Tai Chi on the NHS
We have taught Tai Chi and related practices for chronic pain 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-five 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.