Tai Chi at Caswell Clinic

By popular demand we have now started Tai Chi sessions. The group has been very popular with 12 patients and staff attending (the vast majority being patients).

As detailed in the last edition of Caswell Chat it is an ancient Chinese martial art actually called Tai Chi Quan. Tai Chi helps with various physical movements leading to relief of back and neck pain as well as release of stress and tensions, it can also help with arthritis.

Any one can practise Tai Chi. It is very relaxing, consisting of gentle warm up exercises, meditation and very slow movements.We have a very relaxing one hour session on a Friday afternoon.

Basically, we only need to exercise for 10 minutes daily to receive the benefits of Tai Chi.In fact Tai Chi gives maximum energy to the individual. I look forward to updating how the Tai Chi sessions progress in the next edition of Caswell Chat.

Providing Tai Chi training in the Clinic was initially a suggestion that originated from the Men's group. It was subsequently passed over to the Occupational Therapy Department and so I looked into finding out if we could get an instructor into the clinic.

At around this time I got in touch with Life Long Learning, a government initiative that provides funding for individuals to gain further training. Linking in with this initiative with the purpose of gaining a Tai Chi instructor, enabled the Clinic to have the service free of charge and so subsequently provide two sessions per week; one for patients and staff and one for staff only.


Paul Baker is our Tai Chi instructor and comes with 25 years of martial arts experience, including Karate and Aikido. Paul's interest in Tai Chi developed 9 years ago due to his suffering back and neck problems as well as vertigo; he now no longer suffers from any of these. Having personally experienced its positive health benefits, he is a strong advocate for the practice and began teaching it 4 years ago. The training to become an instructor takes 5 years, which Paul completed in 4 and now teaches the Yang long form within the clinic.

History of Tai Chi:

Tai Chi or 'Taijiqan' in its original spelling which came about in 13th century AD, has been said to be the mother of all internal martial arts. Initially the martial art was developed to save the lives of those living in China who were threatened by difficulties caused by the feudal system. Many believe that over time this martial art developed into the Tai Chi we know today through the work the Chen family.

How does it work?

Links in Traditional Chinese medicine have aided Tai Chi in its development into a form of self- healing allowing the whole body to work in total harmony. Disease is a sign that your body is at dis-ease in itself, Tai Chi helps to regain the balance needed for health and wellbeing.

It is believed that we have energy flowing along twelve 'meridian' lines in our body. These energy lines take energy, or chi, around our body much like blood as it runs through veins. The chi is said to heal our internal organs as it continuously flows in a 24 hour daily cycle; completing full cycles every 2 hours. It is believed we have access to an abundance of energy that sits in the 'tantien' (within the stomach region) and moving through the Tai Chi form accesses this store and carries it around the body. The movements within Tai Chi help the chi to flow through the meridians so allowing additional healing within our bodies. Movement through the form of our body links with certain internal areas within the body, for example the hands and feet correspond with the stomach and spleen.

There has been much positive feedback from both the staff and the patients who attend the sessions regularly, many enjoying the end relaxation. The Tai Chi form is started from the beginning in each session so come along if you are interested in attending

By: Nicole (OT Dept)