Light fingertip contact on thigh facilitates handstand balance in gymnasts

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Objectives:The aim of this study was to investigate whether a light touch reduces postural sway in an unusual posture.Méthod:Displacements of the Centre of Pressure (CoP) of eight women gymnasts were recorded in four conditions, eyes open or closed and with or without a light touch on the thigh while the participants maintained the handstand.Results:In the eyes open condition, the range of CoP displacements significantly decreased on the lateral but not on the antero posterior axis, and the mean speed of CoP displacements decreased when the light touch was applied. Moreover, the application of the light touch compensated for the effect of eye closure.Conclusion:These results highlight the primacy of sensory information in the maintenance of the handstand and suggest that the ability to switch from one perceptual modality to another to control posture exists regardless of the specific posture.

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