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Dr Lam's Tai Chi, Health & Lifestyle Newsletter - Issue Number 103, March 2010

In this issue:

Click on the title above to read the articles, this linkto read all previous newsletters and here to subscribe.

Hello Everyone,

Do we have an exciting newsletter for you this month! When I was conducting my workshop in Teller County last year, I was exhilarated by Colorado’s clean mountain air, I had a wonderful time. But what was so unusual were the people at this workshop. Their extraordinary connections and the amazing stories I heard inspired me to dedicate “Tai Chi in Exotic (as Roy Geib defined it) Places” as the theme this month. When I ventured to spread Tai Chi for Health to the world 12 years ago, I had no idea I would meet so many incredible people or how they would miraculously connect. I will tell you a story of someone I admire very much, Vince McCullough, and then you can read Jeff’s article on how it all started in Teller County. You will find it quite intriguing how we somehow found each other through tai chi. Other places like Hawaii, Indiana, New Zealand and Sweden all have their wonderful stories to tell.

To show the beauty of some of these places I have posted a series of photos . Enjoy!

The June One Week Tai Chi Workshop will be held at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, the first time on the west coast in five years! We have an exciting program with 13 individualized classes. The workshop is an excellent time to recharge, regenerate and rejuvenate your tai chi and your health. I see tai chi as a flowing experience. We continue to improve, to progress, to flow like water in the river. When the flow cease it becomes stagnant and will regress. Practising, working with tai chi friends and participating in workshops all help to ensure continual progress. I hope you can come and experience this energising process.

The workshop is now 60% full please enrol as soon as possible to ensure a place in your chosen class.
The pre conference workshop this year is Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis and Tai Chi @ Work Instructor Training. You will receive 10% discount in this workshop if you register together with the one week workshop,
 
Feel free to contact me if you like help in choosing a suitable course.
In this newsletter:
  • Dr Lam tells an incredible story of how tai chi has a mysterious way to connect people in different places and time.
  • Although Teller County is a small rural community in the Rocky Mountains, it is quite astounding how TCA has flourished since its inception four years ago. Those involved have quite a lot to share.
  • A small Hawaiian community by the name of Leeward Tai Chi Ohana have embraced Tai Chi for Health as a way of life. They have taken charge of their health and are empowered to help others towards a better quality of life.
  • Roy Geib’s idea of an “exotic” place is not like a page in a travel brochure but rather a unique connection between individuals striving to move forward thus making the tai chi experience “exotic.”
  • Chris Hattle feels there is a natural sense of yin-yang throughout the small island nation of New Zealand, that tai chi belongs there, where nature of land nurtures the people.
  • By sheer coincidence Amanda Lundvik Gyllensten from Sweden ended up in a TCA workshop the short time she was in Australia. Ever since then TCA has spread to nearby countries both in Scandinavia and in northern Europe.
This Month’s Special:

  • Tai Chi Music 1– CD
  • Tai Chi Music 2 - CD

    Buy the Tai Chi Music 2 CD and receive a 50% discount on Tai Chi Music 1 CD, worth USD $8.00 or AUD $10.00.

    Limit to one order per person. Click here for more information or to place your order.

Upcoming workshops: by Dr Paul Lam

March 6 - March 7, 2010. Hobart, TAS, Australia
Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Training

May 8 - May 9, 2010. Singapore, Singapore
Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor Training

May 22 - May 23, 2010. Singapore, Singapore
Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Training

May 29 - May 30, 2010. Berg en Dal (bij Nijmegen), Netherlands
Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Training

June 5 - June 6, 2010. Tacoma, WA, United States
Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis and Tai Chi @ Work Instructors Training

June 7 - June 12, 2010. Tacoma, WA, United States
One Week Tai Chi Workshop

July 15 - July 16, 2010. Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
Tai Chi 4 Kidz Instructor Training
July 17 - July 18, 2010. Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis

July 24 - July 25, 2010. Sydney, NSW, Australia
Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Training

July 24 - July 25, 2010. Sydney, NSW, Australia
Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor Training

July 24 - July 25, 2010. Sydney, NSW, Australia
Tai Chi for Arthritis Part ll & Update

August 14 - August 15, 2010. Sydney, NSW, Australia
Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis

Many other workshops conducted by my authorised master trainers are listed in the Workshop Calendar.

Yours in Tai Chi,
Paul Lam, M.D.
 
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The Vince McCullough Story
Dr Paul Lam, Narwee, NSW, Australia
 
One morning last October, I was having breakfast with Pam Kircher, a family physician and Master Trainer, before the Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis workshop in Teller County, a sparingly populated county in Colorado. Pam was telling me when she was giving a talk recently at the MS Society in Durango, a lady in the audience said she saw an older man doing tai chi when she drove past the local park at 7 am every morning. Each time she would slow down and felt certain calmness for a few minutes.
 
This man is Professor Vince McCullough, who was the head of the Department of Physical Education in Saddle Back College, CA. He is the first to introduce tai chi as a regular curriculum for the college about fifty years ago and got academic accreditation for it. Saddleback College still runs tai chi classes to this day. He is admired by many including myself, for being an amazing person and his dedication to help others. He and his wife live part of the time in California and Durango. When in Durango he practices in the park every morning at 7am without fail.
 
Twelve years ago one of our Master Trainers, Caroline Demoise, moved to Durango, and very soon she knew about this man practicing tai chi in the park. Out of curiosity Caroline decided to make a point to meet Vince. At that time Caroline had already been practicing tai chi for fifteen years. Once they met it did not take long for Caroline to be one of Vince’s admirers. When Vince told her about my Tai Chi for Health program, and suggested she should meet me, Caroline immediately signed up for my workshop in California and Sydney. That was very uncharacteristic for Caroline as she had never travelled overseas and the effort and expense was very significant to her. To make that decision without even meeting me has to be huge respect for Vince.
 
Not long after Caroline learned the Tai Chi for Health program she organized a workshop in Durango. Pam being the Director of the Integrative Medical Centre at the Durango Hospital came along to support Caroline. Some years ago Pam had tried tai chi but did not pursue it as the way she was taught gave her a strong impression that tai chi was not for her. Pam came along to my instructors’ training workshop not expect much. However Caroline and I convinced Pam to give it a try. Once she started learning, she found tai chi to be enjoyable and soon became a very enthusiastic teacher. Not only did she find it beneficial for her own health but also for those she taught. In 2001 she became a Master Trainer in order to train other instructors. Recently she told me that one of the most fulfilling aspects, compared to her work as a physician, is the ripple effect. By this she meant the hundreds of instructors she has trained, who in turn, went on to teach thousands of students. She calculated that in seven years, she has reached over 25,000 people, improved their health and quality of life and prevented chronic conditions.
 
Dr Kircher said as a family physician she was only fixing up things that were broken, but as a tai chi Master Trainer she was training people to help others to become healthier and lead a proactive and preventative lifestyle. She felt this was much more effective and fulfilling for her. I can fully appreciate that since I am also a family physician. It is far more satisfying helping people manage their own health and wellness, rather then patching them up with pills, doing it over and over again till they deteriorate to the point of no return.
 
That brings me back to Vince McCullough. Vince had been teaching yoga and tai chi for over forty years before I met him. I met Vince through Troyce Thome, another one of our Master Trainers. Twelve years ago when Troyce organized the very first workshop I conducted in the USA, she said her teacher, Professor Vince McCullough, would like to meet me. After we met he asked if I mind him joining my workshop for half an hour or so. Of course I did not mind, I was delighted. He ended up staying for the duration of the workshop, and later became a Master Trainer until his retirement.
 
It is amazing how tai chi has a way of connecting each of us, and how so many people have felt Vince’s impact, directly or indirectly. Just from my breakfast conversation with Pam, we could see the numerous threads woven by this one remarkable man.
 
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Tai Chi in the Mountains of Colorado
Penny and Jeff Brandt and Judy Ross, co-ordinators of the Teller County “Exploring Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis” workshop.
 
How do you entice Tai Chi participants in a small mountain County?
Teller County is a small rural community in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA. Our population is only 22,000 people consisting of 2 small towns (population 7500 and 1200) and many people scattered across a large area. We are situated in a beautiful mountain setting at an elevation of 8,000 ft. to over 14,000 ft. (2440 – 4270 meters). Income levels are moderate with many retired people. We have only 39 people/mile2 (15/km2) with many scattered throughout the county.
 
