A royal endorsement for tai chi!

Dr Lam Tai Chi for Health Newsletter 
- Issue Number 196, December 2017


In this issue:

Hello <<First Name>>,

It is time to pop open your champagne and join our Master Trainer Linda Arksey and her team of instructors on winning the HRH The Prince of Wales Award for Integrated Approaches to Care at the UK annual Nursing Times Awards! This is an amazing achievement and the result of seven years of hard work and dedication. We are so proud of you! Read all about it in Linda’s article.

I am back home preparing for the fully-subscribed 20th Annual January Workshop, and the global tour next year. The January workshop has stimulated the mirror week-long workshop in Oregon USA June next year. I am looking forward to see many of you who already registered, and many more who are going to register soon. There will be three more workshops in Australia during 2018, check them out below.

Thanks for your support and feedback. The next Bulletin for my online lessons will be sent out in a few days. There is beautiful scenery, answers to your questions, a new lesson plan for Tai Chi for Arthritis and a demonstration which appeared in Keanu Reeves’ movie the “Man of Tai Chi.” There are interviews with Professor Peter Wayne of Harvard Medical School and Professor Lucy Brown, a famous neuro-scientist. I met Lucy at my tai chi workshop in New York. I was very interested and slightly anxious talking to her about the brain’s functionality and tai chi. Would I be able to understand the complex research findings? How does it relate to tai chi? Amazingly, tai chi can be a part of the reward system connecting to the essential human needs. It concludes with a real surprise.
Again thanks for your feedback, we have made the Global Community available to anyone at nominal administration fees. Do spread the news around, the more people subscribe, the less the admin fee will be. 

For some relaxed holiday reading, I would like to share Betty Scanlon’s humorous poem “A Visit from Irma”. Who knew tai chi could help dissipate hurricane anxiety?

Yours in Tai Chi,

Paul Lam, MD

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This Month’s Xmas Special

Our November special was so well received we have extended it for December! Receive a 35% discount when you order any DVD. Give your friends a priceless gift - the gift of health and wellness. Please use coupon code DEC35DVD when ordering. Offer expires 31 December. Not to be used with any other discount.

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Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam


January 2018

March 2018

June 2018

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HRH The Prince of Wales Award for Integrated Approaches to Care – Nursing Times Awards 2017

Linda Arksey, Master Trainer, UK

Dr Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health programs based at Rushcliffe Country Park and at Circle Nottingham (NHS) have won the prestigious HRH The Prince of Wales Award for Integrated Approaches to Care at the UK annual Nursing Times Awards.
From left to right: Jenna Middleton (Nursing Times Editor), Chris Coates (TCHI instructor), Rodger Canning (TCHI instructor), Linda Arksey (TCHI Master Trainer), Alice Muir (TCHI instructor), Carol Tarlton-Weatherall (TCHI instructor), Zoe Fordham (TCHI instructor), Dame Denise Holt (Nuffield Health)
Seven years ago, Alice Muir, a Rheumatology nurse, had a plan to establish accessible, regular and permanent classes for her patients based on Dr Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health programs. Working with local Master Trainer Linda Arksey, Alice soon became a certified instructor in a number of Tai Chi for Health programs. Alice had the idea that classes would continue to run successfully with or without her. The first class established at Rushcliffe Country Park was so successful that enthusiastic participants were encouraged to also become certified Tai Chi for Health instructors. There is now a team of six instructors supporting the popular ‘Tai Chi in the Park’ classes which meet throughout the year, and for just £3 per class learners and improvers can practice and can be taught all of the programs.

Income from ‘Tai Chi in the Park’ has helped fund projects to develop and maintain the park, e.g. to plant an orchard. It has also been used to train new qualified instructors so that additional classes can be taught as demand increases. Park Ranger and TCHI instructor Zoe Fordham (1st left standing below picture) said after winning the award, “This was a wonderful achievement to reward the commitment of everyone who regularly attends the classes. Those who come along tell us how much they feel the sessions help improve their mobility, balance control and flexibility.”

The second class location was at Circle Nottingham (NHS). Tai Chi classes were established for Rheumatology patients living with chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions in the Nottingham area. Several of the Tai Chi for Health instructors now give their support to both of the locations providing additional teaching coverage. The classes for NHS patients and communities across Nottingham are now accessible to all ages. Alice Muir said, “This collaboration between Circle Nottingham, the Tai Chi for Health Institute and Rushcliffe Country Park shows how working together can make a real difference to patient outcomes.” Master Trainer Linda Arksey who has taught and certified all of the instructors said, “I am so proud of our team of instructors who have worked hard for many years to achieve this. It is fantastic to receive royal recognition for winning such a prestigious award. We know how safe and effective Dr Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health programs are, this award brings it to the attention of all nurses and health professionals within the United Kingdom.

