A distillation from decades of experience
TMW was created by Richard Farmer, an internationally renowned Tai Chi Master, who saw the need for a simple, enjoyable and effective way to gain and maintain health and wellbeing. His vision was to bring the life-long benefits of Tai Chi and meditation into an easy-to-learn programme that could be taken up by anyone at any stage of life or health.
Part of the vision was to get TMW, a proven and safe sequence of movements, into the places of greatest need – hospitals, residential units, rehab centres etc. So a teacher training course was designed so that even without Tai Chi experience, someone could train to teach TMW in just 8 days.
Dr David Quinn, a consultant clinical and neuro-psychologist with Hereford NHS, had long been a student of Richard’s. He had great concerns as he watched NHS resources running low, as demand on the service rose. His vision was that if existing NHS employees could work with groups of patients rather than solely with individuals, there would be a better chance of supporting the 1 in 3 of us who will eventually develop a long-term health condition.
In 2009, Dr Quinn sought NHS funding to pilot the newly-developed TMW programme within the Acquired Head Injury Unit. Patients with Aquired Brain Injury struggle with a wide range of symptoms similar to other long-term health conditions (LTHCs) – such as Parkinson’s, MS, ME and dementia. If it worked for them, it should work for all LTHCs.
The results were astounding. [Download a summary of the findings.]
In just 8 weeks, TMW was showing it could address physical, psychological and emotional issues, as well as empowering people to continue their own self-care safely and enthusiastically. The study showed statistically significant improvements in:
- Balance and coordinated movement.
- Social confidence, elevated mood and reduced distress.
- Sense of participation within their life.
- Energy, flexibility, sleep, emotional stability.
(Quinn & Halliday 2009)
With the success of the pilot, the next stage of development was to train NHS health professionals, so that they could use TMW on a regular basis to support people in their care. As Richard trained the physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and other therapists, Marigold Farmer was capturing the process to make it replicable. This resulted in a highly sophisticated training package which enabled people without Tai Chi experience to have everything they needed, in order to share TMW.
Over the past ten years, Marigold has worked with Andrea Bailey to continue developing and delivering the TMW teacher training course to health professionals (including physios, OTs, mental health nurses, cardiac nurses, pain consultants, clinical and neuro psychologists) and also to others from all professions and walks of life.
Currently, there are 110 TMW Teachers across the UK and in Europe, bringing the gift of this work to thousands of people each week.