• Physical activity: movements like those taught through Tai Chi increase the growth of brain cells as well as blood vessels, which in turn help to compensate for a memory patient’s loss of those physical elements; such movement also reduces inflam- mation within the brain, which helps compensate for various pathological results of inflammation, including dementia.

This recognition of Tai Chi’s benefits for those with cognitive impairment brings us back full circle to Dr. Paul Lam. While he and others in the Tai Chi for Health Institute recognized the cognitive benefits of teaching TCA to individuals experiencing some mental decline, they came to understand that there was a need for a new Tai Chi form—one specifically intended to address issues surrounding memory. Working with medical practitioners and physiologists, over a series of years Lam developed Tai Chi for Memory (TCM), a simple, beautiful combination of moments from the Sun and Yang Tai Chi styles. Experimental trials to de- termine the full extent of TCM’s impact on human mental abilities have begun and will continue for decades. Lam estimates it will be ten years before the initial reports will be published. In the meantime, TCM has become available worldwide. On October 8-10, 2018, in Cape Coral, Florida, approximately 50 instructors became certified to teach TCM in the United States. The intention of Dr. Lam and those who worked with him

to create TCM is to provide a simple, highly effective Tai Chi form that will have maximum effectiveness in combating memory issues. TCM was designed to be learned by Tai Chi instructors and memory caregivers as well as those who are experiencing

memory issues themselves. The form may be taught to a person at virtually any point on the dementia scale. It can be taught to a person in a standing, seated or prone position. One of the Tai Chi instructors who was certified to teach this

new form in October, 2018, spoke of the new hope he had that he would be able to reach out to his students who were dealing with memory issues: “During the last months of my father’s life, Alzheimer’s had taken away his ability to walk and talk or do any for himself. A few weeks before he died, a couple of his brothers came to see him. They lived 1000 miles away and hadn’t seen him for a couple years and they knew this was their chance. When Dad saw them, he spoke to them. He tried to get up out of the bed to go with them. He thought they had come to take him back to the farm where he grew up. I realized then that, even though our family and the caregivers were doing the best they could, more could have been done for him. More could have been done to stimulate his mind, to stimulate him physically and to stimulate his communication. I think Tai Chi for Memory is the ‘more’ that I can do.”

Dr. Mike Simpson holds four teaching certifications from the Tai Chi for Health Institute, including Tai Chi for Memory and Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention. He currently teaches at several locations including the Shepherd’s Center in Winston-Salem. For information about TCM or TCA, contact Dr. Simpson via email ( or by telephone (336 918-0108). You may also contact him for links to the studies listed in the article above. See ad on page 22.

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