Photo Credit: Thomas Hafeneth
1Because massage relaxes the muscles and calms the mind, it can provide a variety of benefits for people suffering from physical and mental ailments. Due to the number of physical complications that accompany Diabetes, as well as the emotional stress of coping with the disease, massage therapy has been shown to alleviate certain types of Diabetic complications.
According to the American Diabetes Association, an estimated 1 out of 3 Diabetics over the age of 50 will suffer from Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). PAD occurs when the blood vessels in the legs are narrowed and blocked by fatty deposits, and the blood flow to the feet is decreased. This can result in an alarming number of consequences ranging from foot ulcers to amputation. Therefore, it is critical for Diabetics to ensure that the blood flow to their legs is regulated.
Massage products—from recliners with foot-and-calf massagers, to targeted foot-and-calf relief solutions—can serve as an incredibly useful tool for people seeking to increase blood flow in their legs and feet. The Figure-Eight Technology® in many Human Touch® products deliver an advanced massage technique that emulates those used by a professional masseuse, and increases the blood flow between the legs and torso.
Massage has been shown to drop glucose levels, which can help to prevent Hyperglycemia in Diabetics. According to Healthline.com, Hyperglycemia can cause eye damage, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, nerve damage (Neuropathy), skin and gum infections, joint problems, and can even result in a diabetic coma. Helping to relax your body with massage will assist in lowering your glucose levels, which can prevent these types of Hyperglycemic ailments.
Another benefit of massage for Diabetics is the increase in flexibility as the muscles are loosened through massage. High blood sugar can result in the thickening of connective tissue, and massage will increase the mobility and elasticity of that tissue. As the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are relaxed, massage recipients will find an increase in motion and flexibility in the joints, therefore improving their quality of life.
All of these benefits of massage should be noted by anyone suffering from the symptoms of Diabetes. However, there are a few important factors to consider when seeking massage therapy.
As with any type of physical therapy, it is critical to consult with your physician before commencing. Massage is a great option for anyone seeking stress and pain relief, but Diabetics will need to be aware that the fluxuations in their blood sugar levels need careful observation at all times. The delicate balance of their insulin injections and glucose levels must be monitored, and reduced glucose may influence the amount of insulin they require.
It is also important to avoid massage in an area where Diabetics inject their insulin. Pressure in this area may influence the way that their body absorbs the shot, and therefore alter their intake.
As a final recommendation, Diabetics who suffer from Neuropathy should be cautious when assessing the pressure levels and heat options from any massage service, whether from a masseuse or a massage chair. Due to the nerve damage associated with Neuropathy, it may be difficult to determine the appropriate massage intensity or heat levels that work for their body, and misuse can result in bruising or overheated skin. It is recommended for those with Neuropathy to consult with a professional, friend, or family member to determine if the massage technique or heating levels are ideal for a person of their body type and sensitivity levels.