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Master Teaches How Tai Chi Can Help Diabetes

29 AUGUST 2008

International Tai Chi Master Teaches How Tai Chi Can Help Diabetes At Wellington Weekend Workshop

New Zealand tai chi instructors are gathering in Wellington this weekend to learn from a leading Tai Chi exponent how the ancient Chinese martial art form can help Type 2 diabetes sufferers.

The world-renowned tai chi master, Dr Paul Lam, will be teaching a two-day workshop in Wellington [Karori Recreation Centre, 9 – 5, Saturday and Sunday] on how a modified form of the martial art can manage and help prevent the disease.

Around 50 New Zealand instructors will be attending the workshop, some of them from health organisations that are adding tai chi to their programmes aimed at managing Type 2 diabetes.

Many of those attending already teach ACC’s modified tai chi, which is aimed at older New Zealanders who are at risk of falling because of age or health conditions that affect their physical strength and balance. More than 6000 older New Zealanders attend ACC’s tai chi classes each year to improve their balance and fitness.

Chinese-born Dr Lam, now a general practitioner living in Australia, has developed a series of internationally recognised forms of tai chi for health and disease management. These include tai chi for arthritis and falls prevention, osteoporosis, diabetes and back pain.

“Medical studies have shown that gentle exercise can actually help prevent diabetes in 60 percent of those who are predisposed to the disease,” Dr Lam said. “People with diabetes who exercise regularly have better control over their blood-glucose levels and fewer complications such as heart disease and stroke. This specially designed tai chi programme is gentle, easy to learn and enjoyable, and most importantly, it is safe for people with conditions such as diabetes.”

Dr Lam has first-hand knowledge of how tai chi can help because he used it to cure himself of early onset arthritis. His tai chi for Arthritis programme has been rigorously tested in medical trials and proved effective. It is endorsed by health authorities and arthritis support organisations in countries such as the United States, Britain and Australia.

Tai chi for Diabetes is gaining increasing attention because the disease poses a huge health and economic threat in western countries including New Zealand. Dr Lam has just released a book on the subject with one of Australia’s most eminent diabetes experts, Dr Pat Phillips.

As a traditional exercise form practised by millions of Chinese, tai chi is renowned for improving fitness, body strength, balance and general well-being. Although some tai chi forms are combative and vigorous, others are slow and gentle, ideally suited to those with health problems.

The Tai Chi for Diabetes workshop will run from 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday at the Karori Recreation Centre, 251 Karori Road, Wellington. It is not open to the public but media access can be arranged.


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