Dr Lam's Tai Chi, Health and Lifestyle Newsletter - Issue Number 168, August 2015
In this issue:
Click on the title above to read the articles, and this link to subscribe and read previous newsletters.
Hello <<First Name>>
Today I walked into reception at Tai Chi Productions Sydney and met the daughter of one of my former patients who immediately started to tell me how wonderful I was! That is a pretty good start to any working day, but it turned out she had been very impressed with the medical care I had been able to give her mother. Her own doctor is one of the participants at my school, Better Health Tai Chi Chuan, and had recommended her to try tai chi to alleviate her severe back pain and osteoporosis. I am looking forward to treating the second generation with tai chi, rather than as my patient.
Coincidentally, 1 August was the 30th Anniversary of the founding of my school. We celebrated with a wonderful day of activities, along with 200 past and present instructors and participants, and some very special guests. I was delighted that Master Alice Dong graced us with her beautiful Wushu sword performance. Master Alice is the founder of the Pei Lei Chinese Wushu Association in Sydney and has been awarded 8th Dan by the Wushu Association in China.
I had planned a surprise item with the Soul Drummer group. They gave a wonderful performance, although I hadn’t expected to be invited to join them on the stage and dance to their drumming. I wasn’t too sure about my dancing talent, so I borrowed Alice’s sword and timed my Chen sword to their drumming, which was great fun. Then Alice showed us just sporting she can be by dazzling everyone with a very energetic Wushu sword routine which brought the house down.
Meanwhile my wider tai chi family are doing their best to spread the vision! Hei Takarabe recently sent me his article which was published in the Monterey Herald. Well done, Hei! Meanwhile the dauntless Sheena Buchan from Twizel, New Zealand led her group outside to try tai chi in deep snow and sub-zero temperatures!
My January One Week workshop is now nearly half full! Please book as soon as you can to ensure the class of your choice. Recommend a friend to come for their first time and you will both receive a DVD of your choice! Please contact email@example.com with you and your friend’s name to claim your DVDs immediately after both of you registered.
This Month’s Special: Diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions. Receive a 20% discount when you order the Tai Chi for Diabetes DVD. Offer expires 31 August. Please use coupon code AUGDBS when ordering.
Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam
- Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training by Dr Paul Lam, September 17, United States, NY, Colonie
- Tai Chi for Energy 2 with Dr Paul Lam, September 19, United States, NY, Colonie
- Tai Chi for Rehabilitation Instructor Training by Dr Paul Lam, September 24, United States, GA, Cartersville
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis with Dr Paul Lam, September 26 United States, GA, Cartersville
Other workshops by my authorised Master Trainers are displayed on the Master Trainer Workshop Calendar
- Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training with Dr Paul Lam, October 1, United States, OH, Painesville
- Tai Chi for Energy 2 with Dr Paul Lam, October 3, United States, Ohio
- Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention by Dr. Paul Lam, October 8, United States, AZ, Tucson
- Depth of Tai Chi for Energy with Dr Paul, Lam October 23, United States, CA, Walnut Creek
- Tai Chi for Energy 2 with Dr Paul Lam, October 24 United States, CA, Walnut Creek
Yours in Tai Chi,
Paul Lam, MD
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(Dr Lam receives many letters. Each month we feature one, and he answers any questions raised)
A Letter to Dr Lam
Chris Hughes, Participant, United Kingdom
After my diagnosis of hypermobility I decided the best thing to do was to go back to your arthritis DVD, which we’ve been doing for a few days (husband and I do it together) and I do everything apart from the twisting to the left, which I’m very careful on, and already we both feel the benefit from it. It’s strange but immediately there is a little weight loss and we found this last time too - it definitely helped keep the weight down.
It really is amazing how much better we feel in just days, of going back to it - already the balance is improved, for instance, and energy levels are up. We did google you very thoroughly before we bought the first DVD LOL! And we’ve told so many others about you and your DVD’s, and I know some of those have bought the same ones as us, from that.
With hypermobility I’m VERY flexible – but perhaps more flexible than is ideal LOL! But although there are health issues (and who doesn’t have any by 65 LOL!) I am actually so much better off than many and even the arthritis, although they’ve pushed me to have knee replacements for years, I’m plodding on reasonably happily still, so no intention of knee replacements as yet.
So, thank you SO much for all your encouragement and I wish you many, many years of health and happiness, and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the work you’ve done with Tai Chi that is helping SO many people around the world, and rest assured I will continue to pass on the information about the DVD and recommend it to all I come across.
Dr Lam replies:
Wow Chris, I love your positive attitude and sense of humour! You make light of your serious health challenges and find time to help others too! I would also recommend you to try Tai Chi for Rehabilitation for the days when you are feeling a little more challenged.
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Reflections on Born Strong, jĵMargaret Boehm, Senior Trainer, Florida, USA
I love your book. I started reading it at the June workshop, continued on the
plane home and have finished it here. When I was a child and read a book I
loved, I didn't want it to end. I felt that way about your book when I got to the
last page. Thank you for all the work that went into it!
One thing that caught my eye in reading on the plane was your comment about
the discrepancy between what you knew of China and what Dr. Han Su-yin wrote
about those times. I paid attention because I had read Dr. Han Su-yin's books,
when I could get my hands on them.
