Massage therapy can often help in relieving symptoms of diabetes. If you or a loved one suffers from this life-altering disease, you are familiar with the time and effort it takes to regain and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Apart from injections, continual monitoring and dietary changes, what can diabetes patients do to reduce stress and promote longevity?
The Physical and Emotional Damage of Diabetes
Diabetes affects the body’s ability to either produce or use insulin, the naturally occurring hormone that assists in transferring glucose to the body’s cells. In both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, blood glucose levels are raised, starving the patient’s body of energy. The most immediate physical reaction is fatigue, but extremely high blood glucose levels become dangerous, especially when the body is subjected to them over periods of time. Cell damage begins to occur in the kidneys, heart, eyes and other organs. Once diagnosed with diabetes, patients must keep a permanent watchful eye on their condition in order to preserve their health.
Diabetes is not only a disease affecting the body. Daily injections, constant blood glucose level checks, and the need for regular check-ins with physicians can take an emotional toll as well. Diabetes patients are twice as likely to encounter depression, according to data collected by the National Institute for Mental Health. With one out of every 10 adults over age 20 suffering from diabetes, it’s important to exhaust each and every treatment option in the hopes of maintaining equilibrium in body and mind, and massage therapy offers specific benefits for diabetes patients.
Benefits of Regular Massages
The main obstacle facing diabetes patients is insulin absorption. Since many patients have poor circulation, massage is an ideal solution, as it stimulates the lymph system, encouraging the cells to improve insulin absorption function.
A common side effect of diabetes is stiff or inflamed joints. When glucose levels are high, the connective tissues and muscles suffer a lack of mobility or lowered range of motion. Massage works against a thickened myofascial system and improves litheness of the muscles.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, after only a 15-minute chair massage, studied subjects all showed significantly lower levels of stress and improvements in their emotional state. For diabetic patients living with daily challenges, reducing anxiety is a major hurdle to overcome on their path to lifelong wellness.
After a massage, patients might feel light-headed or disoriented. It is vitally important for diabetic massage therapy patients to test their blood sugar levels and ensure they are not suffering from low blood sugar. This state, also called hypoglycemia, includes feeling dizzy and fatigued.
Additionally, diabetic patients must inform their practitioner of their condition and take note of how their blood sugar levels respond to a massage. Each individual reaction is different, but glucose levels typically drop between 20 and 40 milligrams per deciliter.
Form a safe, personalized trial treatment plan after consulting with your physician before utilizing massage therapy or a massage chair. Expect to see massage therapy help diabetes symptoms recede due to physical relaxation, leading to emotional and mental well-being.