Diabetes and Massage

Diabetes and Massage

As more and more Americans incorporate alternative therapies into their program of
health care, people with diabetes, too, are looking to the usefulness of different therapies
to complement their lifestyle measures and medical care. One such alternative therapy is
massage.

The therapeutic use of touch might be seen as a new development in health care, but there
are traditions of touch therapies that date back through the centuries in cultures around
the world. The Chinese have written records of therapeutic massage dating to 3000 BC,
and there are ancient Egyptian pictographs showing the practice of foot massage.

Relaxation.

The value of basic relaxation cannot be overemphasized. Living with
diabetes is inherently stressful. Fluctuating blood sugar levels put tremendous strain on
the body’s systems. The practical demands of balancing intake of insulin or oral
medicines, blood glucose monitoring, nutrition, and exercise can seem like a daunting
task for many. Worry about diabetic complications or anxiety relating to work or
interpersonal relationships can add to the picture of stress.

By sedating the nervous system, massage can bring a much-needed rest and an assuring
sense of well being to the body. Skillfully applied touch can have a profound effect on
body chemistry, decreasing the production of stress hormones, with resulting beneficial
effects to blood sugar levels. (Stress hormones generally raise blood sugar levels.)
Increased circulation. Massage increases the circulation of blood and lymph, facilitating
the transport of oxygen and other nutrients into the body’s tissues canadianviagras.com. Improved circulation
allows for more efficient uptake of insulin by the cells. Circulation is often impaired in
people with diabetes due to the damaging effects of elevated blood sugar levels on the
cells of the body.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 24 million children and adults in this country have diabetes.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks diabetes as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

As more people are diagnosed with diabetes, alternative forms of treatment are becoming increasingly common in the fight against the myriad of issues that accompany the disease.

One such alternative treatment is massage therapy. Once considered a luxury service, massage therapy is now garnering serious attention for its many benefits in improving the lives of those with various medical conditions.

Benefits of massage therapy including calming the nervous system and reducing anxiety; stabilizing fluctuating glucose levels; improving circulation and the absorption of oxygen and nutrients into the body’s tissues; alleviating stiffness in muscles, tendons and ligaments; increasing range of motion in joints; and enhancing general physical and emotional well-being.

Diane Doucette, the diabetes nurse educator at the Winchester Hospital Diabetes Center in Medford, said the relaxed state achieved through massage therapy may additionally aid the body in using insulin more effectively.

“The combination of education and nutritional guidance from the Diabetes Center, along with integrative treatments like massage therapy from the Community Health Institute, is another way Winchester Hospital shows its commitment to treating the whole person,” she added.

Myofascial effects.

Massage works directly with the muscles (myo) and connective
tissues (fascia) in the body, helping to facilitate greater mobility in the body. This is
especially important for people with diabetes, because elevated blood sugar causes a
thickening of connective tissue, which affects the mobility and elasticity of the
myofascial system. This may be experienced as stiffness in the muscles, tendons, and
ligaments or as a decreased range of motion in the joints.