Dr Lam Tai Chi for Health Newsletter
- Issue Number 184, December 2016
Hello <<First Name>>
In this issue:
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Best wishes for the festive season! I have a special edition for you this month, with some great holiday reading. Amongst our tai chi family we have some very talented writers, and this month Marlena Schmidt Fiol from Tuscon has sent in a piece to share with you. Marlena is a gifted writer who is in the process of publishing her memoir “Nothing Bad Between Us: A Mennonite Missionary Kid Stumbles Home” and I am sure you will enjoy her piece about her daily tai chi practice with her husband, Ed.
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, New Zealand continues to suffer devastating earthquakes, and Peter Wannan from Wellington gives us a first-hand account. Thanks to all of you who sent messages of concern and support to our tai chi family in New Zealand.
I really enjoyed my presentation of "Tai Chi: An Evidence Based Activity for Mental and Physical Health" at the Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Melbourne two weeks ago. Here is a video of my presentation. Tai chi is evidenced based that it would save billions of health dollars and bring immense health benefits for all. What is more Tai Chi for Health is enjoyable and easy to learn.
Do you know there is a global health crisis, that health expenditure is being stretched to the limit, and is getting worse. Have you or your friends have problem getting medical treatment? 80-90% of health expenditure is on chronic disease and up to 80% of chronic diseases are preventable by adopting a healthier lifestyle, especially with regards to diet and exercise.
At the Conference, I learned a lot about diet and exercise. There is a lot more to it. For example, genetic modification and the industrialised food processing has changed the food and reduces species of all kinds of food which, in the long term, affect our health Likewise the pollution and global warming can affect our health, and the food chain.
Lifestyle Medicine is the most effective medication, and it is much more, I highly recommend you support the Lifestyle Medicine Association in your country. It syncs perfectly with the Tai Chi for Health vision.
First the first time I am going to conduct two exploring workshops in Australia. Yang 24 Forms on 3 March and Explore the Sun 73 Forms on 4 and 5 March in Melbourne! At the workshop I will go through form by form in detail to explain the depth and inner meaning. I will offer feedback, points of improvement and direction to develop your tai chi. At the completion I am sure you would enjoy learning new ideas and consolidating existing good ones. Hope you can come.
The January workshop is fully booked, and June 2017 annual workshop in USA is already 50% full, I hope to work with you in one of these workshops.
This Month’s Special
Our Christmas shopping discount has been so popular that we are extending it right through until New Year’s Eve! For the month of December receive a 35% discount off ALL DVDs. Please use coupon code DECDVD35 when ordering. Offer expires 31st December. Not to be used with any other discount.
Product Review Prize Winners – Christmas Package
We were delighted to see the October review “big” prize winner. Thanks Frank Croucher for sending your photo. Frank won 2 DVDs and 2 Music CDs valued AUD $99.80, plus a Tai Chi for Health wristband. He is the first person outside of our team to have one.
Congratulations to November prize winner, Shannon Oliver from Australia. You have won 3 DVDs of your choice value AUD $120. You can see Shannon’s review below. Shannon, please contact us within one week to claim your prize.
Do be sure to post your review of any of our product when you make a purchase to win a mystery prize.
Product of the Month Review Prize Winner
This month’s winner is:
Product: Tai Chi for Beginners DVD
Posted by: Shannon Oliver
5 out of 5 stars
"Love this DVD, very informative and easy to follow! "
Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam
Other workshops by my authorised Master Trainers are displayed on the Master Trainer Workshop Calendar
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
I'm just curious, but I would like to know the following:
How do you remember all of the various forms or styles of Tai Chi and Qi Gong? I find it difficult enough to remember and practice two short sequences. Your expertise must be very great if you can remember and practice so much. Do you practice for several hours a day? As a practicing physician, your time must be limited, so which forms or styles does you enjoy practicing each day?
Dr Lam replies:
Well Art, my secret is that I never sleep!
Seriously, I have been studying tai chi for 42 years now, and it is part of my life. I enjoy teaching and sharing Tai Chi for Health so much that I retired from family practice three years ago to give me more time to teach!
I do enjoy practice regularly. Tai chi strengthens my inner self, my mind and body, giving me a wonderful sense of wellness. I have arthritis from age of 13, despite these years I am still getting stronger and more flexible at 68, what an addiction!
Tai Chi as Couples Counselling?
Marlena Fiol and Ed O’Connor, Instructors, Tucson, Arizona
I roll over and stare at the alarm clock on our bedside table. 4:30. Groaning into my pillow, I try unsuccessfully to drown the heavy snoring of my sick-with-a-cold husband who lies next to me. Finally I give up on sleep and slide off my side of the bed. I throw on a robe that hangs behind the door.
“What’s wrong? Why are you getting up?” Ed asks sleepily, yawning.
“If you wouldn’t snore so loud, I might be able to get some sleep,” I snap.
Hours later, I’m curled up on the living room couch, pouting, when Ed stomps into the room.
“Don’t blame me for your insomnia.” He’s almost shouting. I hold both hands over my ears.
The clock on our wall strikes 7:00, time for our daily tai chi practice. Our morning ritual after warm up exercises is to run through TCR, TCE, TCA, Sun 73, and Yang 24, in that order. Unenthusiastically, I pull on my tai chi pants and shirt and make my way to my iPhone to plug in the music. The first chords of the tai chi music float through the room. As Ed and I bring our arms up slowly in unison, that familiar warm, heavy feeling rises below my belly button and the ice between us begins to melt. By the time we’re waving hands to the left in TCE, I feel the thread of energy that connects us. An invisible chord between us gently pulls our slow and continuous physical movements into alignment, bringing with it emotional and psychological resonance.
