November is National Diabetes Month. If you or someone you know is living with diabetes you know the stress that it can cause on the body. Along with diet, proper medication and exercise, massage is a great tool to help manage the symptoms of diabetes.
Let’s talk about some of the ways massage can help manage the diabetic patient.
Living with any disease is stressful. Put life on top of that and you may be experiencing some high levels of stress. In any case, but especially in the case of diabetes, stress may actually make this disease worse.
When you are stressed your body releases a hormone called cortisol into the system. This hormone can greatly increase the amount of sugar in your bloodstream further complicating your blood sugar levels and health disease management.
Massage to the rescue!!! Regular massage can help to lower cortisol in your system. Indirectly helping to manage blood sugar levels and keeping you healthier!!
High blood sugar can cause hardening of the arteries. This, as you can imagine, will challenge blood flow quite a bit. Limited circulation can also negatively affect the health of muscles, organs and the nervous system. Massage has been shown to gently increase circulation helping to deliver fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. This gentle increase in circulation can also help to slow the hardening of the arteries.
Already mentioned when we talked about circulation, but when high blood sugar levels cause the arteries to harden the muscles and tendons in the body aren’t getting the blood flow they need to stay supple, strong and healthy. Symptoms of this process is often tough and stiff muscles. Massage therapy not only gets blood flow moving, but it gets your muscles moving too. Now, this isn’t like a workout, that’s important too. Massage can passively get muscles moving helping to increase strength, flexibility and overall health.
We can’t talk about diabetes without talking about neuropathy. Advanced stages of diabetes can lead to neuropathy, an annoyance at best and life threatening at it’s worst. In it’s beginning stages, diabetic neuropathy feels like pins and needles or a slight numbness. In its advance stages some will lose complete sensation in the limbs, usually the feet or legs. Massage can help in two ways. First, regular massage along with diet, proper medication and exercise can help to prevent or greatly slow diabetic neuropathy all together. Once the symptoms are present, massage can help these symptoms from getting any worse. Once advance stages have set in, massage can be contraindicated, but your massage therapist is trained to look for areas of irritation and possible injury when the neuropathy is so far advanced that the client may not feel the injury. Even in advanced stages of neuropathy, massage can be of great benefit to the rest of the body.
Often massage therapists are plugged into a large network of healthcare providers including nutritionists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, physical therapists. All good people to have on your team!! Massage may not be able to do everything, but often your massage therapist is a great resource for other types of treatment that can benefit your situation.
It’s important to share with your massage therapist any symptoms and side effects you are experiencing from diabetes or any medications you are on. This gives them important information to make sure your massage is given in a safe and beneficial manner.
If you have diabetes consider therapeutic massage as a part of your maintenance program. It is essential to living your best life!!