Massage and Diabetes

Benefits of Massage for People with Diabetes

Massage is generally safe and can complement proper medical treatment, exercise, and diet in managing diabetes.

Circulation - Massage increases circulation, encouraging the efficient transport of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.  Improved circulation improves insulin uptake.

Relaxation - The benefits of relaxation cannot be underestimated, especially within the diabetic community. Considering the physical and psychological stresses of living with a debilitating disease and the need to self-medicate and monitor on a daily basis, as well as the burden diabetes puts on the body and its systems.  It's easy to see the therapeutic correlation between massage and diabetes.  With the release of endorphins, the nervous system calms, there is a reduction of stress hormones and a person with diabetes can find it easier to manage their blood sugar levels.

Myofascial Effects - Diabetes can cause a thickening of connective tissue caused by increased blood sugars. Massage will help to increase mobility and tissue elasticity that has been hindered by that thickening effect. A good exercise program with efficient stretching can also be of benefit.

Things to keep in mind:  Blood sugars drop after a massage, so it's a good idea to have a snack available.  It's okay to stop and drink some juice during a massage if needed.  Also, the therapist needs to be aware of any peripheral neuropathy (lack of sensation in the extremities). If that is present, deep tissue work is not recommended since it is not possible to give accurate feedback about pressure.