Tai Chi for Arthritis was first offered here almost four years ago through the County Public Health Department. Classes are free and were initially offered weekly in one location. All are taught by volunteers that have been certified in Tai Chi for Arthritis. Today we have grown to seven classes per week in four locations around the county. People are working on both Tai Chi for Arthritis and Sun Style 73 Forms. In the winter when many people leave for warmer climates we have about 45 – 50 total participants in our classes. The numbers increase significantly in the summer when people return. We have also conducted classes at the request of several businesses for their employees. Dr. Lam recently joined us on a very snowy weekend for a Tai Chi in Depth Workshop with 38 participants. Tai Chi is going strong up here!
 
How do you start a tai chi program in a rural mountain community?
Our students come for the usual reasons: they want to improve balance, increase range of motion, be calm, and get a gentle stretch and workout. They want relief from the limitations and ‘pangs’ of arthritis. They return because, in addition to these valuable physical benefits, they find a spirited group of friends who share the fun of trying a new activity and they experience a new sense of well-being. Each class has a core group that will testify to all the benefits they enjoy each week from these on-going classes. Newcomers find they can participate from the very first class. Classes include the fairly fit who still hike, ski, canoe, and ride horses to those who participate from a chair with their oxygen tank beside them. Our classes have also become a place for learning about community events and opportunities: a county health program, a craft-woman’s pottery sale, farmers’ market news, etc.
 
An unusual aspect of the Teller County Tai Chi for Health group is this: All classes are free and on-going. All instructors volunteer to teach for no fee as a community service. Our community partners—libraries, schools, fire stations, senior centers—provide class space at no cost. Instructor training was initially paid for by grants obtained by the TCPH department which also covered the cost of DVDs, CDs and CD players. Although those funds are now depleted, we continue to receive important support from the TCPH: CPR certification, some printing and other occasional expenses. Our only source of income is from the sale of tai chi t-shirts. These monies are used to support recertification of instructors.

Potential students learn of our classes through a variety of sources. Word-of-mouth is a primary means of recruiting. Classes are also listed on the Teller County Public Health and library web-sites. The library, as one of our sponsors, has designed and distributes book marks with class schedules. We demonstrate TCA at events such health fairs and the farmers’ market. We are occasionally the focus of a local news article.

Being an on-going program presents a unique challenge. Several beginners enter our classes two or three times a month. We are fortunate to have adequate space—and flexible instructors—to be able to accommodate everyone.
 
The Future of Tai Chi in Teller County

The future looks bright and exciting here in Teller County. Much enthusiasm continues as we stretch in new directions while maintaining our current programs. We expect to:

  • Introduce Tai Chi for Diabetes and Tai Chi for Osteoporosis
  • Support instructor training for Sun Style 73 Forms and Yang Style 40 Forms
  • Sponsor short workshops by Master Trainer Merle Thompson, who lives nearby
  • Continue to participate in World Tai Chi Day
  • Advertise classes on TellerNetcast.com, a local internet radio site

We believe that offering classes for no fee is integral to our success. We realize that this isn’t an option for everyone. Perhaps, though, there are ideas here that can be applied to your own local program.
 

Dave Gray’s Journey in Tai Chi,
David Gray, former employee of the Teller County Public Health Department
 
I attended a class sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation and the Consortium of Older Adult Wellness (COAW) where I observed a man named Al Closer performed Tai Chi for Arthritis. I was moved. I had always wanted to try Tai Chi or even martial arts but had never had the time. Several months later (June 2006), I was given the opportunity to take the certification course in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and I discussed the opportunity with my supervisors. I really did not intend to teach it, but wanted to experience it.
 
I went to the class and met Dr. Pam Kircher, as well as the rest of my classmates. It was one of the best weekends of my life. I could feel the power. It sounds funny, but I somewhat perceived that Tai Chi was one of the ways that God had manifested himself to China. Unfortunately my wife’s grandmother passed away that weekend and I went straight to rural Kentucky. My wife’s grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease and so her passing was in many ways a blessing and a last reunion of several folks. I found that many of her friends, these rural ladies, were open-minded about Tai Chi and they wanted me to teach them what I had learned. We performed the basic six moves the best that I could teach and we even did some of the advanced moves. I learned that doing Tai Chi in the grass can be hard on the knees if we did not shift our weight correctly.
 
