Newsletter 41

Number 41

June 2011


June Special:

Help your students learn and remember their lessons by posting the movement charts in the classroom. Your students can take advantage of this month’s special by purchasing the charts for their practice at home too.

Buy the TCA and TCA2 wall charts and get the Warm Up and Cool Down chart free!  Package price $25 including p&p.  Not to be used with any other discount or offer, one set per person.  Offer expires 30 June 2011. As Dr Lam’s New Zealand Agent, I do have his entire range in stock, which you can view at the Products link on this site.


“Keeping Tai Chi Active in New Zealand”

Our first Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday, 6th August in Wellington.  The venue will be the very pleasant Aro Valley Community Centre in Te Aro. All members are invited.  The event includes:

  • Three hour revision session of the Stepwise Progressive Teaching Method with Chris Hattle
  • Lunch
  • AGM
  • Sun Style 73 Revision session with Toi Walker

The Sun 73 session is an opportunity for instructors who are familiar with the form to practice and get some depth and fine tuning with Toi.  He would like to encourage instructors who have not yet learned the form to follow along and participate. Toi hopes this will encourage all TCHI instructors to learn the Sun 73, extending their knowledge of Sun Style Tai Chi.

For more details contact Hazel or Tamara Bennett (


Anthony Busch is moving to Brisbane, and has resigned as Treasurer.  Many thanks to Anthony for all his hard work for the Committee, and best wishes for his new life in Oz.

We welcome Geoff Neill from Porirua as our new Committee member and Treasurer.  Many of you will know Geoff from various workshops which he has attended around New Zealand.  You can read more about Geoff at this link:


2012 Workshop to mark in your diary!

Dr Paul Lam presents …

Tai Chi for Energy                            August 2-3 2012

The Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis    August 4-5 2012

This double workshop is to be in the Manawatu region.

Contact person will be Chris Hattle

More information will be posted in this newsletter as it comes to hand


Tamara Bennett (Waiuku) and Hazel Thompson (Christchurch) are authorised to conduct group practice sessions for those who want to brush up on their form.  Below are the details of Tamara’s June session.

Ponsonby Community Centre

20 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland

Freda Stark room

(Tamara will supply afternoon herbal teas and biscuits)

TCHCNZ membership application attached, if you are interested in joining

Tai Chi for Health Practice Session Sunday 12th June


Venue: TBA (Central Auckland)

Introductory special price of $35 (reduced from $40) for the 3 hour practice session.

Or the special TCHCNZ member price of $30, if you are a current financial member of TCHC NZ.

If you are not a member yet, please visit , you will find information and an application form on the TCHC NZ section of this Tai Chi Productions NZ website.

Payment by internet: Tamara Bennett – Westpac #03 0406 0739577 00 (please use your name as reference)

Payment by Post: Tamara Bennett, 996 Waiuku Road, RD1 Pukeoware, Waiuku 2681

*Please email me to confirm you have made a payment

The Tai Chi for Health practice sessions will run for 3 hours with a tea break.

There will be time to ask question regarding the form, tai chi principles and teaching methods.

Tai Chi for Health Forms we can practice: (determined by the group)

TCA – Tai Chi for Arthritis

TCA part 2 – Dr Lam’s revised arrangement with 41 moves, knowledge which is required for the TCA part 2 certification course.

TCD – Tai Chi for Diabetes

TCK – Tai Chi for Kidz

Sun Style 73


Many thanks to all those who sent me details of the Tai Chi Chih study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, and special thanks to Dr Joe Rosencwajg who also sent the second study from the Faseb Journal.   The numbers of studies being conducted in to the effectiveness of tai chi is increasing, and it is interesting to note that improvements are being documented across a wide range of medical conditions.

American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry:

Complementary Use of Tai Chi Chih Augments Escitalopram Treatment of Geriatric Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Background: Nearly two-thirds of elderly patients treated for depression fail to achieve symptomatic remission and functional recovery with first-line pharmacotherapy. In this study, we ask whether a mind-body exercise, Tai Chi Chih (TCC), added to escitalopram will augment the treatment of geriatric depression designed to achieve symptomatic remission and improvements in health functioning and cognitive performance.

Methods: One hundred twelve older adults with major depression age 60 years and older were recruited and treated with escitalopram for approximately 4 weeks. Seventy-three partial responders to escitalopram continued to receive escitalopram daily and were randomly assigned to 10 weeks of adjunct use of either 1) TCC for 2 hours per week or 2) health education (HE) for 2 hours per week. All participants underwent evaluations of depression, anxiety, resilience, health-related quality of life, cognition, and inflammation at baseline and during 14-week follow-up.

Results: Subjects in the escitalopram and TCC condition were more likely to show greater reduction of depressive symptoms and to achieve a depression remission as compared with those receiving escitalopram and HE. Subjects in the escitalopram and TCC condition also showed significantly greater improvements in 36-Item Short Form Health Survey physical functioning and cognitive tests and a decline in the inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, compared with the control group.

Conclusion: Complementary use of a mind-body exercise, such as TCC, may provide additional improvements of clinical outcomes in the pharmacologic treatment of geriatric depression.

