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By West Norwood Therapies Team, May 2 2019 11:54AM

Massage therapist and yoga teacher Erika Zettervall shares her experience of Hannah's tai chi workshop and the impact on her life force - and recommends you give it a try.


May the forth be with you: the date 4 May has with a pun transcended into the official Star Wars day.


We might not be able to offer Obi-Wan Kenobi or other Jedi masters nor the use of light sabres at West Norwood Therapies but we do have handle on“the force”and have some powerful therapist and teachers on hand. We can build, tune, direct, gather and strengthen either in class with Hannah (tai chi/qigong) or Emma/Yinka (yoga) or by receiving a treatment with Philippa (acupuncture), Melanie (Reiki) or healing hands from me, Veronica, Tessa or Lauren.


The force, being the Life force energy that animates our physical form and flows through, within and around us always. Known to every wisdom lineage – Prana to the Yogi, Qi to the Chinese Ki to the Japanese – it is this vital force that gives us life and the universe life. When it is directed with conscious intent it brings deeper meaning and wellbeing to our lives and when it is on point and in balance, we often feel “in the flow” and we are only mildly affected by the challenges and difficulties we will ultimately incur. We might feel lifted by some unnamed energy which gives us the grace and support to navigate life. This anonymous energy is your life force.


I have mainly been familiar with the Sanskrit term for primary energy; prana (sometimes translated as breath but, comes from the two Sanskrit words pra - constant and na - motion and means constant motion or constant movement) as yoga has been my thing for about 20 years. Much of my own practice revolves around building and regulating prana. However prior to discovering yoga, I took tai chi classes regularly for about a year. It was my first experience of energy practice and a revolutionary discovery to me. So when Hannah joined us I was keen to revisit the chi, by taking one of Hannah’s workshops to see what I remembered. Not much, is the answer at least not the details. But it was very good and enjoyable.


I understand to be Tai chi is a form of martial art practiced with slow graceful poetically named movements woven together on the breath. Mastering the slow motion movements prepares the fast explosive ones. The slowness allows the brain to register the full range of the movement sequence. Then the explosive swift movements can be precise and efficient, in the same way dancers and rock climbers rehearse moves slowly slowly to the be executed effortless and swiftly later.


Hannah teaches small classes and she moves and teaches like a peaceful warrior with grace, confidence and precision. It’s very accessible and easy to join in but best benefit from a series of regular classes as the graceful poetic movements reaps greatest rewards from many many repetitions.

The chi? Yes it felt very balancing, soothing and revitalising and I may think the force be with me and if you fancy the force be with you and turning into a peaceful warrior, come try Hannah’s tai chi/qi gong.




By West Norwood Therapies Team, Apr 1 2019 03:36PM

Tai chi and qigong teacher Hannah Horsfall shares the gentle yet powerful effect of tai chi - perhaps suggestive of a good way to approach life


Many of my students find themselves surprised at the end of a gentle calming session they also feel as if they have “done a good workout”!


It is often thought that Tai Chi is so slow and so gentle that it could not possibly offer anything like the cardiovascular benefits of other more vigorous exercise. However in the programme “Trust Me I’m a Dr” a beautifully clear experiment was conducted between a group of adults doing 12 weeks of Tai Chi and a group doing 12 weeks of Zumba!


Watch this 2 minute film to see the results!











By West Norwood Therapies Team, Feb 27 2019 08:51AM

Tai chi and qigong teacher Hanna Horsfall shares some information on what qigong is and how we can understand it in the context of current research on fascia, health and healing ahead of her qigong workshop on 16th March.


Qigong (pronounced chigung) directly translated means energy skill/ training.


Qigong can be practised as a series of flowing movements or practised without movement other than breathwork and mind focus.


There are obvious musculoskeletal benefits alongside developing internal awareness, sensitivity and a calming of the mind.


Practising Qigong can lead to deep relaxation that brings benefits in itself. This also allows for the freeing up the of flow of bodily fluids through the systems we are aware of in the West, circulatory, lymph and digestive but also the flow of Qi through the chinese meridian system as used in acupunture.


Ba duan Jin (eight silk brocades) and Wu Xin Xi ( Five Animals) are both ancient qigong forms that work with all the meridians facilitating balance and promoting health and self healing.



In China qigong is part of the national health plan with it being practised in Hospitals, schools and workplaces. Currently tai chi, better known in the West, is popular in China but many more have Qigong as part of their daily practise.


Interestingly, the relatively new research in western medicine into fascia and myofascial trains run very closely along the same routes as the ancient chinese meridians.


The following documentory explores the fascia with regard to the musculoskeletal system, the impact of stress, and the experience of pain.This opens up a whole new world of understanding of the body and , I hope, help to promote how the body can heal itself.


There is a long way,however, to catch up with the knowledge of the fascial realtionship to the internal organs, its potential as a trainable sense organ and its interralationship with both the internal and external stimuli.


The video I am sharing mentions, physiotherapy, yoga and acupunture but not Qigong.

In time…..


So I let you draw your own conculsions from the programme and invite you to to experience qigong for yourself!


Watch The Mysterious World Under The Skin documentary


Hannah‘s next Qigong workshop on Saturday 16th March 9.30 – 11.30am More info and booking





By West Norwood Therapies Team, Feb 6 2019 11:00AM

Our tai chi and qigong teacher Hannah Horsfall shares how she found her way to being a tai chi and qigong teacher and then to West Norwood Therapies


This is my first blog for West Norwood Therapies, in fact my first blog ever! A dream way to begin my journey into social media!


Finding myself thinking what in the imensity of the subject of tai chi and qigong can I focus on I decided on this first blog to say a little about my own journey and the benefits I have personally experienced through my practise of both tai chi and qigong.


My initial contact with tai chi and qigong was through a one day CPD workshop for health professionals in 2004 which left me loving it but very cautious about going away and teaching others from a certificated one day course!


A couple of years later, after the birth of my second child, understanding that running around after two under fives is not really exercise, I attended a tai chi class. I could hardly walk after the first session but after a brief time practising felt the benefits in more ways than I expected and my comittment to training began in earnest!


My teacher training was a few years off but even quite early on I felt that the tai chi and the qigong was somehow bringing me back to, and developing further, previous levels of physical energy, flexability, strength and stamina but also mentally I felt I was developing increased grounding, clarity and spaciousness in my daily life.


I have taught locally and further afield since 2010, and am delighted at the seridipitous way that joining West Norwood Therapy team came about. A chance visit by their – our! – Acupuncturist Philippa, to my Thursday class in the Rosendale Allotments. This coincided with the team looking to expand thier repitoire of classes and my loving thier core values of “serving the local community together with high quality health and wellbeing care.”


I feel honoured to be part of the team!


So, along with the personal, there is so much exciting research happening, bringing western medical health science together with the vast and ancient knowledge of both Tai Chi and Qigong that I hope to explore in future blogs!




Welcome to our blog where we share tips, advice and thoughts from our fantastic team of experienced practitioners

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