Most of us know that Massage is useful in relieving stress; it lowers the heart rate and blood pressure while relaxing muscles and increasing endorphins, all of which results in a sense of well-being. You may wonder how Massage Therapy can help Diabetes?
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease of impaired carbohydrate metabolism, which results from inadequate production or utilization of the hormone insulin. This vital substance is necessary to convert food into energy, by facilitating the transfer of glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into the body's cells. There are different kinds of diabetes:
Type 1 features an autoimmune destruction to pancreatic beta cells. Formally called insulin-dependent diabetes and/or juvenile diabetes.
Type 2 is a more common type than Type 1, and features a failure of insulin production or inability to utilize what insulin the body does create. Formally called non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
Type 1.5 involves signs and symptoms of both Type 1 and 2. Usually affects people later in life; some doctors believe some patients with Type 2 actually have this type.
Gestational occurs when the fetus compromises the mother’s ability to utilize sugar properly.
Insipidus features kidney failure or pituitary gland dysfunction.
HOW CAN MASSAGE HELP?
Massage Therapy will not cure diabetes, however a number of studies show that massage is not only safe for diabetics but it will improve a number of symptoms:
Massage Improves Blood Circulation; Diabetic patients usually have bad circulation or damaged system for circulation. Massage therapy when performed over various parts of their bodies especially hands and feet prove beneficial as it improves circulation of blood. Diabetic patients also witness a better circulation and absorption of insulin when they are experiencing regular massage therapies.
Massage decreases stress and increases relaxation which improves hormones: Massage is a relaxation and soothing therapy that improves health and wellness of a human body and mind.Any condition or disease that is chronic can have negative and long lasting impact on the body; Regular Massage Maintenance helps reduce stress and improve the nervous system. Massage will also decrease any tension in the body’s connective tissue which will increase mobility and enhance tissue elasticity.
Massage decreases scar tissue: Continuous injections can create scar tissue. Although a therapist would avoid the area if an injection was recently given, old scar tissue can be improved and broken down by certain techniques such as friction and myofascial release.
Massage can decrease Lymphodema: Although both techniques may not get rid of edema completely they both will go along way to improve circulation and move lymph which will decrease swelling. Diabetes generally causes damage to the arteries and capillaries, and lymphedema is the result of damage to the lymphatic system. Together, these diseases result in damage to both the arterial and lymphatic systems and both lead to damage to the subcutaneous tissue, connective tissue and skin.
The result is increased swelling, decreased levels of oxygen in the skin and connective tissue and susceptibility to infection. Manual lymph drainage and Massage need to be performed with greatest care since skin can become very thin, fragile, or dry because of diabetes. Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is supported with rhythmic strokes that trigger a parasympathetic response, relaxing tight muscles.
It is very important with any chronic condition that you speak to your family physician before trying Massage Therapy and even more important that you continue to use your medication, eat right and improve your mobility by going for a walk, light cardio exercise and stretching daily.
Hypoglycemia is a concern with anyone who has diabetes, so make sure you and your therapist are aware of how you maintain your glucose levels I.e. (with glucose tablets, a soft drink, or some other preferred method). It is very important to check your blood pressure and your blood sugar before having a treatment and speak to your therapist at any time during the treatment if you are feeling ill or in pain. At My Cambridge Health we will always have juice available for anyone who feels light headed or feels that their blood sugar drops.