T'ai Chi Program May Benefit Type 2 Diabetes Patients

Small Korean study showed improvements in glucose control and quality of life
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with type 2 diabetes, t'ai chi may serve as an alternative exercise program to improve glucose control, self-care activities, and quality of life, according to a Korean study published in the June 14 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Rhayun Song, Ph.D., a registered nurse at the Chungnam National University in Daegon, South Korea, and colleagues evaluated 99 type 2 diabetic patients that had an HbA1c level of 6.0 or higher. The t'ai chi intervention included 19 movements provided twice per week for six months. Sixty-two patients completed the pretest and post-test measures at three and six months. Patients needed to complete 80 percent of the t'ai chi sessions to achieve desired outcomes. The 31 patients who met this criteria (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 HbA1c 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.

"The clinical implications of the changes in HbA1c found in the present study and others suggest that t'ai chi may reduce the complications and mortality associated with diabetes," the authors conclude. "However, longitudinal studies over several years are required to determine the effects of t'ai chi on these clinically important outcomes."

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