Funding Success Stories (Westminster): Tai Chi Movement for Wellbeing

Tai Chi Movements

Innovation Fund Feedback from our friends at Breathe Easy Westminster

Tessa was awarded the Innovation Fund to provide a new exercise form of Tai Chi for Wellbeing which focuses on meditation and wellbeing, not just the strengthening of muscles.

“Tai Chi Movements for Wellbeing” is a special trained style of Tai Chi that was taken forward by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) for their specialised tutors, who were level 4 Lough borough trained to give exercise to those with respiratory or mobility problems, but is also suitable to help those undergoing stress.

On the 17th April Tessa held an initial taster session with the BLF tutor, Sandra Shaw, to gauge response, which was positive with 32 residents attending the session. They agreed for her to commence weekly classes that started on the 15th May 2019 and the last course session concluded on the 8th November 2019.

In preparation, they arranged the use of the top floor space at Ada Court where the room would be prepared beforehand to make space for the classes weekly. Flyers were designed and published on-line, in local libraries and community centres. Landscape flyers were also designed as suitable for screen projection and in GP foyers.

The classes commenced with approximately 20 participants. The numbers fluctuated of the weeks with the lowest attendance being 5 people, highest amount being 25 residents and a regular group of 19 residents attending on the register appearing intermittently over the duration of the programme. A group emailing and texting facility for members was set up.

All new members completed at Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q). This is a form that if a box displaying a possible physical problem is ticked (e.g. recent chest pain) – then the applicant must gain their GP‘s permission. They also completed a COPD Assessment Test (CAT) forms before starting the course, and again at the end to allow an assessment of wellbeing progress.

Tessa said that she experienced difficulty in obtaining sufficient ‘after’ surveys as the last meeting only had 9 attendees out of the 25 registered with the ‘before’ survey. In spite of this, those that did complete the forms showed between an 8% and 14% improvement in their condition.

Tessa stated that the tutor was extremely well liked, empathic and supportive and members gave personal feedback. This includes:

  • The class was lovely and the teacher Sandra, was delightful.
  • I am so sad the class has come to the end. I have MS and it has helped so much.
  • Not only has my asthma been more controlled but I have loved every week, Sandra is brilliant.
  • I feel a lot better since I joined and have met nice people also.
  • I enjoyed the classes and found my use of salbutamol lessened.
  • The classes have improved my breathing, noticed after 3 sessions. It helps me both mentally and physically and I feel more centred and focused, Sandra is a wonderful teacher, caring and kind.
  • I have very much enjoyed this class and have found it helpful in keeping my joints moving and improving my balance.

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