Newsletter #90 - January 2009
In this newsletter
Jef Morris gives us an insight into how he used Tai Chi for Arthritis to influence the mind in smoking cessation. A successful student can vouch for his method.
Besides sharing with us his experience teaching tai chi in mental health settings, Ralph Dehner quotes recent studies showing how tai chi relates to mental health.
- Shelia Rae provides us with detailed information of this attractive venue in Memphis where the one week workshop in June 2009 will be held.
A past scholarship recipient Jessica Myers tells us how such an opportunity enabled her to enrich her tai chi experience.
82 year old Barbara Dasent from Wellington, NZ shares with us how she was transformed from hardly able to walk to feeling fit, healthy and walk unaided, all with the help of a caring teacher and Tai Chi for Arthritis.
Tai Chi for Arthritis – Instructional DVD
Tai Chi for Back Pain – Instructional DVD
Tai Chi for Beginners Instructor Training
May 16 – May 17, 2009. Lund, Sweden
Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
May 30 – May 31, 2009. Hartford, CT, United States
Tai Chi for Osteoporosis Instructor Training
June 6 – June 7, 2009. St Paul, MN, United States
Tai Chi for Back Pain Instructor Training
Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructors Training
Paul Lam, M.D.
The Mind, TCA and Smoking Cessation
Jef Morris, a Master Trainer and his student, lrelis Milhet, Miami, FL, USA
How can Tai Chi for Health contribute to individuals who want to stop smoking?
Our research study on Smoking Cessation and the Effectiveness of Tai Chi for Health, with the University of Miami has begun. From the first group of 3 Tai Chi for Arthritis classes per week, for 12 weeks, some mental shifts occurred. These mental shifts seemed to follow the subtle shifts in the body as the participants embarked on tai chi exercises. One participant in particular, Irelis, took the approach that she would stop smoking when the time was right. In our discussions on how tai chi could help them stop smoking, I asked them why they smoked. All replied they smoke for the sensation from exhalation. This sensation of relaxation is in part what we strive to achieve in tai chi, without the harmful effects of smoking.
How does Tai Chi relax the Body to relax the Mind?
Irelis has many responsibilities in her life, and for a time suffered form panic attacks. A long term fast walker, her heel would often hurt before she completed her walk. Using Tai Chi for Arthritis, we focused on breathing, flexibility, and being mindful of her intentions. When we practice the movement open - close, as we open our palms and elbows, we can sense an arising tension in the body, like how strong emotions, such as craving appear to rise from within. There is an in between time when you practice the movement open and close. Just before you close, take a moment and use your mind’s intention, to let go of the tension you sense, and then allow the tension to release as you close the movement. Flexibility, and developing control of shifting one’s weight, is also about developing the awareness to use the power of your mind to make the choice, and succeeding. When we feel safe, another part of us flows smoothly, and we sleep well. Yet many of us carry too much tension, and have become numb to how much tension we hold in our body. If you are a smoker, feeling levels of stress and anxiety, the chances are there are times you are also unaware how much you hold your breath. When there is an accumulation of high physical tension, releasing this is like craving for the sensation from exhalation.
An Email from Irelis Milhet :
”Last night, someone said something out of their own frustrations that made me a bit upset/emotional. The moment I started to feel that way, I was about to reach for my “comfort stick” on autopilot and then I realized that I wasn’t supposed to yet (I’m cutting way back first). I do pat myself on the back for breathing and doing some warm-up Tai Chi exercises and then taking a nice hot shower (water puts out fires, right? 😉 ) instead of smoking. It’s been interesting to me how simply being aware of those feelings when they arise and breathing into those tense spots how you can actually feel the wave rolling away again.
Ralph Dehner, Master Trainer, Cincinnati, OH, USA
Shelia Rae, Master Trainer, Memphis, TN, USA
The cost is only $ 40.00 for a gourmet meal with no extra charge for entertainment and Memphis memories that will last a life time.
In terms of bringing Tai Chi to others: In the fall I taught an eight-week class for troubled adolescents living in an institutional setting. The class was a huge, and stressful, learning experience for me, but the kids were wonderful and did not want the class to end. I am working to arrange an ongoing course for them.
I have been teaching some TCA sessions at the local community college this academic year. This has brought a somewhat wider age-range of students, and has let me see how poorly prepared campus activity centres are to meet the needs of the older participant. I hope to participate in a group designed to raise awareness about the needs of this fastest growing segment of the fitness clientele.
I also have a student who has just signed up for TCA at the summer workshop. He hopes to certify to teach, so he can provide classes in rural Missouri where interest has already begun to build. He would be my second student to certify.
Finally, I am in discussion with the local university to offer a college credit course late next spring. This would begin to reach a completely unserved age group in the area.
I am honoured to have received the scholarship and so grateful for the opportunity it provided to improve my skills and confidence, so I can be a better teacher to my students.
Barbara Dasent (aged 82), Wellington, NZ
by Dr. Bob McBrien
No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell ... That's why perfume and deodorant are so popular. Mae, age 9
If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don't want to do it. It takes too long. Glenn, age 7
They want to make sure their rings don't fall off because they paid good money for them. Gavin, age 8
They are just practicing for when they might have to walk down the aisle someday and do the holy matrimony thing. John, age 9
I'm in favour of love as long as it doesn't happen when 'Dinosaurs' is on television. Jill, age 6
Yesterday I kissed a girl in a private place ... We were behind a tree. Carey, age 7
I'm not rushing into being in love. I'm finding fourth grade hard enough. Regina, age 10
Just see if the man picks up the check. That's how you can tell if he's in love. Bobby, age 9
Lovers will just be staring at each other and their food will get cold... Other people care more about the food. Bart, age 9
Flaws Bob, DOM, Chinese Secrets of Health and Longevity,
Bolder, Colorado. Sounds True Audio. 1996.
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Ph.D., “Changes in Brainstem and Cortical Auditory Potentials During Qi-Gong
Meditation”. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. Vol. XVIII, Nos. 3-4: 95-
Novey, Donald W., M.D. Clinician’s Complete Reference to Complementary/Alternative
Medicine. Mosby Inc., St. Louis, MO. 2000.
Reinemann, Deborah, “ROM Dance: A Treatment for Symptoms of Depression and
Anxiety in Adults with Mental Retardation.” Dissertation Abstracts International
Section B: The Sciences & Engineering. Sept. 1999, Vol. 60(3-b), 1051
Sandlund, Erica S. and Norlander, Torsten,” The effects of Tai Chi Quan Relaxation and
Exercise on Stress Responses and Wellbeing: an Overview of Research.”
International Journal of Stress Management. Apr. 2000. Vol. 7(2), 139-149.
Schorr, Mark, M.A., LPC, “Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Mental Health”. Qi, The Journal of
Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness. Summer 1999. Vol. 9 No. 2: 9-11.
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.