Tai Chi for Arthritis: 12 lessons with Dr. Paul Lam , is a gentle and effective Tai Chi exercise program. Led by Dr. Paul Lam, this two DVD set provides detailed teaching and practice for Tai Chi routine developed for individuals with arthritis. This Sun style Tai Chi practice focuses gently on flexibility, mobility, balance, breath control, and toning. According to the text on the case, this DVD will be “[a] safe and easy-to-learn program proven to relieve pain and improve health and balance.”
The DVD begins with an Introduction explaining Tai Chi its health benefits and overviewing research confirming the benefits of the Tai Chi for Arthritis programs. These programs were developed by Dr. Lam in association with the Arthritis Foundation in the U.S. There is also a short section reviewing safety practices.
The exercise routines on this DVD are divided into twelve lessons, teaching and practicing the twenty-one form Tai Chi practice. Each section includes a brief welcome and message. The menu is clear and easy to navigate. Each lesson begins with the same gentle Tai Chi-style warm-up. During the warm-up, two exercises for each included section of the body are practiced, warming up the neck, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, and ankles.
During the teaching portions, new forms are introduced. Dr. Lam’s teaching is clear and easy to follow and includes information regarding Tai Chi. Each lesson concludes with a brief cool down.
Each session builds upon the previous sessions. The DVD set includes two DVDs with six lessons each. As one progresses through the lessons, previously learned forms become two short flowing sequence. The second DVD includes demonstrations of the longer sequence as they flow together, with views from the back and front. The forms taught in this DVD include the following: commencement form, open and close, single whip (to right and left), wave hands (to right and left), brush knee (to right and left), parry and punch (to right and left), block and close (to right and left), push the mountain (to right and left), closing.
To be able to fully participate with this tape, the user must be stand, balance, and move through a variety of very low impact stepping positions. To fully participate, the user should also be able to move the trunk from the spine, and move the arms. The warm-up exercises are demonstrated in a seated position as well as standing.
Two months ago, I had surgery to my hip. Since getting off crutches about three weeks ago, I have been practicing Tai Chi almost daily with Tai Chi for Arthritis. I have found it to provide a safe, gentle, and effective form of exercise for me while I have been recovering. Afterwards, I feel relaxed and energized and have not experienced any pain during or after this exercise.
Research has supported the health benefits of Tai Chi such as improved balance, decreased risk of falls, better cardiovascular health, increased strength and flexibility, improved sleep, and reduced neck, back and joint pain. For example, Individuals with peripheral neuropathy experienced improvements in their ability to walk, leg strength, and sensation. Be sure, however, to discuss any new exercise with your physician before beginning.
Individuals with greater experience with Tai Chi may find this tape to be somewhat slowed down by the detailed instruction given. However, for those who are new or at a beginning level with Tai Chi, the clear instruction and demonstration will provide easy to follow and thorough beginner-level instruction.
This tape will be especially beneficial for those with health concerns that affect mobility, such as arthritis or neuromuscular disease. Individuals without health concerns may find this tape useful for days when they wish to exercise more gently.
Overall, I would highly recommend this video, Tai Chi for Arthritis: 12 lessons with Dr. Paul Lam . Many individuals with neuromuscular disease will find this DVD useful for learning a Tai Chi practice that improves mobility, flexibility, and balance, and provides safe and gentle toning.
Arthritis Foundation, (2014). Tai Chi. Retrieved from http://www.arthritis.org/resources/community-programs/tai-chi/ on 4/11/14.
Li L, Manor B., (2010). Long term Tai Chi exercise improves physical performance among people with peripheral neuropathy. American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 38(3):449-59. Abstract can be viewed at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20503464 .
Lam, P., (2009). Tai Chi for Arthritis: 12 lessons with Dr. Paul Lam (DVD). Tai Chi Productions.
Tai Chi Productions: Dr. Paul Lam. Retrieved from http://usa.taichiproductions.com/ on 5/31/14.
WebMD (2008). Health Benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/balance/health-benefits-tai-chi-qigong on 5/31/14.
FTC Disclosure: The DVD reviewed in this article was purchased by the author for personal use.