NHS classes for chronic pain cancelled

Dear All

I am sorry to announce that all Tai Chi for chronic pain classes are cancelled as of Monday 23 March 2020.

We are working very hard to set up alternative, online provision. Please check here for updates.

I have been told that we may NOT use ‘whatsapp’ for communication as it is not secure enough.

Kind regards

Matthew.

Tai Chi for Chronic Pain

Relaxing into Life

We have been teaching Tai Chi for Chronic pain since 1997, and have found it to be very successful in helping to manage chronic illness. It has enabled many sufferers to reduce their medication while increasing their mobility and comfort. We have also found that it is effective at returning the confidence that is so often lost when suffering from chronic pain. For a representative selection of feedback from people who have benefited from our classes please see our feedback page.

Tai Chi is not a pill and it does not work over night. However it does provide a range of effective tools for dealing effectively with pain.

In our classes, pain sufferers have:

  • Learned to relax
  • Learned how to cope with pain
  • Greatly reduced their pain and their medication
  • Increased their range of pain-free movement
  • Learned to reduced stress and calm the mind
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Returned to standing and walking without need of support
  • Gained confidence
  • Made friends

What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi developed in China about 300 years ago as a combination of the best martial arts movements of the day and much older qigong and neigong energy practices. This combination proved very effective, not only for fighting but also for healing. Today the vast majority of people who practice Tai Chi do it for their health alone. It is now the most practiced health exercise in the world.

There are many types or styles of Tai Chi which emphasize different aspects of the art, as a result some forms, such as the Yang Style are better if you are just physically weak, while others, such as the Wu Style that we teach, are better at healing damaged joints, tissue and organs. Others, such as traditional Chen Style require you to be healthy before you learn them.

The Wu Style that we teach is recognised as being particularly effective at healing the joints and internal organs. It contains many healing aspects that are rarely taught openly, even in China. We have found that with chronic pain it is best not to teach much of the Tai Chi sequence of movements, know as the ‘form’. Instead, we mainly teach elements of the qigong and neigong side of Tai Chi as separate gentle exercises, which enable pain sufferers to gain the benefits of Tai Chi without learning a large number of movements.

What to expect in our classes.

We begin with a gentle warm up, usually done sitting unless it is more comfortable for you to stand. We then move on to various exercises, done very gently to help release different parts of the body. Often patients have particular areas that they ask to look at.

There tends to be a variety of sitting, standing and moving exercises in each class. At the end of the class we usually do some gentle breathing exercises, which are particularly effective for relaxation and for reducing anxiety and other negative emotions such as anger.

Where are the Chronic Pain classes?

At the moment there are no dedicated chronic pain class outside of the NHS. However Dave’s ‘Tai Chi for Health & Relaxation’ classes in Deal and Folkestone and Gary’s ‘Tai Chi Fundamentals’ classes in Rainham and Sheppey are also suitable for people with chronic conditions. Matthew also has students who suffer from chronic conditions in his Canterbury, Faversham and Whitstable Tai Chi Fundamentals classes.

What to wear:

Loose comfortable clothing and flat shoes.

NHS

Tai Chi on the NHS

We have taught Tai Chi and related practices on the NHS since 1997. As far as we are aware we were the first to do so in the UK.

We began in the Pain Clinic at Kent & Canterbury Hospital. In 2007 we moved to the Integrated Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (ICATS), which is now called the Community Chronic Pain Service, and expanded to cover East Kent.

In the twenty-one years that we have been teaching Tai Chi for Chronic pain in the NHS we have found it to be an effective way of helping people to manage chronic illness. It has enabled many sufferers to reduce their medication while increasing their mobility and comfort. We have found that it also is effective at returning the confidence that is so often lost when suffering from chronic pain.

Tai Chi is not a pill and it does not work over night. However it does provide a range of effective tools for dealing effectively with pain.

We have been able to help people to combat a broad range of chronic illnesses including: back and joint problems (e.g. injuries, arthritis, sciatica), circulatory problems (heart function, hardening of veins and arteries, lack of circulation in the hands and feet, high and low blood pressure), breathing problems (Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema), nervous problems (MS, nerve damage), lack of energy (Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, low immunity), digestive problems (IBS),  Connective Tissue Disorders (Hypermobility Syndromes), poor sleep, anxiety and stress related illnesses.

The service is now running at ten sites throughout East Kent: Ashford, Canterbury, Deal, Dover, Faversham, Folkestone, Minster-on-Sea, Sittingbourne, Ramsgate and Whitstable.

Referral by GPs

The service is only available via referral by GPs into Community Chronic Pain. For the contact address and and overview of the Community Chronic Pain (ICATS) service, please see the webpage, here.

There is a PDF download of the referral criteria which you can print out and take to your GP.

Articles & Interviews in PDF

Articles

For those who like properly formatted articles, here are all of the articles from the blog (and some that have not yet made it there) in PDF format.

Embodied Philosophy

Being Way Oriented

Do Not Let the Great be the Enemy of the Good

Making Use of the Middle

Nurturing Life

Rounding Off the Corners

Study not Studying

Taiji and the Procrustean Bed

Tailoring Change

Why So Slow 1

Why So Slow 2

Seasons

Autumn

Winter

Spring

Summer

Long Summer

Bibliographies

Laozi (Daodejing, Tao Te Ching)

Interview

with Master Bruce Frantzis on the Tai Chi Classics.
Reproduced from Tai Chi Chuan & Oriental Arts, Vol. 35, Autumn 2010,
with kind permission from the editor.
Bruce Frantzis on the Tai Chi Classics

Chronic Pain

This article is written for teachers who are interested in this aspect of Tai Chi for health preservation and rehabilitation.

Teaching Tai Chi for Chronic Pain