The award was presented at the Nursing Times Annual Banquet in a glittering ceremony held at the prestigious Greensboro House, Park Lane held in London, United Kingdom.

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Still Dancing - An Update

By Hazel Thompson, Master Trainer, Sydney, Australia

(See the original story in the October and November newsletters.)

Once again my dad thanks everyone who has sent him messages – of admiration, sympathy and encouragement. Plus a special thanks to those ladies who have remarked on what a good looking man he is! (See photo above, taken at the age of 22, fresh out of the Army) He is the first to admit that he still has his “down” moments and will never stop grieving, but now he has found a new purpose he restricts himself to a “quick mope” and gets on with his day.

He continues to work on Tai Chi for Arthritis every day for 30 minutes, and in the afternoon he absolutely loves the Warm Ups, Seated Dantien Breathing and Cool Downs for a quick routine. His leg strength and balance have both improved noticeably. His newly regained fitness has given him greater confidence and he has now joined another weekly club where he plays Whist. Paul joins me on the weekly phone calls discussing the lessons and moves with him in detail, and as a doctor has observed that dad is now clearer-headed and much more upbeat than before he started tai chi. The long term plan is for us both to visit Wales next year and for the two of them to practice together – that will definitely be a Kodak moment.
I do so wish that dad had internet so Paul could teach him by Skype, but having only just persuaded him to buy a new DVD player I will stick to phone calls for now!

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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 Sheila (Australia), and Barbara Rezmer (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 CD Vol 2

 Rated 5 out of 5 stars 
Posted by: Sheila

Despite feeling low in energy and in discomfort rather than wait to feel better I played the Tai Chi 2 music this morning and settled into practice. The music gently but surely moves me into focus. I found when listening my Tai Chi moves and coordinated breathing were exquisite and when my thoughts turned to not moving quite right or pace quickening,listening guided me back. Also as the TCA music is not over repetitive I was am able to pace myself"

Congratulations Sheila, please contact to receive your prize.

Product:  Tai Chi for Rehabilitation DVD
 Rated 5 out of 5 stars 
Posted by: Barbara Rezmer

One of Dr. Lam's best!

This is a wonderful DVD for everyone. The form is short and easier to learn than his other forms, making it ideal even for those with health problems. Besides the essentials of the form, Dr Lam includes a great deal of information that encompasses skills used in all tai chi for health forms. I highly recommend this DVD to all my student to use on a regular basis. Thank you, Dr Lam.

Congratulations Barbara, please contact to receive your prize.

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Teaching Tai Chi to Seniors

Kate McKee, Senior Trainer, New York, USA

Among my favorite classes to teach are introductory tai chi for Senior Citizens, (or, as one memorable class member insists on being called, really old people.) From a purely selfish point of view, the participants in these classes have so much knowledge and experience that teaching them provides me with a master class in aging well. In return, I help them learn tai chi. It is worth remembering that teaching Seniors is generally similar to teaching any other group, and that Dr. Paul Lam’s most excellent book “Teaching Tai Chi Effectively” offers invaluable advice. Nonetheless, there are a few specific items that I find worth keeping firmly in mind.
  1. Most Seniors were born before 1945 and generationally are considered to be “Traditionalists.” Of course, descriptions about whole generations have plenty of exceptions, but as a group, Traditionalists tend to be respectful of authority. In a tai chi class, they will try to do what they think the teachers wants. They may try to do more than is healthy or safe, especially if the teacher does not emphasize the importance of safety and adapting the form to suit their level of fitness and ability. Instructors can make a big difference by establishing their willingness to “meet students where they are.” That means genuinely accepting students’ limitations and level of ability. If that means that a student participates while seated for most or all of a class, the instructor must be careful not to suggest that they “should” aspire to stand throughout the class. Standing throughout may not be a realistic goal for an 83 year old who has had a stroke. Respecting the student’s judgment about what is best or possible for them as a participant creates a comfortable and safe atmosphere for learning a new physical skill. To be clear, I am not suggesting that instructors limit the possibility for progress by Senior students. Rather, the point is to respect and accept that Seniors bring a physical history that will influence their participation. It is critical that the instructor often reinforce that good form and structure are more important than an uncontrolled high knee lift or a low stance with poor posture. Instructors should also assure students that they can gain health benefits from practicing tai chi at whatever their level of ability.

  2. Older folks have as much variety in their fitness and physical abilities as do younger people. That said, a class for Seniors is more likely to include participants who have limitations in stamina, flexibility or range of motion. These limitations are not a bar to playing tai chi but they do make it important to emphasize staying within one’s comfort zone, including taking breaks as needed and adapting movements of the form to their abilities. Make sure there are chairs available both for participants to use for balance and as a place to rest. Especially important is for instructors to be careful not to overwork any particular joint by doing too many repetitions of a move, especially when working with all or most of a person’s weight on one leg.

