Authors: Chatchawan U, Eungpinichpong W, Plandee P, Yamauchi J
BACKGROUND Peripheral neuropathy is the most common complications of diabetic patients and leads to loss of plantar cutaneous sensation, movement perception, and body balance. Thai foot massage is an alternative therapy to improve balance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of Thai foot massage on balance performance in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy. MATERIAL AND METHODS Sixty patients with type-2 diabetes were recruited and randomly assigned into either the Thai foot massage or control groups. The Thai foot massage group received a modified Thai traditional foot massage for 30 min, 3 days per week for 2 weeks. We measured timed up and go (TUG), one leg stance: OLS), the range of motion (ROM) of the foot, and foot sensation (SWMT) before treatment, after the first single session, and after the 2-week treatment. RESULTS After the single treatment session, only the Thai foot massage group showed a significant improvement in TUG. After the 2-week treatment, both Thai foot massage and control groups showed a significant improvement of TUG and OLS (P<0.05); however, when comparing between 2 groups, the Thai foot massage group showed better improvement in TUG than the control group (p<0.05). The Thai foot massage group also showed significant improvements in ROM and SWMT after the 2-week treatment. CONCLUSIONS The results of this study suggest that Thai foot massage is a viable alternative treatment for balance performance, ROM of the foot, and the foot sensation in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy.