Newsletter #38 - September 2004
In this issue:
-- Dear Friends from Dr Paul Lam
-- How to Help Make Tai Chi More Enjoyable by Dr Lam
-- Tai Chi Poem by Jason J. Dislers
-- How Tai Chi for Arthritis Helped Launch Tai Chi in the Park by Dahlis Roy
-- Information about our products by Celia Liu
-- PMS. You don't have to put up with it!by Your_Health - An Australian Medical Newsletter
-- Funny Bones - medical humor by Your_Health
Click on the title to read the article, and here to read previous newsletters
Last month I promised to show you photos of Indianapolis, Here they are. You can click on each picture for a large image. Indianapolis has an amazing 1.47-mile canal at the centre of city. The canal walk is sensational!
Thanks for your positive feedback of Bob Greene's motivation for exercise, and also for your suggestion that readers who have benefited from Tai Chi for Arthritis write to Oprah Winifrey about the TCA program. If you have or know anyone whose quality of life has improved as a result of the Tai Chi for Arthritis or the Tai Chi for Diabetes programs, please consider writing to her producers via www.oprah.com.
One of the most important reasons people like tai chi is for the enjoyment they get out of it. To get a good start, one's first teacher is important. For example, after my several years of urging, a friend of mine finally decided to try tai chi. At her first lesson, the teacher taught the class a warm-up exercise for the entire lesson-the one you swing your arms around both sides. At the end of the lesson, the teacher told my friend that she didn't do the warm-up exercise correctly, and that tai chi is a sophisticated art. The teacher also told her that she wanted to continue that she must pull up her socks. My friend, totally discouraged, stopped tai chi after her first attempt. You can imagine my frustration after my efforts in getting her to start tai chi. In all my workshops, I try to share ideas on how to make tai chi more enjoyable. In this issue, I have chosen the two most important keys to doing that.
I always admire people who can write poetry, and I'm glad Jason sent has sent his poem. Dahlis is a tireless promoter/teacher of tai chi. Her experience in launching tai chi lesson in the park could inspire many.
Tai Chi Productions is a company started by me to realise my vision of sharing tai chi for improving health and quality of life. It has an Australian and USA divisions with dedicated staff who are driven by the same purpose. All orders and enquires are proceeded by these wonderfully enthusiastic real people. I hope you enjoy interacting with real people instead of a digital going-nowhere-land like some large corporations. We appreciate your support and would like you to know that most of our profit are put back to tai chi. Our USA director Celia has written an article to help making your orders even easier. Do check out the two articles from "Your_Health".
The new integrative medical journal The Medical Paradigm has now published its inaugural issue. I've written an article "Tai Chi for Back Pain: Rationale and Available Evidence Supporting Tai Chi as a Complementary Therapy." You can download this issue free online in a PDF format at www.medical-paradigm.com
Flying can be a health hazard. A recent study published in the Lance has shown that around 1% of people after flying for more than four hours suffer from deep vein thrombosis (clots in the vein that travel to the lung), a serious, possibly fatal condition. I believe the whole body gets adversely affected with long flights, not just DVT. To minimize the health problem, I have created a set of exercises combining tai chi, qigong and back stabilizing muscles. The exercises are easy to learn, and you can practice them within the confines of your seat. I have used them during my numerous flights and have found them helpful. They're now on a DVD as the feature product of this month. And for this month, we're going to throw in the Tai Chi Music CD with it-a great gift idea for you or your friend.
There are two helpful reviews for the videos/DVDs this month: "Qigong for Health" by Carroll <caz eyre> and "Self Defense Application Chen Style" by Bill <BillT>. I think both reviews are helpful to browsers so I have chosen both as the reviews for this month. Congratulations, Carroll and Bill! You have each won a Tai Chi Music CD. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your CD. Readers are invited to write reviews by going to Forum: Comments and Reviews; find the title you wish to review and click reply. I would be happy to send you a free CD for review containing helpful information. Click this link to the Forum. http://www.taichiproductions.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=4.
I'm leaving now to conduct workshops in UK, Sweden and the USA, hope to see you there. Please forward this newsletter to your friends who are interested in tai chi or my workshops. If you wish to come to the one-week workshop in Sydney, January 2005, please enroll as soon as possible to ensure your choice of class. You can enroll online at: http://www.taichiproductions.com/workshops/displaygen.php?workshopid=57
Below is a list of my coming workshops. For more information go to: http://www.taichiproductions.com/workshops/index.php
-- 9-10th Tai Chi for Arthritis part I and II Instructor's training in Birmingham, UK
-- 23-24th Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor's training in Minnesota, USA
-- 30-31st Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor's training in San Diego, USA
-- 20 - 21st Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor's Training Workshop in Christchurch, NZ
-- 9 - 15th Sydney, Australia - One week Tai Chi Workshop
Believe it or not, we have now got the June 2005 workshop in Florida organised with brochures printed. Please email us at email@example.com if you wish to have one or many brochures sent to you.
Paul Lam MD
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Let's say that someone created the best exercise for health. Let's also say that it was boring. You'd find that few people would practise it. Long-term enjoyment is a vital component of life.
There's irrefutable evidence that exercise will improve health and well-being, but unfortunately, this doesn't necessarily mean that most people take up exercise with great zest and stay with it. They have to enjoy it. Many people have found tai chi enjoyable. It is very important for the first tai chi teacher to help making it more enjoyable for the beginners. this will bring more people to tai chi and stay with tai chi, thus benefiting more people's health.
Having taught tai chi for many years and to many people, I've found the two most important things that help people enjoy tai chi apart from the intrinsic pleasure of moving the body in natural rhythm. The first is the sense of achievement and the second, positive feedback.
Sense of Achievement
It's natural for our body to move as its designed to do. Moving our body in a gentle and supple way-a tai chi way-is pleasurable, once people learn how to do it. It's helpful at the beginning phase not to emphasis the martial art aspect because it will cause tension and muscle stiffness. It's also helpful to create a positive and friendly environment so that students are more at ease.
Let me tell you this story about a friend of mine who finally decided to try out tai chi after being encouraged by me over several years. At her first lesson, her teacher taught the class a warming up exercise for the entire lesson - the one you swing your arms around both sides. At the end of the lesson she was told that she did not do that correctly, and that tai chi is a sophisticated art, she needs to pull her socks up if she were to continue. My friend was totally discouraged and stopped her first attempt.
An instructor can do much to facilitate the sense of achievement. If your students find leaning easy and achievable, they'll enjoy it more. Among other things, use teaching material that is digestible by most, if not all students. Give clear and simple instructions, teaching a small step at a time and slowly building it up. Keep reminding yourself that the things that seem easy to you are going to be much harder for your students. My Stepwise Progressive Teaching Method is a proven effective way to teach based on those principles. (I will appendix it at the end of this article.)
Most people will be threatened by an overwhelming task. You have a good chance of scaring your students away at your first few teaching sessions by telling them how sophisticated tai chi is. Instead, place emphasis on the benefits, the enjoyment and the fact that if the students practice they will continue to progress and gain more benefits.
This is really another form of enforcing the sense of achievement. Train yourself to look at your students' good points. No matter how slow your student is, there must be something good about his or her tai chi. If you look hard enough, you'll find it. It's a good idea to give several positive feedbacks before you give your student one point of improvement. Studies have shown that positive encouragement is more powerful than criticism in facilitating learning. Many people find this difficult to do because being critical is human nature. Most traditional methods of teaching focus on correcting as much and as soon as possible, probably because of the belief that once a student acquires a bad habit, it's much harder to correct. This thinking doesn't help because no one can be perfect in tai chi, let alone beginners. Therefore, a few bad habits can't be avoided. At the beginning, if you strive for perfection by giving your student so many corrections that you overwhelm him or her, you risk putting them off of tai chi forever.
You might recall times when you've pointed out mistakes to your student and he or she immediately starts telling you a whole list of reasons for making those mistakes. Chances are that you have just stepped into their insecurity area, and as a result, they have now put up an invisible wall. They're tense and subconsciously their guard's up. They will learn more slowly than if they were relaxed and receptive. Students are much more likely to be relaxed and receptive with genuine positive feedbacks.
There are numerous ways to help your students enjoy tai chi. People who are passionate about their art tend to find ways to enhance it. The fact that you've read so far means that you are passionate about helping your students to enjoy their tai chi. I know this is the key, and you already got it. My best wishes to you and your students. I'm sure you're going to find the journey enjoyable and fulfilling.
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Tai Chi is such a peaceful recreation
Need little time, just some dedication.
Movements for the body, mind, and soul.
Give you inner strength to relieve the mind's tolls.
The Eastern Art, only mastered by a few.
Just some practice, you could be, too.
It's a great way to start the day.
Improve your health and also pay.
Increase the blood flow through the body.
An ancient art, definitely not shoddy
Will stimulate growth to build your muscle.
When you're feeling stronger, you will bustle.
Utilise the power of your mind, over your vessel.
Dispel the negatives, it's a personal wrestle.
Flap your arms like that of bird's wings.
Freedom of flying, a soul contentment brings.
Enforce your actions with mental weights.
Try something heavy, like iron gates.
Total balance of energy you aim to achieve.
A mind game with your body, I believe.
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This past summer, I received a surprise E-mail from John Young, M.D. in South Haven, Michigan. I have known Dr. Young for 10 years, and he has seen my physical health, strength, and appearance improve with tai chi practice. Dr. Young had a "dream idea" about a program called "Tai Chi in the Park." Could I help? "Yes!"
We began piecing together plans for a kick-off program based on Dr. Lam's TCA, proudly sponsored by Shoreline Women's Center at South Haven Community Hospital. The hospital would do advertising, registering, collect fees, and pay salaries. I checked with the Fitness and Wellness Insurance I have through TCAA for an OK. Logo flyers went up advertising "Tai Chi is fun and easy," and "Check with your doctor before beginning this exercise program." Walk-in's would be welcome.
Tai Chi in the Park would be for five weeks, one hour per class, in beautiful Stanley Johnston Park where giant pine trees spike like cathedral spires. South Haven is a quiet lakeshore community sporting beautiful white sandy beaches. Sailboats dot the lake. South Haven would be perfect for the new class.
I reflected back to many summers ago in Illinois, where an informal group gathered early weekday mornings in Franklin Park for one half hour of Yang long form practice, no instruction, just silent flow. We warmed up before and cooled down after practice to touch earth and sky, feeling peaceful tranquility. Social bonding and sharing strengthened our motivation to keep practicing. It was very important to feel this daily tai chi connection the way the art is practiced in China. I remembered I couldn't bend then, and now I can. I had pain in my body then, and now I am free of pain thanks to tai chi. I wanted to re-create this feeling of practicing tai chi in tune with nature in Michigan.
To help team-teach Tai Chi in the Park, I invited George Eddy, a fifth degree Black Belt in Okinawan karate to join me. George is also certified to teach TCA, and he enjoys teaching tai chi for health benefits. What format would we teach as "Introduction to Tai Chi" in only five weeks? We chose Dr. Lam's Head-to-Toe Warm Up, followed by a short form of only five movements from 18 Style Taiji Qigong (Shibashi). Then we would gradually introduce the first six movements of TCA, followed by cool down.
The first day dawned, and the hospital hoisted a big banner saying "Tai Chi in the Park!" It was a cool silver mist morning so layered clothing was the order of the day. My son, Rob, visiting that week, joined George and me in the front row. Some years ago, Rob had introduced me to his teacher, Dr. Jiong Gu. Gradually I learned tai chi and later taught, appointed by Dr. Gu.
Twenty students, both men and women, gathered ranging in age from the mid 20s to the early 70s Maureen and JoAnn, helped greatly with the registration processing. TCA fit perfectly in the park, and we could recommend Dr. Lam's videos and web site in a hand-out packet. Other literature included material developed by Heads Up Falls Prevention Task Force from Area Agency on Aging, Region IV plus basic tai chi guidelines. Students loved TCA and stuck with the program. TCA was perfect outdoors where ground could be uneven, while other styles of tai chi might cause problems with secure footing.
As students became more familiar with the Basic 6, we tried Dr. Lam's talking CD. Each week, we introduced a few more of the 18 forms. So that in the final class they could experience the whole flow with music background, and teachers could enjoy increased relaxation too. We even reversed the six as in Tai Chi for Back Pain to gradually introduce the student to the joy of flowing practice.
The future: Tai Chi in the Park will continue with morning and evening classes that George teaches. New teachers can be inspired to attend seminars and certify with Dr. Lam and Master Trainers (Coming workshops are posted online at http://www.taichiproductions.com/workshops/index.php. Shoreline Women's Center will sponsor many programs including stress reduction seminars, a variety of integrated exercise classes, and a lending library where Dr. Lam's books, videos, and music can be found. A Grand Opening is scheduled soon. A state of the art fitness center is planned, connecting with the hospital, complete with exercise room showing a beautiful wood floor and quiet setting, physical therapy facilities, and pool. "Tai Chi in the Park," a state of mind, can be practiced indoors or out, winter or summer. Tai Chi in the Park is Dr. Young's "dream idea" come true. Dr. Young just E-mailed, "We've probably touched 50 people with these classes already." Dream big!
Dr. Lam's tai chi vision is in live action. Like ripples in a pond, similar programs are developing worldwide Dr. Lam likes to add, "All is possible with the mind!"
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We have enjoyed working with many of you throughout the years. As we grow, the specifics of how to place an order come up almost daily. We have therefore outlined the various ways to order, so that you can select the most convenient for you.
Ordering via our Website:
You may place your order directly on our secured website www.taichiproductions.com. After successful placement of the order, an automated confirmation will be sent to your email address within minutes of submission. Please check your order carefully, making sure that the confirmation indicates the exact item(s) you have ordered. Please ensure that you have selected the relevant system (i.e. VHS or DVD).
For NTSC format (USA, Canada, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, & South America, etc.), you can reach EAV-USA order processing directly by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For PAL format (Australia, New Zealand, UK, China, India, Singapore, and Europe, etc.), email email@example.com
Ordering by Fax
You may fax your order together with credit card number & expiration date to:
1-916-237-3859 - USA (NTSC Format)
61 2 9534 4311 - Australia (PAL Format)
(Please include your phone number and email address in case we need to get in touch with you).
Ordering by Phone:
You may place your order by calling the following phone number:
1-916-967-5696 - USA (NTSC Format)
61-2-9533 6511 or 9533-6150 - Australia (PAL Format)
Ordering by Mail:
Direct mail orders can be sent to the following:
P.O. Box 3102, Rancho Cordova, CA 95741 USA (NTSC Format)
6 Fisher Place, Narwee, NSW 2209, Australia (PAL Format)
Please include your phone number and email address in case we need to get in touch with you, and your check, money order, or credit card information for the order.
Shipping and Handling charges for RETAIL per order of any quantity by SURFACE MAIL is $5.95 (for shipment within USA or Australia). Orders are generally processed the next business day. However, we have no control on the actual time for delivery by common carriers, we therefore request that you allow between 1-3 weeks for door to door delivery. Generally, within USA or Australia and via airmail to around the world, it takes 7 to 10 days for delivery (often it may take less time).
Please note the following EAV-USA's new address and phone number. We also have new additions to our team, Benjamin and Theresa.
Tai Chi Productions
East Acton Videos Inc
P.O. Box 3102,
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741
Celia L. Liu, Director
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About 80% per cent of menstruating women get premenstrual syndrome (PMS) unpleasant physical or psychological changes in the week before periods. For most women the symptoms are mild, but a small proportion have severe PMS which disrupts work and home life.
The common symptoms of PMS include:
u Depression, anxiety and irritability.
u Breast swelling and tenderness.
u Abdominal bloating and constipation.
u Fluid retention.
u Headaches, muscle aches, poor concentration, clumsiness and food cravings.
The symptoms of PMS settle once the period is over, leaving a symptom-free stage in the monthly cycle. Keeping a diary of your symptoms for 2 or 3 months can help to identify your complaints and link the timing of symptoms to your periods.
How is PMS treated?
The exact cause of PMS is not known, however effective treatments are available. A healthy diet, regular exercise and stress management are important. Try to reduce stress at home and at work before periods.
u A daily calcium supplement (1200mg calcium carbonate) significantly reduces PMS symptoms and also protects bones.
u Vitex agnus castus, a herbal extract from the chasteberry tree, is also of proven benefit and has a low rate of side effects.
u Some antidepressants (SSRIs) are effective in low doses for more severe cases.
The contraceptive pill, anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. naproxen), fluid tablets and vitamin B6 are also sometimes used. Evening primrose oil is usually not effective.
For more information speak to your doctor or go to www.fpahealth.org.au.
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'Measles! Chickenpox! Tetanus!' the doctor shouted. Puzzled, a patient asked the receptionist. 'Why is he shouting like that?'
The receptionist explained, 'He likes to call the shots around here.'
Three retirees, each with a hearing loss, were playing golf one fine March day. One remarked to the other, 'Windy, isn't it?'
'No' the second man replied, 'It's Thursday.'
And the third man chimed in, 'So am I. Let's have a beer.'
Doctor: 'Did you take my advice about your insomnia and count before going to sleep?'
Patient: 'Yes, but it didn't work very well.'
Doctor: 'That's funny, it's usually very effective. What happened?'
Patient: 'I got as far as 32,876 and then it was time to get up!'
How does Michael Jackson pick his nose?
He looks through a catalogue in the plastic surgeon's office.
If you have a lot of tension and you get headaches, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: 'Take two and keep away from children.'
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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.
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