When I got back home I started reading a book Betty Sato recommended to me
at the workshop. Betty is a China historian so I always ask her what she's reading.
She suggested Covering China; the Story of an American Reporter from
Revolutionary Days to the Deng Era, by John Roderick, a reporter who was in and
out of China literally from the Yan'an days in the 1940's until very recently, and
when he wasn't physically in China he was among the 'China Watchers' who tried
to figure out what was going on from outside the country. It's not a book you'd
necessarily want to read; I'm writing you about it because of a paragraph on
We reported everything we could lay our hands on and it was frightening. But
it took years to discover the real extent of the horror. No one dared speak while
Mao was alive. They opened up after he died. Jiang Qing was arrested, and
Deng loosened the constraints on free speech. I heard many stories in that time,
including Han Su-yin's descriptions of how students in her home city of Chonqing
bludgeoned their teacher to death. The famous Belgian-Japanese author could
have revealed more during the Cultural Revolution but had to remain silent, she
told me, because her numerous Chinese family was threatened with reprisals
if she did.
In reading your book I realized again how extraordinarily lucky you were to get out,
and even then what a terrible toll it has taken on you. You could have emerged a
frightened and bitter man, emotionally stunted and shut down. Instead you have
opened yourself more and more to all of us, to our benefit. Thank you!
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Tai Chi in the Hospital Setting
Steve Walden, Instructor, Indianapolis
Many of us practice Tai Chi for the enjoyment, exercise and social interaction. Tai Chi can change many people’s lives. I specialize in Gait and Balance in the Physical Therapy Department of Terre Haute Regional Hospital in Terre Haute Indiana. When people come to a hospital they are looking for help and answers to their problems. In the hospital we treat many kinds of health issues such as, Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Vestibular, Early Parkinson and Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalgia, Post CVA, Diabetes, to name just a few. The use of Tai Chi is making a significant change in patient lives. Practicing Tai Chi helps improve mental attitude, strength and balance when preformed regularly.
One example of a patient I have treated, was a fibromyalgia patient who used Tai Chi to help her progress from a walker to walking independently. Another example was a patient with arthritis who was able to return to his normal duties at his church after using Tai Chi workouts. Research shows Tai Chi helps reduce falls and improve balance, strength and cognition. I have had the privilege of seeing this occur many times, as I work with patients in the hospital. Tai Chi has helped so many patients decrease risk of falls, improve balance and strength and return some of their independence. Something we take for granted such as walking to the bathroom safely in the night without calling for help is huge to these people.
So what is the secret? Which style is best? The short simple forms created, by Dr Paul Lam and his consulting staff of doctors, physical therapist and Tai Chi instructors stand out for these kinds of patients. If you ask a patient to preform therapy exercises at home completing so many repetitions a day, patient compliance is poor. Many will not complete these as they find them boring. If you ask a patient to put on some soft music and move slowly, almost like a dance their eyes light up and you hear, “I can do that.” The short forms can be memorized quickly, or you can pick a few movements from the Tai Chi form that fit the patient’s needs. The success rate for completing home exercise plans almost doubles, which helps the patient even more. I often have patients join Tai Chi clubs after completing their Therapy. Tai Chi does not fix all patient problems, but is a great tool I use in the hospital setting.
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Daniela Ostezan, Instructor, Michigan
Inhale….exhale. How glorious is to start a journey! Before we know it, we realize that we begin with a tai chi form and subconsciously embark into a self-discovery trip. Sometimes tai chi opens a door unknown to us and an overwhelming feeling invades the entire space. Inhale…. exhale. Take a moment to visualize a beautiful place that will make you feel good.
The science has taught us that the function of the respiratory system is based on our ability to breathe. It is said that the breath is a factor that brings stillness and tranquility. Using the continuous energy fuelled by every new inhale makes it possible to transform fears, worries and stress into a new form of energy. The result is represented by a state of calm and relaxation. Tai chi form induces a deeper breathing. How much we allow ourselves to breath depends on us. Once we start the experience we learn more about our own being, physical strength, emotional endurance and mental focus. Reliant within the form, the rhythm of the movement is specific and dictated by the area in which we find ourselves and we start exploring. Opening the mind, through the tai chi practice to a new breath we encounter an expression of energy. If we take this available energy and we convert it back into the form it is possible to utilize it to feel connected and aware of changes that take place within and around us. The more we learn about it the more we build on our desire for growth.
We need deep breathing to stay alive. Inhale…. exhale.
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Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health
Dr Bob McBrien, Salisbury, Maryland, USA
Developing our ability to find a good laugh each day contributes to an optimistic outlook on life. Mark Twain instructs us on this point. He said, “Humour is a great thing…The minute it crops up, all our hardness yield, all our irritations and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”
I find that the ability to poke fun at life is a key trait of the folks taking my tai chi for health class at a retirement center. Sometimes finding the laugh of the day is easy when a newspaper headline is funnier than the cartoon page. Here are a few examples of witty headlines that got past the editors.
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- Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
- Barbershop quartet brings joy to school for deaf
- Marijuana issue sent to a joint committee
- Memphis attorney accidently sues himself
- Woman missing since she got lost
- Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
- New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
- Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
- Rally against apathy draws small crowd
- Most earthquake damage caused by shaking
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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.