Talking to the animals and other stories

Dr Lam Tai Chi for Health Newsletter 
- Issue Number 195, November 2017


In this issue:

Hello <<First Name>>,

I have been on the road since mid-August conducting workshops. I am looking forward to the final two, but I am feeling a little homesick.

People ask me why I travel so much. It is so exciting to share the Tai Chi for Health vision and to help my friends develop their tai chi. I love to meet, interact with and be inspired by my participants, colleagues and friends. I prepare for each workshop with passion whilst finding time to write newsletters, work on the Online Tai Chi Lessons and bring the Global Community to everyone. Phew! yes I am also looking forward to my break soon.

Thanks for your great support and feedback for my Onine Tai Chi Lessons,  I understand the Global Community will be useful to everyone, especially instructors who have already learned the program. My team are working to make it accessible to anyone without subscribing a program. I will let you know soon if it works out.

The next Bulletin will have 
exciting new material for the Community including interviews with Professors Rhayun Song and Colin Hughes, Joan Hanson and Anna Kiriakoulakis. Also my recipe for health, advice for instructors, beautiful scenery in Bend, demonstration and more.

Ernie Hall, my friend and President of TCHC sent me this amazing photo. Ernie was practicing with my DVD when her cats joined in.  As you can see I was saying “Turn to the left”!
After a short break it will be time for the 20th annual January workshop. I am excited that my friends from many different countries are coming to visit me and make this one of the most memorable workshops of the last 20 years. I am very appreciative of my friends who will be travelling thousands of miles to come to my 70th birthday dinner.

A reminder that the annual weeklong and preconference workshops in Oregon, USA June next year are now open for registration, enrol soon to ensure your first choice.
Finally, for our December edition we have a special present - a beautiful and humorous piece of writing by

Marlena Fiol, to which many of us will be able to relate, as Marlene describes a hectic day looking after her grandchildren. For those of you who can’t wait until next month, you can find out more about Marlena at her blog where you can read many of her essays.

Yours in Tai Chi,

Paul Lam, MD

Please don't reply to this Newsletter, contact us via

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This Month’s Special

Receive a 35% discount when you order any Tai Chi for Health DVD. Give your friends a priceless gift - the gift of health and wellness. Please use coupon code NOV35DVD when ordering. Offer expires 30 November. Not to be used with any other discount.

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Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam


November 2017

January 2018

June 2017

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A Letter to Dr Lam

Max Golding, Instructor, London, UK

Dear Dr Lam,
I just wanted to write to say a big thank you for the course that I attended recently.  It was great to meet you, your master trainers and felllow tai chi-ers who all share the same enjoyment.
When I booked to attend this course, I wanted to read your biography to understand your life’s journey - and boy what an interesting read it was!!!  It was amazing to read about your difficult childhood and how you have overcome many obstacles and achieved so much  - maybe your drive and determination in the face of such adversity is why you have been so successful in touching the lives of others,,,,and why you can’t just sit still!!!!
I thought that it would be appropriate, now that we have met, to share with you how I came to tai chi and why it is important to me and you will understand the true sincerity of my thanks to you.  
About 3 years ago, I left my employment as a senior physiotherapist as there were many pressures which was having a detrimental effect on me both physically & mentally.  A few days later I developed very painful feet and ended up seeing a rheumatologist as I was finding it extremely painful to walk. Thankfully, after many tests there was nothing to be too concerned about, and I was diagnosed with reactive arthritis post viral infection which was exacerbated by my stressful job.  The consultant suggested to me some mindfulness training, which I was aware of as I knew some techniques- the problem was, I just knew that I can't be still for very long as my mind is is very busy - it needs a calming focus - almost like a distraction therapy - does this sound familiar  ????!!!!!   I then learnt about the Tai Chi for Health programme that Veronica Ashcroft was running in London which was being held at the Pilates Institute where I have done most of my training (APPI). I then researched more about the programme and enrolled on the course with other Physiotherapists.  Having learnt from the DVD and attended the course, I have personally experienced the benefits of the programme.  I am much calmer now, no feet pain and cope better with all of the modern stresses in a much more positive manner. I suppose you could say,  I have found peace within myself, which has made me a better physiotherapist, mum….and you’re right, probably a better wife too!!!!!!!
I am extremely grateful to you for dedicating so much of your time and energy to developing your Health Programmes, alongside practicing as a GP and looking after your family.  The world is truly a better place for you sharing your experience and knowledge.
Thanks again for signing my book - I will treasure it, alongside with my photo with you!!!
It was a real pleasure to meet you - I hope that we meet again in the not too distant future,

Dr Lam replies...

