What Confucius might have said about tai chi, and the closing date for June Workshop

Dr Lam Tai Chi for Health Newsletter 
- Issue Number 201, May 2018


In this issue:

Hello <<First Name>>,

I am writing to you from Mount Taishan in China – the number one mountain in China, near the home of Confucius. We just visited his home town, Qufu. There are four persons who have had the greatest influence on the entire human history. They are Confucius, Jesus Christ, Buddha and Socrates.

Very briefly: Confucius (551 B.C. – 479 B.C.) was a Chinese social philosopher, whose teachings deeply influenced East Asian life and thought. As part of my Tai Chi Cultural workshop, we visited the Confucius Family Mansion, Temple and Cemetery in Qufu and learned more about him. Below are three of his thoughts, can you find any analogy of these sayings to tai chi?

"Isn't it wonderful to learn new things and to continue to practice them? Isn't it delightful to have friends coming from afar? Isn't he a man of virtue who was not annoyed though no-one understands him?"

"If a person can gain new idea from revising old knowledge he is ready to be a teacher."

"If by the morning a person understands the truth of life, if he were to die in the evening he would at peace."
Where Confucius planted this tree 2500 years ago, this plant is 600 yrs old
We are having a wonderful time at my Tai Chi cultural workshop and tour. Our activities, apart from training, have ranged from tai chi at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall to a leisurely stroll around the gracious Summer Palace. We enjoyed a night at the Chinese Opera, visited Tiananmen Square and visited Taishan in the rain. I will be sharing videos and more photos in next month’s newsletter.

Back to more pressing matters, here is a gentle reminder that the closing date for the June workshop in Oregon is 30th April, but I will extend it until 4th May. Classes are filling fast, so do book soon. My team and I are looking forward to working with you.

There is limited space at my midyear workshops in Sydney at the Wollongong Beach front Novotel, do enrol asap to ensure your chosen class. You can book online or contact our staff for details ( or +6125336511).

I am excited to tell you that the January 2019 workshop is now open for booking. You can find full details on the Workshop Calendar. I would be delighted to send you as many brochures as you like, please contact with your name, postal address and how many you would like. 

Yours in Tai Chi,

Paul Lam, MD

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Upcoming Workshops by Dr Paul Lam


June 2018

July 2018 

August 2018 

September 2018

October 2018 

November 2018

January 2019

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Product of the Month

Follow on from Tai Chi for Energy and Tai Chi for Energy 2 with the exciting Chen 36 Form! Receive a 20% discount when you purchase the DVD. Please use code MAYCHENDISC when ordering from Offer expires 31 April. Not to be used with any other discount.

Due to internet problems in China we will announce the monthly review winners in the June issue.

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Parkinson's Disease and Tai Chi, Part Two