When I returned to my job in Teller County, I began teaching my co-workers and at several locations where we were promoting healthy living and active lifestyles. I did not expect that this community full of rural, mainly conservative people would take to Tai Chi. The price was free and before long I was surprised to have a class with over 25 students. Because my co-workers and I were having such a hard time getting adults to engage in our other health programs I started to offer more and more classes. We started classes at libraries, elementary schools, and senior centers in Teller County. Very soon after this I was certified to teach the Part 2 of the Tai Chi for Arthritis Program.
 
Although I thought I was a decent teacher I could tell that I was not giving all my students what they needed for their nourishment. I encouraged my students to follow Dr. Lam’s DVD’s and that became a source of controversy as it appeared that I had been teaching some of the moves incorrectly. Nevertheless I welcomed the dialogue and was successful in recruiting several of my students to become certified to teach. Although I knew that several might not teach, I thought it would be the best way for the program to become sustainable.
 
My grantors and my supervisors were not thrilled that Tai Chi was the path of least resistance that we had been searching for, for over four years, but that is what happened. I often found it hypocritical that at State Grant Meetings the State Health Department would use slides of us doing Tai Chi, but when they were questioning me about reports and my work-plan they did not consider Tai Chi as an evidenced based practice.
 
When I left Teller County Public Health in April of 2008, I found it difficult because of all the Tai Chi folks that I would miss. The only reason I could do it was that we had had so many people trained to teach and that the Tai Chi program would continue on its own. I went on to teach it in Pueblo, Colorado and currently teach it at the United States Air Force Academy Base Fitness Center. I have been successful in getting a Lt. Colonel to teach classes and we currently have 3 opportunities per week. I often think that there must be a way that Tai Chi can help me get escape the rat-race of my civilized life.
 

Pam Kircher’s Experience with Tai Chi in Teller County
Pam Kircher, M.D., Master Trainer for Tai Chi for Health, living in SW Colorado
 
I was first introduced to Teller County by Dave Gray at the first Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor workshop at the Academy of Older Adult Wellness in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. As an employee of the County Department of Public Health, he planned to bring TCA to the remote small towns in this mountainous sparsely populated Colorado County. The following year he returned for TCA Part 2 and brought more participants for Part One. They invited me to teach a Tai Chi for Arthritis II Instructor workshop in Teller County. At the workshop composed of some twenty Teller County tai chi instructors, we did a brainstorming about what would help tai chi to expand locally.
 
The group envisioned Dr. Lam teaching one of his Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis workshops right there in the Colorado Mountains. One of the instructors had experience as an event planner, I supported the plan and Dr. Lam agreed to come. So it was that the dream took on a life of its own after the workshop with multiple teams forming for various aspects of the workshop. Instructors taught in every valley of the county, residents began learning TCA and TCD and Teller County probably had more classes and students per capita than any other county in the U.S.! It was all because of the vision and drive of a small group of instructors with a passion for a project.
 
The Teller County experience has value beyond the large number of tai chi students and Dr. Lam’s workshop in a remote area. In spite of a sparse population and mountainous terrain, they didn’t say it was too hard. Yes, there were many possible excuses for not being successful, but they chose, instead, to look for the ways that they could make their dreams come true, no matter what the obstacles. I have used that image in many places in my life and am forever grateful to my Teller County tai chi friends for that living example of seeing things as they could be and making them happen.
 

Teller County Tai Chi for Health and Teller County Public Health
Jane Enger, MPH, Teller County Health Department
 
The Teller County community has greatly benefited from Tai Chi for Arthritis. Tai Chi in this county successfully reached more at risk individuals than any other single program Teller County Public Health (TCPH) has ever conducted. Through personal interviews, it became increasingly clear this program offered more than increased physical activity for participants. It increased range of motion and balance for many who had tried other modalities with little or no success. However, most participants also reported an increase in social connections.
 
