Six months of tai chi can improve glucose control, increase adherence to self-care activities, and lead to a better quality of life in patients with type two diabetes. Korean investigators enrolled 99 type two diabetic patients (with an HbAlc level of six or higher) in the study. All participants received tai chi sessions (19 movements from Yang and Sun styles) twice a week for six months. Sixty-two patients completed the pre- and post-test measures at three and six months. Patients had to attend 80% of the tai chi sessions to achieve desired outcomes. The 31 patients who met this criterion (adherent group) were compared to those who did not (non-adherent group). The results showed that the adherent group had a greater decrease in fasting glucose and HbAlc than the non-adherent group. They also found that the adherent group performed more diabetic self-care activities and had a higher quality of life in measures of social functioning and vitality. (Adhering to a t’ai chi program to improve glucose control and quality of life for individuals with type 2 diabetes. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Jun;15(6):627-32).

Results from a study carried out in Taiwan suggest that blood glucose levels and peripheral nerve condition in diabetic patients can be improved by 12 weeks of tai chi. Twenty-eight patients with type 2 diabetes and 32 healthy controls participated in tai chi (Cheng style) three times a week for 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 week programme, fasting blood glucose and nerve conduction velocities were found to be significantly improved in diabetic patients. Tai chi did not increase nerve conduction velocities in normal adults. (Effect of 12-week tai chi chuan exercise on peripheral nerve modulation in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Rehabil Med. 2009 Nov;41(11):924-9).

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