It was great to meet you Max, I truly love to make a difference to your life! Thank you for sharing your story with me.  See you next workshop!
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Team Europe

Anne Crichton, Senior Trainer, Manchester, UK

In 2015 Dr Lam's first joint MT/ST training in Europe was held in Solothurn, Switzerland, hometown of  MT Ellen Reitsma. We left with warm memories of shared experiences in a beautiful venue. 
After this successful start, two years later, Dr Lam returned for the second European MT/ST training workshop near London, this time organised by UK Master Trainers Veronica Ashcroft and Nuala Perrin. Thie time the venue was near historic Hampton Court and the picturesque river Thames. 
As always the STs learned a great deal from Dr Lam. Having read the new training manual we also learned a lot from observing at first hand the skills and knowledge of Master Trainers from UK and Europe. After two days full of positive energy, working together, sharing experiences and getting to know each other, we felt privileged to be part of  'Team Europe'. 
In recent years a dynamic TCHI community has developed in this part of the world, thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of our European and UK Master Trainers.They not only promote working together, but encourage us to share experiences and develop friendships. Leading by example.....Nuala and Veronica often collaborate with MT Roberto Crea from Italy, organising skills development weekends for instructors and our keen students. 
To share a passion for tai chi with others from a different culture and a different language is exciting, sometimes daunting, but always fun. with with We have 'played tai chi' together in places as far apart as Northern Ireland, London, Bologna and, most recently, Oxford, where we were joined by Kent Skoglund from Sweden, and a surprise visitor from Australia - Janet Cromb. 
And further adventures are in the diary. In February 2018 we plan to travel to Stockholm where Swedish MT's Amanda Gyllensten and Kent Skoglund have invited us to their workshops. Roberto Crea plans another tai chi weekend in Italy next May when participants from UK and Italy will spend time together improving our skills.
We look forward to Dr Lam's visit to Europe next year, and more Team Europe 'get-togethers'. Tai chi, chocolate and friendship - what could be better?

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Father and Daughter Jack and Hazel on holiday to Wales, circa 1962

Dancing Among The Delphiniums - An Update

By Hazel Thompson, Master Trainer, Sydney, Australia

Thank you for the overwhelming response to my article in the October newsletter. I have passed on your supportive messages to my father, who sends his gratitude. He didnt expect to become a media celebrity at the age of 87!  Here is a brief update with a photo of me and Dad:

After I left Wales, I arranged to send my father a copy of Tai Chi for Rehabilitation. Once received he conscientiously worked through the lessons, practicing daily.  A week later he told me he had watched every second and, whilst mindful of Paul’s advice not to rush things, he was “ready for something more difficult”. 
I lost no time in sending him Tai Chi for Arthritis and TCA Part 2, plus the accompanying wall charts.  With every phone call he told me he was doing better and better, as his energy increased and his aches and pains diminished. He asked if it was normal to become “obsessed” with tai chi, as each day he could hardly wait to finish his chores and get down to the next lesson.  Even when watching the news he finds himself doing open and close!
His friends have noticed a huge change in him, although when he explained it was due to the ancient art of tai chi he was told to “Oh, give over Jack”  (A northern expression meaning don’t be ridiculous.)  A couple of his female, widowed neighbours have even suggested he might like to give them private lessons!
At the six week mark he can now stand on one leg, get down to his weeding, and feels much more confident when he is out and about. (Last year he had a nasty fall in the town centre, and was hospitalised overnight.)  He is Paul’s biggest fan and hopes that one day he will be able to move as slowly and gracefully, but meanwhile he is sure that he can perform TCR as well as the people on the DVD (except Paul) and jokes that he will soon be making his own videos!
Whilst so many people have told me that tai chi has transformed their lives, I have been privileged to be personally involved in dad’s metamorphosis, and I remain grateful to Rosalie Lackie for showing me the way to break down the barrier! The final word goes to Rosalie:
 “Good on your Dad!! I need to take lessons from him. I reckon he will be a terrific Master-trainer for the UK in the years to come!

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Product Review Prize Winners

Every month we choose the best reviews posted on the Tai Chi Productions website. Be sure to post your review whenever you make a purchase as you may be chosen to win a mystery prize.

Congratulations to Rebecca (Australia), and Reggie Wood (USA) please contact us within one week to claim your prize. You can see their reviews below. Do be sure to post your review when you make a purchase to win a mystery prize.