In this county where geography and lack of a centralized communication system increases isolation and decreases positive health interventions, it has been very important to find ways to reduce those significant barriers and reach people who need it. All who have attended Tai Chi classes commented on how much he or she liked meeting with others and is more likely to continue to participate. Tai Chi has been accepted as a legitimate form of exercise
It should also be noted that Tai Chi classes have led to a stronger relationship between the community and TCPH.
 
Participants in Tai Chi classes have become contributors and leaders for various TCPH supported activities such as walking/hiking, community support groups, nutrition classes, and tobacco prevention. Because of the success of the Tai Chi program, TCPH developed strong communication tools that are now available for future community health outreach.
 
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How Does Tai Chi Benefit a Community in Hawaii?
Ileina Ferrier, Master Trainer, Kapolei, Hawaii, USA
 
It started with a teapot.
Often, I reflect on the first days of my teaching Tai Chi at the local YMCA on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.
As a new instructor, I was loaded down with all the usual teaching gear....and one special addition, a Chinese Tea Pot. It was the training aids that created the class, but it was that teapot that started to shape our community, or as we say in Hawaii, our Ohana, “family”.
 
It seemed natural to share tea after class to exchange what we learned and hear each others thoughts about our practice. It also seemed natural to create an environment and feeling of inclusiveness, a tai chi attitude, while embracing the philosophy of Tai Chi for Health.
 
Many of our participants have improved their physical health and personal sense of well-being by meeting to practice Tai Chi together. Now, many members are voluntarily sharing their Tai Chi with outside organizations such as, retirement residences, State Agency projects, hospitals, senior fairs and expos, or wherever they feel called to go.
 
Any community begins with individuals. Tai Chi facilitates wonderful transformation for individuals from the inside out. Then, the energy of Tai Chi just naturally overflows to others, as well. When I envisioned my first class, I expected a modest turnout. Today, our attendance has far exceeded the capacity of our studio.
The Tai Chi salute is the respectful reminder of Friendship, Humility and Strength together. These classroom behaviours are naturally carried into outside communities and they seem to expand on their own. Who doesn’t enjoy sharing the feeling of peace and harmony?
 
When we share with others the commitment of a vision or a principle, we strengthen our efforts to give each other the encouragement and support every person needs to be their best. In the world of Tai Chi, whether the vision is for developing compassion, finding peace, or improving total health, individuals can make a difference. As a community, through mutual support and synergy, the difference becomes even greater. It’s all moving energy, isn’t it?
 
Looking back, I suppose we could have had classes without taking time afterwards to gather over tea to share our thoughts and feelings. But, I am glad we did. Our membership has grown to become a self-sustaining community that willingly volunteers for many local causes under the name of the Leeward Tai Chi Ohana.

This makes me smile because I know they have embraced Tai Chi for Health as a way of life and will continue their practice as a family. This tells me that they have taken ownership for their health and are empowered to help others towards quality of life.
To think, all this started with a teapot.
 

Family in Every Sense: A Review of Tai Chi at the Leeward YMCA
Kelvin Lau, Tai Chi student and Leeward YMCA member, Hawaii
 
Our Tai Chi Ohana just celebrated its second anniversary here at the Leeward YMCA and during that time, we have grown from a bunch of people signed up to take Tai Chi into a vibrant family whose impact is being felt state wide and beyond.
 
When you talk about a family, where do you begin? Ileina Ferrier is the instructor, and while a mere youngster, has become the “mother” to our ohana with her guidance. She came to the Leeward Y with the message and mission of Dr. Paul Lam. I guess you could call Dr. Lam, the “grandfather” of our ohana if you will, for it is his Tai Chi for Health programs that Ileina is bringing to bear.
 
We started out learning the forms for Tai Chi for Arthritis and have been growing from there ever since. To this day, Ileina has helped to bring “Fall Prevention” to Hawaii seniors and is soon to begin a pilot program with the Hawaii Department of Health.
 
As great a heart as Ileina has and as hard as she works to promote Tai Chi programs for health in our community and as much as she has done already, she wouldn’t be nearly as successful as she has been without the support of her ohana. The “kids” if you will. Many of my fellow classmates have answered the call and have rallied to Ileina’s side to help promote these programs.
 
