Paul Lam, M.D., of Sydney, Australia, is an internationally recognized tai chi expert, family physician, and founder of the Tai Chi for Health Institute. As a Canyon Ranch Institute Visiting Scholar, Paul spoke at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and led workshops with CRI and Canyon Ranch team members. Paul focused the workshops on the benefits of tai chi, especially as a way to prevent falls. Many CRI programs address balance improvement and fall prevention. The human and financial cost of falls is high across the world, and all falls are preventable.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that falling is the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for Americans over age 65. The CDC also predicts that one-third of seniors will fall each year, leading to a direct annual cost of $34 billion. Falls can also lead to a fear of falling that may result in inactivity that can increase chronic disease and decrease quality of life. Clinical trials have confirmed the efficacy of Dr. Lam’s Tai Chi for Fall Prevention approaches. In contrast to traditional styles of tai chi that focus on form and require deep knee bends and other movements that are challenging for some people, Dr. Lam’s approach emphasizes an upright stance and the safe transfer of weight. Participants can be seated, and positive outcomes can be seen in two months.