Impact of Tai Chi on Peripheral Neuropathy Revisited: A Mixed-Methods Study.

Author: Hermanns M1, Haas BK1, Rath L1, Murley B2, Arce-Esquivel AA1, Ballard JE1, Wang YT1
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup>The University of Texas at Tyler, USA. <sup>2</sup>East Texas Baptist University, Marshall, USA.
Conference/Journal: Gerontol Geriatr Med.
Date published: 2018 Dec 17
Other: Volume ID: 4 , Pages: 2333721418819532 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1177/2333721418819532. eCollection 2018 Jan-Dec. , Word Count: 156

Exercise may be beneficial to older persons living with peripheral neuropathy (PN), but maintaining an exercise program is challenging. After participating in a 12-week tai chi (TC) study, 12 participants requested classes continue. A mixed-methods design was used to explore long-term engagement of older persons with bilateral PN enrolled in a TC class for 18 months beyond the original 3-month study. Pre- and posttest measures of functional status and quality of life (QOL) were conducted. Focus groups were held after 18 months of twice-weekly classes. Psychosocial support was critical to participants' long-term commitment to exercise. Participants reported, and objective assessments confirmed, increased strength, balance, and stamina beyond that experienced in the original 12-week study. Changes in QOL scores were nonsignificant; however, qualitative data supported clinical significance across QOL domains. Results from this study support psychosocial and physical benefits of TC to older persons.

KEYWORDS: functional ability; older persons; peripheral neuropathy; quality of life; tai chi

PMID: 30574533 PMCID: PMC6299306 DOI: 10.1177/2333721418819532