Ileina has taken the pebble from Dr. Lam’s hand and dropped it into the pond and the ripples are ever growing. While Ileina is certainly the catalyst for all of the good things that our Tai Chi ohana is bringing to Hawaii, the ohana members are the accelerant that is helping to make this thing grow. In other words, Ileina is the match and she applied it to the gasoline that is the ohana, and the fire is certainly burning brightly.
 
Each part of the family plays an important role in making the family stronger and better, and I for one appreciate each and every member of our ohana. We truly are family and have made great things happen. The best part is the best is still yet to come.
Malama Pono!
 
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Greetings from the Heartland of America!
Roy Geib, Ph.D. Alvin S. Levine Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine.
 
When I first read Dr. Lam’s request for individuals to submit articles focusing on the exotic places Tai Chi is taught, I thought, “Well that is one topic that I could not contribute to because Indiana is not an “exotic” area. I remembered the “exotic places” I learned: Tai Chi: Sun 73 at the beautiful resort of Asilomar; the Tai Chi for Back Pain off the Gulf Coast of Florida; the In-depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis in Durango, Colorado; Chen 36 in Sydney, Australia. Now those areas are exotic!
 
Then I started to think about the topic and what exactly does “exotic” mean. So I checked the definition at Merriam-Webster online. They defined the term “exotic” as “strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual.” “Wait just one moment,” I thought. I grew up 14 miles from New York City and saw that majestic skyline almost every day; I went to graduate school in Dallas, Texas and Tubingen, Germany; I did postgraduate work in the Bronx, New York and Atlanta, Georgia. Many would consider those places with their tall buildings and bustling traffic to be “exotic.”
 
But then I remembered the time I spent as the president of the Indiana Rural Health Association and the many beautiful rural areas of Indiana that I travelled…..“Strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different” clearly describes the rolling hills of Indiana. The fields currently covered with snow will soon have a mysterious rebirth and the landscape will have fields of corn that are taller than I!
 
Steve Walden and I had the privilege to teach Tai Chi for Arthritis at Kingsley United Methodist Church in the small rural community of Fairbanks, Indiana (pop. 728). The classes were free and open to the entire community at the invitation of Pastor Paul Myers and the church elders – offered as an outreach program to boost the health, both physical and spiritual, of the community. Over 20 members of the community consistently participated in the classes that resonated with joy and warmth. I feel that same warmth of spirit when working with our Breast Cancer survivor group and all the other classes that I teach. And then it finally sunk in – it is that spirit of community that is experienced among the members of a Tai Chi for Health class is essence of “mysteriously different.”
 
It is not the place, but the unique connection between individuals striving to move forward in their journeys that makes the Tai Chi experience “exotic.”
 
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Tai Chi in Aotearoa, New Zealand, “Land of the Long White Cloud”
Chris Hattle, Master Trainer, Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

People of New Zealand (NZ) have strong connections with the land while the land itself presents rich varieties of scenery from majestic to delicate, wild to serene, expansive to secluded. There is a natural sense of yin-yang throughout this small island nation. There is a sense that tai chi belongs here, where nature of land nurtures the people.
 
Tai Chi had long been in NZ before I started teaching ten years ago. Tai chi groups had built up through Chinese Associations and doors had been opened for people of other cultures to join in.
Then Dr Paul Lam brought Tai Chi for Health Programs. Tai chi was on the threshold of change. As a physiotherapist I could teach the tai chi way of moving within my work environment. Teaching tai chi in NZ is an absolute privilege. It is fun to go regularly to the differing communities where tai chi is taught for preventing falls and it is exciting to observe benefits for participants, and then hear them chat enthusiastically about their tai chi experience. People are finding they are more confident walking the beach, striding across farmland, shopping and doing the gardening…
 
Accident Compensation Commission’s tai chi programs for preventing falls have given huge boosts to tai chi exposure in medical fields. Staff at medical centres extends the welcome mat with enthusiasm when I arrive with brochures and class updates. This surely reflects that the medical world is experiencing growing confidence in the benefits of tai chi.
 
The wave of Tai Chi for Health Programs is steadily gathering momentum with an ever-growing presence in the community. Whereas ten years ago potential participants approached with either cautious scepticism or “side-glancing” curiosity to try something they had seen from a bus window as they travelled through China, now in 2010 they approach with knowledge that friends have had positive experiences and results from learning this “different way of moving”. These people are also finding that tai chi is a readily transportable program which they can take on holiday for the quiet of the mornings or to visit other NZ tai chi groups.
 
