There are many benefits of massage therapy for those diagnosed with diabetes. In addition to the obvious advantages of relaxation and stress relief for any person with a chronic illness, there are many other benefits for a person
suffering from the disease.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body's ability to produce the hormone insulin is impaired. This results in impairment in the body to metabolize carbohydrates, which then elevates glucose in the blood and urine. There are over 16 million people in the United States alone that are affected by the disease, and whether it is type 1 or type 2, there are many benefits that can be received by getting regular massage.
One of the more simple yet invaluable benefits of massage is increasing circulation. Many people affected by diabetes can suffer from a damaged or impaired circulation system, particularly in the hands and feet. Increasing circulation of blood and lymph can help deliver oxygen and other
nutrients to the body's tissues. It can also improve the intake of insulin by the cells. Because massage can affect blood glucose levels the client should always check their blood sugar post massage for safety.
Myofascial effects of massage therapy can be significant for those with diabetes. Elevated blood sugars can cause thickening of connective tissues (fascia) resulting in stiffness in joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Stress hormones can also contribute to causing changes in connective tissue resulting in stickiness in fascial layers. Massage can help by decreasing muscle tension, increasing flexibility, range of motion, and mobility in connective tissues.
Certain massage therapy techniques can also help remove buildup of scar tissue around injection sites. Relieving scar tissue from those areas will help in restoring mobility even further. Massage can not only give someone living with diabetes a moment of escape from stress and anxiety, but it also can contribute their regimen of care. Striving for a balanced healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition and exercise are a big part of living with the disease and massage therapy complements those choices well.