Professor Sang-Myeong Cheon, Neurologist and Master Trainer, Korea

  1. Parkinson’s disease (For  1. A to C of Part One, please see the April Issue)
    • D. On-Off (motor fluctuation) – At 5 years of disease, up to 50% of patients can get motor fluctuation depending on the medication. Good times and bad times can occur because medicines do not last until after taking the next medication. We call it‘on and ‘off”. Same patients may look different because the symptoms of disease are quiet severe in off time. Even in‘on’ time, patients can show abnormal movement due to high concentration of medication, chorea, like dancing irregularly. Most patients with motor fluctuation know their on time, so arrange them exercise in good time, and allow them break in bad time. Sometimes the effect of medicine is exhausted more quickly than usual after exercise, which is probable due to increased body metabolism. Patients should be well monitored for the physical condition and adjusted to be able to exercise in on time.
    • E. Medications – Symptoms and features of the disease vary depending on the patients, and there also various options in medication. Presence of motor fluctuation due to longstanding treatment making the medication more complex and quite difficult in each patients. When patients are gathered together, they sometimes talk about drugs and share information, even make recommendations, which should be strictly forbidden. It is really different from patient to patients and is not helpful to anyone.
    • F. Non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease – Parkinson’s disease is not just a disease of motion. Parkinson’s disease cause changes in whole brain, and changes in nearly all aspects of a person, such as psychiatric symptoms like depression and anxiety, neurocognitive symptoms like memory and cognitive dysfunction, autonomic dysfunctions like constipation and orthostatic dizziness, and sleep disturbances like insomnia and REM sleep behavior disorders. Sometimes, these symptoms are more burdensome than the typical motor symptoms. In the advanced stage of disease or in high elderly patients, neurocognitive and/or psychiatric symptoms can be prominent and can cause significant impact on daily life of patients. Visual and auditory hallucination and delusion can make them like psychotic patients, hypersexuality and impulse control disorder can make them misunderstanding the other person’s kindness, which cause serious results. These are the main concerns for considering institutionalization. Be carefully mindful for the changes of personality and unreasonable behavior, and let the family members be told.
  2. Exercise together
    • A. Cognition (motor learning and frontal dysfunction) – Among the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, cognitive dysfunctions can be important to be kept in mind for the instructors of exercise. The main brain region than learns through movement and connects it with actual exercise is the site of disease beginning in Parkinson’s disease. Also, patients have dysfunction in frontal lobe, brain area for the planning, selection, and execution of appropriate action. Therefore patients are slower to learn and harder to maintain what they learn than ordinary people. They look stubborn, simple, difficult to change, and hard to pay attention to more than one target. A lot more repetitions and processes of understanding, one accurate teaching point at one time, and fresh stimuli for drawing changes of patients are needed. The instructor should be patient and confident about what they are doing with patients.
    • B. Type of exercise – Actually, any form of exercise benefits patients. We should keep the patients moving. Recently, lots of studies having been done for the patients with Parkinson’s disease, might be most than any other disease. Some studies recommended appropriate exercise for Parkinson’s disease. It might be better to do with instructor (not alone in home by themselves) to monitor and improve their movements, to do more strenuous and challenging exercise, to do balance exercise, and to do exercise with flow or sequence. It is better to do more than 3 times a week, more than 8 weeks for balance exercise and 12 weeks for Tai Chi exercise to last the benefits of exercise.
    • C. Tai Chi and Parkinson’s disease – Tai Chi is one of most appropriate exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease. Most powerful exercise study done for Parkinson’s disease used Tai Chi, which showed reduced fall and improved balance of patients proving benefits lasting for 6 months after exercise program. They used Yang style Tai Chi. We also studied the benefits of exercises in Parkinson’s disease. We compare the TCA and strengthening exercise. Both exercise improved motor symptoms and functional fitness, but TCA was better for the lower limb power, which is very important for walking and postural control, and also TCA was better for emotional support and quality of life. It does not mean the TaiChi is the only one exercise for Parkinson’s it means it would be better for the patients if they are doing exercise during same amount of time with same amount of efforts. In fact, there are many forms of TaiChi and also various instructions can be given to patients. Actually the results of studies using Tai Chi are also diverse. So standardized program with standardized instructions should be used for more evidences for patients with Parkinson’s disease. In the light of these aspects, Tai Chi for health programs seem to be one of most appropriate candidate. I do believe that Tai Chi can give more benefits to patients than any other simple and repetitive exercises, and it should be one of TaiChi for health programs, which have standardized instructors and instructions with easy to access and maintain.
  3. Summary

    As the Parkinson’s disease have many faces, which is continuously changing, to set a appropriate goal and share it with patients and their family members is the most important one in the management of Parkinson’s disease. Instructors should keep patience to do Tai Chi with patients, should have confidence based on objective results of studies, and should be persistent to keep the patients moving.

