Tai Chi and Arthritis: Dr. Paul Lam and Born Strong–A Book Giveaway!

Born Strong Cover

Just off the presses! The story of Dr. Paul Lam and his breakthrough work with tai chi.  Here’s what the publisher writes:

Born in Vietnam, Bon Trong—meaning “born strong”—was only ten months old when he was left with his grandmother in China. Little did anyone know that soon thereafter, the Communist Party under Mao Zedong would overtake the country. For sixteen years, Bon Trong suffered abuses and terror from the Communist rule and narrowly escaped death from starvation during Mao’s disastrous Great Famine.

At sixteen he escaped to Hong Kong, terrified of leaving his family behind, and later made his way to Australia, where he adopted the name Paul. He became a doctor and was determined to help people…unaware that he would someday make positive changes around the world.

The years of starvation and malnutrition had left their mark.  He began studying tai chi with his father-in-law hoping to ease his painful arthritis. Moved by the art, he became an avid learner and expert in tai chi. Feeling he could help others, he started workshops to teach those who wanted to learn, and also instructed others how to teach the methods he had developed. 

The Tai Chi for Arthritis/Fall Prevention (TCFP) program is identified by the Administration on Aging as a highly effective program for health, and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends Tai Chi for Arthritis in their official guide for falls prevention.

Read more about Born Strong on the website of the Tai Chi for Health Institute.

Here’s an article on tai chi by the Arthritis Foundation and another on WebMD on joint pain and tai chi.

Giveaway! For a chance to win a copy of Born Strong simply leave a comment by September 1 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. and Canada only, thanks!

Author Photo Lam


Tai Chi Brings Balance after Breast Cancer


A post by writer Lisa Flinn:

In early January 2008, I felt like Alice plummeting down the rabbit’s hole into a new reality. I’d just received biopsy results confirming that the invasive ductal mass in my left breast was cancerous. 

Needled by worry, I’d seen my doctor three weeks earlier, and she had arranged for an immediate diagnostic mammogram.

Swiftly, appointments were scheduled for me at the University of North Carolina Comprehensive Cancer Center. There I met my team of specialists– Claire Dees, Keith Amos, and Jan Halle. Each person I encountered was gentle and plain spoken about my diagnosis and treatment plan. My emotions vacillated between hollowed-out fear and the flickering sense of new courage and openness. 

On that same day, I volunteered for several research studies. Less than 72 hours later, I readied my claustrophobic self for an MRI. Climbing on and turning face down on a sled-like contraption, I surprised myself by laughing. And still laughing, I wiggled my boobs into two openings, then rode the sled into the tube.

My laughter didn’t last too long. The imaging revealed suspicious atypical cells in the other breast. Pathology on those cells concluded the presence of lobular cancer. I was seized by numb shock. Might this additional finding indicate need for complete bilateral mastectomies?

I collapsed into my husband’s tender love and care.

When the hospital called me in for even more imaging, my surgeon, Dr. Keith Amos, met me in the waiting room as I arrived. He explained the MRI findings, addressed my concerns, and assured me that partial mastectomies on both breasts would be my best course of care. The surgery, six years ago on January 28th, with lymph node removal, went very well.

Our friends, family, and church encircled Bill and me with the warmth and light of a summer sun on those scary winter days. And as I recovered from surgery, then radiation, I began to crave something new and positive for my body. I chose five things. One of them was Tai Chi.

In July, I began Tai Chi classes with Nina Maier in Hillsborough, NC, and I was enthralled.

It took three years of practice to gain a rudimentary ability to move through the 108 positions of the Wu (Hao) form.


More importantly, NIna led me along an ancient path towards intention, balance, patience, strength, and a mental and physical readiness to act. In Nina’s ongoing class, she also teaches Shiba Luohan Gong for breath, flexibility and energy work.

It’s 2014, and I’m still loving the class!

The concentration needed to learn and improve is good for the mind. The practice is wonderful for the body. The mind and the body house and rouse the spirit. Tai Chi has been a true avenue to my healing and overall health. 

Lisa Flinn is a year-round organic gardener who delights her family and friends with home-canned creations.

As the author of twenty-two books for children, teens, and adults, she appreciates the contrast between her all-season outdoor labors and her fruitful diligence at the desk.

One Moon: Learn more about Lisa’s  instructor, Nina Maier, on her website.

Photo One: Gongs made  from oxygen and argon tanks by Lisa’s husband, welder Bill Flinn

Photo Two: Lisa strikes a pose called “Grasp Sparrow’s Tail.”

Photo Three: Lisa, who has been my writing partner for twenty-five years.

Lisa Flinn