Massage and Diabetes

Did you know that diabetes affects almost 10% of the population? It’s a frustrating condition for many people that can completely alter their day-to-day activities. Every bite of food and any physical activity has to be taken into account.

Diabetes affects insulin in the body. Insulin is what regulates blood sugar levels so our cells function properly. There are two primary forms, simply called Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in childhood as the result of the body’s inability to produce insulin. These patients require supplemental insulin. Type 2 on the other hand, can develop at any age and is the result of the body not effectively using insulin. They don’t require supplemental insulin, but rather can control their blood sugar levels with proper diet and exercise. However, if not controlled, Type 2 can turn into Type 1. There are also many complications that are associated with diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, nerve damage, and depression to name a few.

Because massage relaxes the muscles and calms the mind, it can provide a variety of benefits for people suffering from physical and mental ailments. Due to the number of physical complications that accompany Diabetes, as well as the emotional stress of coping with the disease, massage therapy has been shown to alleviate certain types of Diabetic complications.

According to the American Diabetes Association, an estimated 1 out of 3 Diabetics over the age of 50 will suffer from Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). PAD occurs when the blood vessels in the legs are narrowed and blocked by fatty deposits, and the blood flow to the feet is decreased. This can result in an alarming number of consequences. Massage increases the blood flow between the legs and torso.

Massage has been shown to drop glucose levels, which can help to prevent Hyperglycemia in Diabetics. Hyperglycemia can cause eye damage, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, nerve damage (Neuropathy), skin and gum infections, joint problems, and can even result in a diabetic coma. Helping to relax your body with massage will assist in lowering your glucose levels, which can prevent these types of Hyperglycemic ailments.

Another benefit of massage for Diabetics is the increase in flexibility as the muscles are loosened through massage. High blood sugar can result in the thickening of connective tissue, and massage will increase the mobility and elasticity of that tissue. As the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are relaxed, massage recipients will find an increase in motion and flexibility in the joints, therefore improving their quality of life.

Important Precautions

While Diabetes can restrict a lot in life, getting a massage shouldn’t be one of those things. Generally speaking, it is perfectly safe to receive a massage as a diabetic. However, open communication is essential! It’s not only important to tell your massage therapist that you are diabetic, but also about how it’s being managed, and what your recent health is like. It’s also important to note that massage can alter your blood glucose level considerably, and it may take a few sessions to get a clear idea of how your body responds to the massage. This will help you moving forward with regular sessions, so you know when you should eat or take your insulin in relation to when you receive your massage.
It is also important to avoid massage in an area where Diabetics inject their insulin. Pressure in this area may influence the way that their body absorbs the shot, and therefore alter their intake.

If you’re dealing with diabetic neuropathy (damage to the small nerves of the hands and feet), you’ll want to be really clear with your massage therapist about exactly what your current symptoms are, as this varies from person to person. Diabetics who suffer from Neuropathy should be cautious when assessing the pressure levels and heat options from any massage service. Due to the nerve damage associated with Neuropathy, it may be difficult to determine the appropriate massage intensity or heat levels that work for their body, and misuse can result in bruising or overheated skin. Be sure to keep communicating during the session so your therapist can adjust the pressure and techniques accordingly.

Massage therapy can do wonders to help with some of the symptoms and side effects of diabetes. Whether you’re dealing with neuropathy, circulation issues, depression, or just want to relax, massage may help. Just make sure you keep an open line of communication with your therapist and keep them updated with any changes that happen along the way. This will not only keep you safe, but it will make your experience as enjoyable as possible.

Body & Soul Massage in Salem Ma offers the highest quality therapeutic massage for pain relief. Appointments are available Monday – Saturday in 30, 45, 60, 75 or 90 minute sessions. To schedule an appointment call 978-825-0040 or for more information and pricing visit www.bodysoulsalem.com

Massage Memberships are available. Health Savings Plans accepted.