year-old medical doctor, who is wary of any activity that involves synchronisation of upper and lower limbs and body movements because I have absolutely no talent in them. Such activities include dancing, aerobics, zumba etc.; when the instructor’s body parts go one way mine will go some other way. So, you can imagine my trepidation when my wife—who can do several dances quite well—suggested that we go to Tai Chi class. She dragged me to the first lesson for Tai Chi for Arthritis in July 2015. The classes were conducted by Dr Lam Chin Chyou, assisted by Dr Flora Ong and Ms. Tan Chai Hoon.
I attended Tai Chi classes twice a week. The format was a demonstration by Dr Lam as a first step and followed by step-wise movements for us to follow. There were lots of repetitions and practices for us to get the hands and feet movements correct first, and towards the end of the course we were introduced to the inner aspects of Tai Chi. After all, Tai Chi is needs life-long, frequent and regular practice.
Lo and behold, I found that with proper guidance by Dr Lam and Dr Flora, even I—with the clumsy limbs—could learn Tai Chi and I actually enjoyed and looked forward to the Tai Chi classes. Of course, there were times when the moves seemed too complicated for me (as well as some others who were in their 70s and 80s), but Dr Lam and Dr Flora always stayed calm and cool, and patiently encouraged and guided us through to the next moves.
Dr Lam has been practicing Tai Chi for over 20 years and we can see the evidence of this in the fluidity of his moves. He is soft spoken, and that helps when adults are learning something new; and he respects all of us who are his students. We can feel that he sincerely wants to impart his knowledge of Tai Chi to us. In spite of conducting Tai Chi classes almost every day of the week and also repeating the classes for each new batch, Dr Lam and Dr Flora always appeared fresh and enthusiastic with the lessons.
It is a testament to Dr Lam’s and Dr Flora’s teaching abilities and enthusiasm that I not only completed the Tai Chi for Arthritis and Falls Prevention course, but also the Sun 73 and now I am taking up the Yang 24 course. The satisfaction of people who have completed various batches of Tai Chi training under Dr Lam have resulted in them recruiting their friends—through word of mouth and personal example of their achievements— to join Dr Lam’s classes. Consequently, the size of subsequent classes has increased.
I have no doubt that Dr Lam and Dr Flora can continue to teach and inspire many more people to take up Tai Chi to improve their physical and mental quality of life.
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Thanks to DUO Magazine for sharing this article and photographs, and to Susan Hall for facilitating the process. You can also read it online here (pg. 76)
Tai Chi A Lifesaver
As featured in the Feb 2017 issue:
The Townsville Hospital Foundation receives many requests for help from the Hospital’s various wards. After all, the staff on the ground know what’s needed in their areas better than anyone. So when Ramana Butters, Nurse Unit Manager of the Oncology Ward, was receiving feedback from patients that they needed a gentle exercise program she turned to the Foundation for funding. “Thanks to the Townsville Hospital Foundation, and our community who donates to them, we were able to fund a trial 12-week tai chi program, which we hope will become a regular addition,” Ramana says. “Gentle exercise greatly improves mental health and the ability for patients to participate in such a program has been a wonderful addition to our ward.”
Oncology patient Fergus Briskey and his daughter-in-law Tina are among the tai chi program’s devotees. “It can get really mundane on the ward. Fergus has been here for over four months and having something that breaks the cycle of going for scans and blood tests and chemotherapy is so important for him,” Tina says. “My husband and I were also
able to join Dad in the tai chi class and it was a good bonding experience for all of us. It was lovely to just be concentrating on hand movements and breathing while mentally leaving the oncology ward behind. It’s a positive experience for both the patients and the carers.”
Tai chi instructor Susan Hall is particularly passionate about delivering the program as she has had her own battle with breast cancer and found tai chi helped turn her health around. “I discovered tai chi when I was a patient through a program offered by the Cancer Council Queensland,” Susan says. “The treatment really knocked me about. I was fatigued, my muscles and joints ached, fluid was building up in my body and I was too scared to go for a walk because if you’re going for a walk you’re going somewhere and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get back. “That’s why tai chi is so great. You can do it anywhere – even from a hospital bed.” Susan says doing tai chi improved her flexibility, mobility and state of mind and she’s delighted to be helping others discover its benefits. “The patients are
here for treatment and can’t leave. They can’t go and find a distraction. So by bringing the program to them it’s giving them something other than being stuck in bed,” Susan says. “Having that social interaction and connection with others who are going through a similar journey is also important.”
Susan’s last scan at the end of November showed she is now cancer-free and she credits tai chi with helping her regain her full mobility. “Instead of just being bed-ridden and then it being a really hard slog to get back to health I was able to keep some muscle strength,” she says. “Even though the tai chi is really slow and flowing it does give the muscles a good work-out.” If you or your business would like to help the Townsville Hospital Foundation continue much-needed initiatives like the tai chi program, call 4433 1337 or email email@example.com to discuss.
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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.