Product:  Digital Download Tai Chi Music Album Vol 2

Rated 4 out of 5 stars 
Posted by: Rebecca

"I have two young sons, 3 and 6 years old, who at first thought their mum was a bit mad for buying this dvd. We just started doing the warm up and cool down exercises to see if we could get the boys interested. We now do our Tai Chi as a family every Sunday morning. As the boys become more confident in the moves we are hoping we can extend this to a daily exercise. My youngest loves being the butterfly and the panda, while the older one enjoys his kicks and punches. 

My husband and I viewed the video first to see what we would be up against. The video is well set out with ample opportunity to practice the moves. We did find some of the moves harder than expected, but know that this is something we will all be working towards over time. The use of visualisations I think is important with children and seeing other children participate is also key. A good introduction for children."

Congratulations Rebecca, please contact to receive your prize.

Product:  Tai Chi for Diabetes DVD
 Rated 5 out of 5 stars 
Posted by: Reggie Wood

“At first, I found the instruction very slow. As I've watched and learned from it, I've come to appreciate and understand why it must be slow. I look forward to being able to do the exercises on my own without the DVD every time. I'm finding that what looks slow and easy at first is very complicated at my age (66) and am thankful for the pace at which this is presented.”

Congratulations Reggie, please contact to receive your prize.

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Recognizing Our Extraordinary Members

Pat Lawson, Master Trainer and TCHI Board Member, Florida, USA

It has been our intent to honor outstanding contributors to the Tai Chi for Health Institute (TCHI) on the website.  In the past, we listed retired trainers as “Emeritus” to recognize their work toward our mission.  The Board has carefully considered many factors, most of all a review of just what the title “emeritus” means.  It is a term generally used in the world of academia to honor retired professors for work beyond the norm in their field of research.  We decided that the term “Outstanding Contributor” more accurately captures our intention to honor those who have given beyond normal expectation in their position as a member at any level of the Tai Chi for Health Institute.

Nominations for the designation “outstanding contributor” can be made by any member of the TCHI community, by members of the TCHI Board, or by Dr. Lam himself, by submitting the appropriate nomination form to the TCHI Board for consideration and approval. If approved, the contributor’s name and a brief description of his/her contributions would be posted on the List of Outstanding Contributors on the TCHI website.

Criteria for outstanding contributors:
  • Has provided significant/outstanding (uncompensated) service to the TCHI mission and programs
  • Has been a TCHI member for at least two years
  • Exemplifies the TCHI mission and values
  • Nominated by a member of the TCHI community, recommended/approved by the TCHI Board
If you would like to nominate a member of TCHI that you feel meets these criteria, please contact me at I will forward the application to you for completion. Return it to me for presentation to the Board. 
We have some amazing and talented members!  All of you contribute in your own special way to fulfill the mission of TCHI. Let’s honor those who have given above and beyond normal expectation in research, publishing, service or other areas. Although this is only a small way to recognize the countless hours and extreme effort of some of our members, it will inspire all of us by showing their example!

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Humor, Laughter and Radiant Health

Dr Bob McBrien, Master Trainer, Salisbury, MD, USA 

Finding a bit of humour and having a good laugh seems to be impossible during times of high stress. Dr. Paul McGhee has researched the psychology of humour throughout his career. Recognized worldwide as trainer and speaker, his mission is to teach us how to develop our own humour skills. Find him on the web at for more information.

Among the many quotes he offers in his book Health, Healing and the Amuse System, he offered this Chinese proverb that may be familiar to readers.

“You cannot stop the birds of sorrow from flying around your head, but, you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair”

Having survived our two daughters’ college years I can now laugh at this example of healthy humour. Dr. McGhee retells this anecdote of a daughter’s letter from college to her parents.
"Dear Mom and Dad,

I am sorry that I haven’t written, but let me explain. Are you sitting down?

I have recovered from the concussion I received when I jumped from my window when we had a fire in the dorm last month.  I can see normally now thanks to the gentle care from Roger, the dorm janitor, who saved me. I have been living with him since the fire. We are planning to marry before my pregnancy shows. Although he is a high school drop out I know you will love him as I do and accept him into the family.

Your loving daughter,

Mary Jane 

P.S. There was no fire, I was not hurt, there is no Roger and of course, I am NOT pregnant. However, I am getting an ‘F’ in Biology and I want you to see the grade in its proper perspective"

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Click Here to Sign Up Now for the January 2018 Workshop in Sydney


Visit Dr Paul Lam's Tai Chi Productions website for information or to purchase instructional products
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.
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