  3. Many older students express fears that they will not be able to learn and remember the sequence of moves in a form. They have seen friends and family experience memory problems, and they know the real possibility of developing impairments in short term memory. The anxiety provoked by that fear can interfere with their learning and enjoyment of tai chi. It helps to reassure participants that they can learn the form the same way most of us learn the words to popular music – by repetition! Who among us set out to learn the words to “Jessie’s Girl?” The ideal would be for students to be able to play a form on their own but even if they don’t reach that level, practicing in class brings valuable benefits, albeit more slowly.

  4. One of the common experiences of aging is loss of physical abilities and autonomy. Seniors can be exquisitely sensitive to any negative comment, perceived criticism or sense of weakness. For some, even just the awkwardness of learning a new skill like tai chi can feel so uncomfortable that they are tempted to stop. Creating an atmosphere in class that is supportive and positive is important for any student, but especially for Seniors. There are many ways to help them understand that no one learns tai chi without making mistakes or feeling awkward, beginning with sharing your own mistakes while learning (and while teaching.) Also important is providing plenty of encouragement and positive feedback. Reassuring Senior students that they are doing well is helpful in creating a safe and supportive environment for learning tai chi.

  5. Finally, Senior participants in tai chi classes often enjoy socializing before and after class. A teacher who arrives 15-30 minutes before class, and allows a similar amount of time after class, provides a setting for those interactions. As well, more reserved class members may take advantage of this time to ask questions that they are uncomfortable asking in class. Helping students to enjoy learning tai chi and getting to know others in their class can go a long way to encourage continuing participation.

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A Visit from Irma

Betty Scanlon, Master Trainer, Florida

Irma grew and she grew, just would not fade
And when it headed our way, all were afraid.

A Cat 4 or 5 storm causes more than a frown
Thank God it was a 2 when it blew into town.

How do you handle the stress and the fear?
Some people went out to stock up on beer!

But is there a role that tai chi can play?
Could it reduce your stress; help you cope with what may?

I gave it a try, it helped me you know.
Stress is reduced when you’re in the flow.

Some trees fell down, others stripped bare.
All in all, I would say, pretty well we did fare.

The water got high but didn’t come inside
And we’re too far inland to be affected by tide.

Hot in the day, hot in the night.
Good thing it’s dark, for I look a fright!

We still have running water; cold showers for all!
Does anyone know if the power is on at the mall?

Hotels are all full of power company crew.
If they’d come down my street I’d offer a brew!

We couldn’t decide if we needed red wine or white
To go with the Cheetos, such is our plight!

What about the principles, can they play a role
To keep the storm’s aftermath from taking a toll?

My posture is upright, since it’s too hot to sleep.
My tongue on my palate, so I won’t utter a peep.

I practiced my stepping while it was light,
So I wouldn’t get injured moving about in the night.

A gentle resistance? You’ve got to be kidding!
Certainly not when Irma does Mother Nature’s bidding!

The wind she provided was neither smooth nor slow.
But it was continuous for a few days you know!

So, can you be song when you prepare for the storm?
It helps if you practice, and make it your norm.

To be jing in a storm is very tough you know.
Your mind really wanders when the wind starts to blow.

But after it’s over and we’ve survived, you and me,
It’s time to get back to practicing tai chi.

For it can help you to cope, and reduce your stress.
Using positive energy as you clean up the mess!

A poet I’m not, as you plainly see.
If you want to come over, please bring cold ice tea!

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Humor, Laughter and Radiant Health

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

Humor on the web and television, in general, is quite toxic. Preparing for my monthly article. I have to search to find examples of healthy humor. Healthy humor brightens our day. When you look for healthy humor we use the acronym HUMOR as a guideline.

Humor is healthy when it:
  • Helps reduce stress or tension;
  • Unblocks narrow thinking stress creates and frees your thinking for solving problems;
  • Moves us closer together through play, sharing, laughter and having fun;
  • Opens neural pathways in our brain resulting in creative thinking and optimism; and
  • Reminds us of other experiences with laughter and fun.
The following story can help you power up your humor-based energy today:

My cousin George asked his wife Martha to accompany him to his appointment with their family doctor. George was to get the results of lab work the doctor had ordered.

George was called in first and after a brief period came out and told Martha, “The doctor needs to see you now.”

Martha was greeted by the doctor who told her George was under so much stress that his health was in danger. When Martha asked what could be done she was told she needed to make life easy for George.

“Don’t ask him to do all those chores, let him relax. He can watch any program on TV, take naps and you should cook his favorite foods for him. Finally, the doctor said, “I want you do to everything he asks that will make his life comfortable. You need to know that he could die.”

Driving home, George asked Martha, “Did the doctor tell you about my health?

Martha said, “Yes.”

George said, “Well what else did he tell you?”

Martha was quiet for a minute, looked over at George and said,

“You’re going to die.”

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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.
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