Tai Chi and Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathies




Janssen, Allison
Kolenovic, Mersida
Logsdon, Liana
Liu, Howe
Salem, Yasser


Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Background: Every year about 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. A common and major complication these individuals face is the development of peripheral neuropathies, typically due to uncontrolled glucose levels. The purpose of this systematic review is to identify the benefits of Tai Chi as an exercise intervention to alter peripheral sensation and balance related to neuropathy in diabetic patients. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that incorporates elements of balance, strength, postural control, and concentration. Methods: This systematic review examines the effects of a Tai Chi program based on studies from PubMed database within the past 20 years. Each intervention program had varying parameters like numbers of forms, session durations and session frequencies. Results: Six studies show improvement in ankle proprioception, quality of life, glucose control, nerve conduction velocities in legs and arms, vascular reactivity index, plantar sensation, and locomotor stability. Each study had less than 60 participants and a Tai Chi program of at least 8 weeks of Yang, Sun, or Cheng style with progressions at the instructor's discretion. Conclusion: Tai Chi is a beneficial intervention for people with peripheral neuropathy. The six studies showed improvement in glucose control, quality of life, sensation and standing balance components. After thorough analysis, this review exposes several deficits in the existing research. Further studies could control for more balance variables, include larger sample sizes, and investigate the efficacy of specific Tai Chi program parameters.