Massage therapy as a whole has been studied, researched, and dissected as a valid health care treatment option for a wide variety of diseases, health concerns, and wellness issues. More and more research is being conducted every day; one area of study that is gaining momentum is the effects of therapeutic massage on patients with diabetes.
Diabetes (both Type I and Type II) is a complicated disease that can cause symptoms such as fatigue, frequent urination, and excessive thirst. As the disease progresses over time, complications can lead to cellular damage in the eyes, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, and nervous system.
How can massage therapy help?
Elevated blood sugar causes connective tissues to thicken, which effects the entire myofascial system (myo – muscles and fascia – connective tissues). From stiffness in muscles, tendons, and ligaments to a decreased range of motion in joints, this can cause problems with mobility and flexibility across the body. Massage can help reduce the effects of elevated blood sugar levels on the body by loosening up tense areas, relieving aches and pains, and regaining range of motion.
This is what massage therapy is well-known for. It is a way to calm your nerves, release tensions, stress, and anxiety, and promote a sense of balance and peace both physically and mentally. If you suffer from diabetes, you are living with a consistently stressful condition. Insulin, medications, glucose level monitoring, nutrition, exercise, complications – the list goes on. Massage therapy can reduce the production of stress hormones, which can make the daily worry a little easier to handle. Stress hormones can even increase your blood sugar levels, so it is imperative to find ways to maintain a calm, peaceful escape.
Massage increases both blood and lymph flow by stimulating proper circulation. Those who suffer from diabetes often have poor circulation due to the negative effects Increased circulation makes it easier for your body to transport oxygen and nutrients to tissues; it can help your body’s cells become more efficient in the uptake of insulin.
This is an area that will require an extensive amount of additional research; the studies that have been done have shown massage therapy to be a promising option for those who suffer from diabetes-related symptoms. Always talk with your massage therapist about your diabetes before starting any treatment plans.