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An Amazing Recovery with Tai Chi

Lynn Pendry, Participant, Victoria, Australia

In 2006, at the age of 50, I was admitted to Wonthaggi Hospital with pneumonia. X-rays showed that my lungs were in a bad way. I had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, already at quite an advanced stage with about a third of my lungs destroyed by this progressive, debilitating and ultimately fatal illness. The best I could hope for was to slow its progress by adopting as healthy a lifestyle as possible, so, determined to stay alive and active as long as I could, out went the bad habits, especially smoking, and I learned to enjoy the pleasures of good diet and exercise.
Despite my best efforts, I was becoming weaker and experiencing breathing issues. After a cardiac arrest and a long period of anxious waiting I received a lung transplant. A month after surgery I left the hospital and moved into a nearby apartment for the three months of rehabilitation, three gruelling sessions a week in the hospital gym, pedalling the bike, pounding the treadmill, sit-ups, step-ups, weights, squats, each session more intense than the last, to exercise the new lungs and strengthen muscles wasted from years of under-use. Their motto - no pain, no gain. I found it incredibly hard, but I persevered.
Before you leave they give you a list of recommended activities to continue improving your fitness and to strengthen the bones as osteoporosis is a serious side-effect of anti-rejection drugs. I studied the list. Cycling appealed to me as I had happy memories of riding bikes in the past. But with my balance problems it sounded a bit dangerous. Walking was a good idea as I could regain my independence if I could walk to the bus stop or stroll around the shops by myself, but again the balance problems, shakiness and dizzy spells made it seem too daunting. Back to the list. Pilates. No. Swimming. No. Tennis. Definitely not! Tai-Chi - yes!
On Monday I went to Wonthaggi Neighbourhood Centre to ask about their Tai-Chi class, and on Thursday I went along to five it a go. I turned up a bit early as I wanted to meet Vicki, the teacher and explain about my recent transplant and the difficulties I was having. I told her about the weak muscles, the poor balance and the shakiness and as I expected, she said it was okay to sit down or lean on a chair if I needed to and that I’d feel some benefit even if I couldn’t do very much. Then I got a big surprise when she told me she has pulmonary fibrosis! I’ve met a few people with this serious lung disease and know how awful it can bed. Her story, of how Tai-Chi has improved her health and helped her to stay out of hospital is quite mind-boggling. Apparently her doctor is now recommending Tai-Chi to all her lung patients.
I felt as if I’d been guided to the right place where I could learn from someone who could understand what lung disease is like. The other members of the class began to turn up and they seemed like a nice friendly lot, so, shaking like mad from nervousness as well as the Tacro Tremors, I took the plunge and did my first proper Tai-Chi class. The warm-up was the most difficult part as my wobbly legs didn’t want to stay still, but I resisted the temptation to sit down and determinedly carried on.
Fate led me to buy two DVDs, Dr.Paul Lam’s Tai-Chi for Arthritis and Tai-Chi for Osteoporosis. What a coincidence! Osteoporosis is exactly what I’m trying to avoid. I watched some of it and recognised some of the movements from class. Great! Now I can do some practise at home!
Well, three months have gone by since I wobbled my way through my first Tai-Chi class. With Vicki’s excellent teaching, the “good vibes” from the other ladies in the group and Dr. Lam’s DVD I’m getting a bit more proficient and really noticing the benefits. The whole class have improved a lot and the feeling when we all get the movements right and move in harmony is amazing. My leg muscles, once pathetically weak, are getting strong again, and so are my arms. I can carry quite heavy weights now and recently surprised my husband (and myself) by opening a jam jar with a lid so tight he couldn’t get it off. My balance is so much better I’m happily roaming around the shops by myself and had a lovely time doing my own Christmas shopping for the first time in years. I’ve plucked up the courage to get on a bike again and am having lots of fun going out for long rides with the Neighbourhood House’s Bike Riding group. How’s that for balance!
I still get the shakes at times and probably will until the doctors cut down the dose of anti-rejection drugs,but I’ve improved enough to be able to drink a cup of tea without spilling it and can stand in a queue without getting jelly legs. All this happened amazingly quickly and without any huffing and puffing or aching legs. Even my bad eyesight seems to have improved. My breathing, which has caused the doctors a little concern at times, has been measured at 100% perfect. I feel calmer and happier than ever before and have found that if I get stressed a bit of Tai-Chi or just a few breathing exercises can really help. I’ve got lots of energy and have enjoyed giving the house a long-overdue spring clean. The doctors and physios at the Alfred are impressed with my progress and surprised to see me recovering so quickly. I think they wonder what my secret is. Well, I know what it is, and it isn’t a secret - Tai-Chi does things for you that Western medicine doesn’t yet understand. 

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Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health

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

Folks who know that I am a student of humor and the benefits we gain from laughter often ask me to tell a joke. I learned years ago to not tell jokes. What seems to be more beneficial, and for me fun to tell, are stories.

I enjoy telling stories that bring on laughter. Sometimes after I tell a story resulting in laughter I am told, “I can’t tell a joke or a story, when I do I only hear polite laughter.”

Once in a while someone will ask me to coach them on being a successful story teller. I tell the person, there is no secret to storytelling.  Find a story that makes you laugh, tell it to a mirror and then, during the day, tell the story to three different persons.

Here is a story that folks enjoy hearing me tell.
*In the old days we called a correction facility for teenagers reform school. Now a residential correction facility may use institution or center in its title.

One day my cousin Phil, was walking along the brick wall surrounding a center for teenage boys who got in trouble with the law. The center was a large building with a campus on the outskirts of his home town.

Up ahead he could hear voices chanting, 12 – 12 – 12 – 12. As he approached the source of the sound he saw an opening in the wall, like a small window.

Now the chanting was louder 12 – 12 – 12 – 12.

Phil got curious as he got close he decided to peek to see what was going on.  There were four boys gathered near the opening chanting, it looked like they were having fun. As he watched them chant the tallest boy took a step forward, it was then that Phil noticed he had his right hand behind his back. He found out why in a flash. The boy was wearing a boxing glove and pow! He punched Phil right between his eyes. Phil staggered back, recovered and began walking quickly down the sidewalk.

As he walked away, recovering from the shock he became aware that the chanting had begun again, but it was different. He stopped to listen and he heard the chanting, 13 – 13 – 13 – 13.

Tell this story to folks, change it to make it your own story, and send me your results. Find me at: 

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Documentary: "Anyone Can Learn Tai Chi"

We received a tremendous amount of positive feedback regarding the TCHI documentary, "Anyone Can Learn Tai Chi". Here are just a few of the many comments received from Facebook and YouTube:

"Words couldn’t possibly express the appreciation and passion I have for Dr. Lam’s programs, his teachings, his instructors, his mission etc. I can’t wait to share this video with my students—It just puts it all together! Once again, thank you."
– Marsha G.

"Thanks for the awesome Interview Dr. Paul Lam and Rani Hughes, always a delight, Thanks for sending out your 4 decade of work in the form of 7 min routine, love teaching it! Really loved your hairstyle during your graduation day! "
– Kartikey S.

"Thank you Paul and Rani for a very inspirational interview. I absolutely love Tai Chi for health programs. If someone had told me a few years back that I would be teaching Tai Chi it would have scared me out of my whits Your program and teaching methods have made it easy and gave me self confidence to achieve this and I love sharing the health benefits and the passion of Tai Chi with everyone so thank you
– Sandra S.

"Tai Chi is a healing process it is very powerful you have to practice every day to gain the benefits so unique to learn from Dr Paul Lam Truly a gentleman I have done Tai Chi for12 years started teaching 7 years ago I didn’t start it until I was 67 absolutely love it help me to get through a lot."
– Nan M.

"Tai Chi is Great Spirit, Soul, and Body!!!!!!👍👍👍👍👍Try It you will never be The SAME🙏!!!!!"
– Sherri Lynn L.

To read the comments or if you have not yet seen it, here are the links to the videos:

>> Click here to watch the video on Facebook

>> Click here to watch the video on YouTube

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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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