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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 767213, 9 pages
Research Article

The Effects of Tai Chi on Peripheral Somatosensation, Balance, and Fitness in Hispanic Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Pilot and Feasibility Study

1University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
2Institute for Allied Health Research, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow G4 0BA, UK

Received 17 May 2015; Revised 24 August 2015; Accepted 30 September 2015

Academic Editor: Jonathan L. Wardle

Copyright © 2015 Elisabeth I. Cavegn and Jody L. Riskowski. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Peripheral neuropathy and loss of somatosensation in older adults with type 2 diabetes can increase risk of falls and disability. In nondiabetic older adult population Tai Chi has been shown to enhance balance and fitness through improvements in somatosensation and neuromuscular control, and it is unclear if Tai Chi would elicit similar benefits in older adults with diabetes. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of an 8-week, three-hour-per-week Tai Chi intervention on peripheral somatosensation in older adults with type 2 diabetes. Participants were eight Hispanic older adults with type 2 diabetes who participated in the Tai Chi intervention and a convenience sample of Hispanic older adults as a referent group. Baseline and postintervention assessments included ankle proprioception, foot tactile sense, plantar pressure distribution, balance, and fitness. After intervention, older adults with type 2 diabetes showed significant improvements in ankle proprioception and fitness and decreased plantar pressure in the forefoot, with no statistical effect noted in balance or tactile sensation. Study results suggest that Tai Chi may be beneficial for older adults with diabetes as it improves ankle proprioception; however, study findings need to be confirmed in a larger sample size randomized controlled trial.