Most of you already know that practicing tai chi helps to improve balance and stability in older people and in those with Parkinson’s disease, it reduces back pain and pain from knee osteoarthritis, and it improves the quality of life in people with heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. The list goes on and on: it may enhance the immune system, help lower blood pressure, improve joint pain, and improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. We tend to speak less about the benefits of tai chi for couples practicing together.
Let’s face it, couples get out of alignment. We all lead busy lives. There are many distractions. We likely have different priorities and different perspectives on important issues. And one of us might occasionally snore! When you’re out of alignment, practicing tai chi as a couple provides a great way for you and your partner to reconnect with one another. Based on our experience, daily practice with your partner can greatly increase your chances of having meaningful conversations and intimate connection. Being in resonance allows couples to be together mindfully and lovingly.
Of course, practicing with a partner also helps you understand movements more deeply by mirroring or coordinating with your moves. It also builds up your accountability by helping you persevere when you’re feeling too lazy or too despondent to practice. The single most important benefit of tai chi for Ed and me, however, is that it brings our breathing and our movements into alignment and allows us to become receptive and responsive to the subtle cues we’re receiving from our partner, relieving tensions when they arise, and deepening the bonds that unite us.
By the time we move backwards for Repulse Monkey in Yang 24, tears make their way down my cheeks. Ed and I are back in alignment.
Wellington Shaken by Devastating Earthquake
Peter Wannan, Instructor, Wellington, New Zealand
As reported on the news globally, early Monday morning at 12.02am an earthquake of magnitude of 7.5 struck the upper South Island of New Zealand causing widespread damage. The capital city, Wellington, also affected by the earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks.
Our immediate thoughts here were “poor Christchurch” which only five years ago was virtually demolished by an earthquake of a significantly lesser magnitude in one of the largest natural disasters and loss of life in New Zealand’s recent history. However, it was a relief to learn that Christchurch was left relatively unscathed. The coastal town of Kaikoura to the north of Christchurch, a popular tourist resort for whale watching, bore the brunt of the destruction becoming completely isolated from the rest of the country. The coordinated relief and rescue process has seen essential supplies reaching the town and tourists being evacuated by air.
In Wellington, some of the hardest felt shocks were in high-rise hotels and apartment buildings in and around the central business district of Wellington with residents taking to the streets in their nightwear in the middle of the night. It was a testament to the New Zealand building standards that no buildings collapsed in the immediate aftermath. External damage appears to be mainly glass from shattered windows and fallen masonry which has closed several roads in the city. Strong aftershocks appear to have exposed structural damage in several commercial buildings bringing the prospect of future demolition.
Inside offices and shops it was a quite different story, however, with goods and equipment having been violently tossed about by the force of the earthquake. This was the sight which greeted a colleague when returning to his office on Monday – shattered crockery, computers, printers, and files strewn across the office. It was as if the place had been vandalised.
If that wasn’t enough to cope with, a 1 to 2 metre tsunami warning meant harbour side residents had to evacuate their homes in the dark early hours of Monday morning.
By daylight Monday, Wellington city looked like a ghost town.
Building inspections started on Monday and a small number of people returned to work on Tuesday morning as buildings became cleared for reoccupation and train lines into the city inspected and public transport resumed.
However, Tuesday brought torrential rain – more than a month’s rainfall in one day. Gale force winds lashed the region bringing flooding and slips blocking roads. Public transport again ground to a virtual halt and access out of the city was lost altogether.
It is Tuesday night now and we have experienced seven severe earthquakes of magnitude 7.5, 5.6, 6.2, 6.0, 5.1, 5.7 and 6.3 in less than two days not including the multitude of lesser magnitude aftershocks that have come every few minutes on average over that time.
It is a testament to the fortitude and resilience of Wellingtonians that tomorrow will see most of them returning to work in the city despite this and continuing wet weather.
It is a timely reminder to us that our existence is still governed by the forces of nature over which we are not masters.
And to remember that in Tai Chi there is a natural balance and internal harmony which stems from a gentle respect for ourselves, others and Nature.
Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health
Doctor Bob McBrien, Salisbury, Maryland, USA
Recently I read an article focusing on the benefits of positive emotions and the power of healthy humour and joyful laughter. The author, Prof. Barbara Fredrickson, recommended that folks create a personal or family humour library. What a good idea! It involves collecting various media containing uplifting humour. Sources include humorous fiction, joke books and books that are collections of comics.
Some examples: A library of Peanuts or Far Side books. DVDs of humorous films or performances by comedians and humourists. My DVD library includes Victor Borge and Garrison Keeler. A DVD with the first season of The Muppets Show offers an evening filled with laughter. I have CDs of Garrison Keeler’s radio broadcasts and enjoy many laughs while driving.
I think humour DVDs, CDs & favourite cartoon collections (Peanuts and Far Side top my list) as gifts for family and friends will be well received). Start building your library today. If you find a resource you would recommend to others send to me at: email@example.com
It is uplifting to know that librarians have a healthy sense of humor. I found these samples of librarian humour with Google
*Questions Librarians were asked (True!):
*Do you have books here?
*Do you have any books with photographs of dinosaurs?
*Can you tell me why so many famous Civil War battles were fought on USA
National Parks sites?
*Do you have a list of all the books I've ever read?
Librarians’ bumper stickers:
* Librarians know where it's at!
*Back off! Or I'll cross-reference you!
*Librarians know the answers…Do you know the questions
Middle Graders answers to library quizzes,
*You can find words with similar meanings in Rogers Brontosaurus
*A bibliography is the cast of characters in the Bible.
*Copyright means using the photocopier the right way.
*Plagiarism is when you copy someone else without them finding out.
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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.