Effect of Tai Chi Combined with Mental Imagery on Cutaneous Microcirculatory Function and Blood Pressure in a Diabetic and Elderly Population

Author: Abdulrahman Alsubiheen1, Jerrold Petrofsky2, Wonjong Yu3, Haneul Lee4
1 Department of Physical Therapy, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia.
2 School of Physical Therapy, Touro University Nevada, Henderson, NV 89014, USA.
3 Department of Physical Therapy, Eulji University, Seongnam 13135, Korea.
4 Department of Physical Therapy, Gachon University, Incheon 21936, Korea.
Conference/Journal: Healthcare (Basel)
Date published: 2020 Sep 16
Other: Volume ID: 8 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: E342 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/healthcare8030342. , Word Count: 209

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of Tai Chi (TC) training combined with mental imagery (MI) on blood pressure and cutaneous microcirculatory function in individuals with diabetes and age-matched healthy subjects. All subjects participated in a one-hour Yang style TC exercise with MI twice per week for 8 weeks. An activities-specific balance confidence (ABC) measurement, a single-leg stance (SLS), a functional reach test (FRT), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and skin blood flow were assessed. All functional outcomes were significantly improved in both groups, and systolic and diastolic blood pressures were lower in both groups after the TC training (p < 0.05), but there was no significant group effect. Skin blood flow decreased in the age-matched elderly group when heat and occlusion were applied (p < 0.05), but no difference was found in the diabetes group. Combining TC with MI showed an improvement in functional outcomes and blood pressure but cutaneous microcirculatory function did not improve. Combining TC intervention with MI theory showed an improvement in functional outcomes and blood pressure, which showed cardiovascular benefits not only in diabetes but in age-matched healthy subjects. However, cutaneous microcirculatory function was increased only in age-matched healthy subjects.

Keywords: Tai Chi; blood flow; blood pressure; diabetes; mental imagery.

PMID: 32947783 DOI: 10.3390/healthcare8030342