Copyright (C) 2011 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry

Effect of green tea polyphenols and Tai Chi exercise on bone health in postmenopausal women with low bone mass: a 24-week placebo-controlled randomized trial

Chwan-Li Shen1, Ming-Chien Chyu7, James K Yeh8, Yan Zhang2, Barbara C Pence3, Carol K Felton4, Jean-Michel Brismee5, Raul Y Dagda3, Susan Doctolero6, Mary J Flores6 and Jia-Sheng Wang9

1 Pathology and LWBIWH
2 Family and Community Medicine & LWBIWH
3 Pathology
4 Obstetrics and Gynecology
5 Rehabilitation Sciences
6 Clinical Research Center, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX
7 Healthcare Engineering Program, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
8 Medicine, Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, NY
9 Environmental Health Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Osteoporosis is a major health problem in postmenopausal women. This study evaluated the effects of green tea polyphenols (GTP) supplementation and Tai Chi exercise (TC) on bone health and related mechanism in postmenopausal osteopenic women. 171 postmenopausal osteopenic women were assigned to 4 groups: placebo, GTP, placebo+TC, and GTP+TC for 24 weeks. Overnight fasting blood and urine were collected at baseline, 4, 12, and 24 weeks for bioavailability, bone turnover biomarkers (bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, BAP; tartrate resistant acid phosphatase, TRAP), and oxidative stress damage (8-OHdG). Muscle strength was evaluated by wall-sit test at baseline, 12, and 24 weeks. Data were analyzed statistically. After 24 weeks, 150 women completed the study. The levels of urinary epicatechin and epigallocatechin as well as that of serum epigallocatechin and epigallocatechin gallate were significantly higher in GTP-supplemented groups than placebo groups. GTP supplementation increased BAP levels after 4 weeks, while TC exercise increased BAP levels after 12 weeks. Neither GTP nor TC affected serum TRAP levels. The GTP, placebo+TC, and GTP+TC groups suppressed 8-OHdG but improved muscle strength after 24 weeks. Our data demonstrated that GTP supplementation and TC exercise benefited bone remodeling and muscle strength in postmenopausal osteopenic women through a reduction of oxidative stress damage.


As mentioned in the May issue, we are very lucky in Christchurch to have a body named Active Canterbury, which liaises with physical activity providers.  They recently sent out a series of messages suitable for presenting to classes where pupils may be suffering from post-traumatic stress, and have given us permission to share them with other teachers.  I included two last month, and here are the next two for your resource kit.

(These messages mention earthquakes, but can be adapted to fit many situations.  Please do remember Dr Lam’s directive, however, that the TCHI training only qualifies us to teach tai chi, and be sure to advise stressed pupils to seek professional help where necessary.)

Message 3

Your eating habits

Anyone who has maintained ideal and healthy eating habits over the last few weeks has probably not been in Christchurch! Some people have lost all desire for food feeling too stressed and uptight to eat; others have found themselves ‘mindlessly munching’ and overeating less than useful food as a comfort. Food also seems to be the common currency offered as a gesture of support and love which makes it hard to turn down.

Check list for getting your eating back on track

  • Are you taking time for breakfast? Is it nutritionally rich? Eggs, low sugar – low GI cereal and fruit for example?
  • Although safe drinking water is more difficult to access currently make sure you are consuming enough water throughout the day and especially when you exercise.
  • Don’t let the “treat” foods you are eating get out of control…muffins, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, pies etc. Allow them once in a while rather than on a daily basis. Or if you are eating them regularly can you reduce the amount? E.g. Are two small pieces of chocolate sufficient rather than the whole bar?
  • How many vegetable and fruit servings are you having a day? Vege up as much as possible.
  • Begin to plan meals properly again rather than just being subject to opportunist eating.

Just like exercise, eating healthily is going to help our recovery by allowing us to feel as good as we can under the circumstances. Taking charge of your eating and exercise will also give you some feelings of control and normality.

Message 4


Good quality sleep is in short supply right now. A common lament seems to be “I feel knackered but I am just not sleeping!” Many people are getting off okay but waking frequently and sleeping fitfully or waking and then not being able to get back to sleep at all.

It is a normal reaction given what we are going through but sleep deprivation makes everything tougher – emotionally and physically – so here are a few tips that may help.

Don’t rely on alcohol to sleep. It may seem to help you relax and fall asleep but the fact is that it actually causes sleep interruption. Try a hot drink instead (caffeine free of course) before you turn in. If you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine don’t drink it after 1 or 2 pm as one cup of coffee can take up to 7 hours to work through your system.

Eat earlier in the evening. Going to bed on a full stomach is anything other than conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Try to keep your bedroom free of stimulus like computers and TVs. Go to bed to sleep.

Exercise each day. This will dissipate the adrenaline that builds up and keeps you in a state of mild anxiety.

Practice being still each day. Try to get a period of time (even if it is only 5-10 minutes) when you sit in a quiet place and do nothing. Close your eyes and focus on breathing rhythmically and evenly.

Some strategies for when you do wake up…

1.        Progressive relaxation. Work through the following areas of your body – contracting and relaxing the muscles in each area as you focus on them. Feet, calves, thighs, glutes, abdominals, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, jaw, forehead. Repeat 2-3 times.

2.        Abdominal breathing. With your hands on your belly, breathe in for the slow count of 4 making your hands rise. Breathe out slowly for 4. Continue this for at least 10 breaths.

3.        Nostril breathing. Visualise breathing in one nostril and out the other. Then swap nostrils. If you try this you will realise it is impossible to do but that doesn’t matter, but you only need to imagine doing it.

4.        Your favourite place. Visualise a place that always calms you. It could be a garden, a park, a beach, a mountain, it doesn’t matter what it is or whether it is real or imaginary. Recreate that place strongly in your mind, with all the sights, sounds, smells and feelings it evokes. If you are feeling anxious or worrying you might like to repeat some calming phrases to yourself as well such as “This will pass” “I am okay” “All is well” or whatever resonates with you.

Catch you next month,