New Zealand people are stepping out and showing that they want to have tai chi as part of walking the life journey in NZ, the “Land of the Long White Cloud”

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Tai Chi in the Artic Circle
Amanda Lundvik Gyllensten, Master Trainer, Lund, Skane, Sweden
 
Was it a coincidence that brought Tai Chi for Arthritis to this long, snowy country at the Arctic Circle?
I will tell you the story about when TCA came to Sweden.

I am a physiotherapist teacher in the University of Lund. As part of my job, me and my colleague was doing a journey to Australia to visit the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne, but before that we wanted to stay a few days in Hong Kong. From the professor at my Department, I got the e-mail address of a woman that lived in Hong Kong, working with the World Health Organization. We had some mail-contact and she told me that she would have liked to show me some tai chi in Hong Kong, but that she was away in Beijing at the time for my visit, so unfortunately she could not see me. Instead she gave me the address of a person in Australia that was very good at teaching tai chi. Of course you can guess who that person was, and yes both me and my colleague were invited to a workshop in Australia, where Paul was about to have a Tai Chi for Arthritis workshop just at that time.
 
To make a long story short, I was fascinated and very interested, so I invited Paul to come to Sweden and have a workshop here. To my astonishment he accepted and we had the first workshop in Sweden 2004. It was a success in the health oriented context of Physiotherapy and has been followed by many more workshops by Paul and when I became a master trainer also by me. So very far from Australia in this little country in Scandinavia, TCA is now spreading to nearby countries both in Scandinavia and in northern Europe. I am now the supervisor of a randomized controlled PhD research project focusing the effects of TCA for patients with hip-osteoarthritis and we are planning to continue research with Tai Chi as intervention for patients with Schizophrenia and breast cancer. So also into the scientific community Tai Chi for Health is spreading here in Scandinavia.
 
Sometimes I wonder whether coincidence exists. Can it be that the positive effects of all the Tai Chi for Health friends around the world create this energy that is without boundaries and just grows and grows? I think for me, I am into this because TCA affects my own quality of life and my own health in such a way that I want to share it with other people, who in their turn also feel the power in themselves and want to share with others and so on...
 
I think that many of you will recognize this story or a story quite similar to this one. We are lucky to be part of the Tai Chi for Health movement and my conclusion is that we are moving the world by what we do, and Tai Chi for Health will spread to even more exotic countries ….

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Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health
Dr Bob McBrien, Salisbury, MD, USA
 
This winter in Maryland has set records for snow accumulation. Being stuck in the house calls for a good sense of humor, but imagine spending five days in hospital with no activity and limited staff. A friend of ours in her middle 80s was admitted to our local hospital with dehydration and related symptoms. Listening to her talk about her time on the fifth floor during a blizzard and hearing her laughter as she told stories prompted the theme for this month's essay. If you have similar stories send them to me at drbobtaichi@juno.com
 
*One day after a heavy snowfall, this announcement appeared on the bulletin board in the nurse’s lounge of my local hospital: "Student nurses will please stop again using this institution's sterile bedpans for sleds."
 
*A little boy was brought into our emergency room after ingesting part of a plug-in air freshener. After consulting Poison Control and monitoring him, the doctor wrote on his discharge, "Patient doing well. Ready to go home. Smells good."
 
*Prior to his biopsy, the patient confessed to a student nurse just how nervous he was. "Don't worry," the young nurse assured him. "You're just having a little autopsy."

*As my friend was admitted to the hospital, the clerk took his wrist, saying, "I'm going to give you a bracelet."
"Has it got rubies and diamonds?" he asked with a grin.
"No," was the answer. "But it costs just as much."

*Looking in on his elderly patient, the doctor saw that she was dressed and packing her small suitcase. After exchanging greetings the woman looked around the room and pointed at the many plants she had received as get well gifts. "Please doctor, pick out a few plants and take them home, I have too many to care for" she said
"No, no," he replied, " I don't think I should take any. Everything I touch dies."
 
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gram 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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