How massage can help Diabetes sufferers live better

Diabetes and Massage

We all can appreciate how bodywork, massage particularly, can be a great way to relieve muscle tension, stress, and increase overall well-being.  But did you realize that with regular bodywork sessions, your overall state of physical health can be affected positively?  When dealing with the effects of diabetes, this method of relief can be effective and long-lasting.

Diabetes Mellitus is a group of related disorders that result in hyperglycemia, or elevated blood sugar levels.  Insulin is required to escort the highly-efficient energy source of glucose to the body’s cells where it can be utilized by the cells for energy throughout the body.  Sometimes the pancreas does not put out enough insulin to escort the glucose to the cells or the cells cannot detect the insulin carrying the glucose.  In both cases, the body has to resort to using other sources of energy if it cannot utilize or find the glucose; first, the body uses fats, then proteins, and finally, its own muscle tissue.   These sources of energy are not clean burning, like the glucose, so they leave behind toxins which are largely responsible for the complications related to diabetes.

The toxins that systematically affect the human body deposit and can create plaques and weakened areas of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, especially in the area of the kidneys (renal glands).  If the body can handle a bodywork session (determined in cooperation with a doctor), removal of toxins, edema, and getting nutrients to the cells and arteries of the body can change the physical response a diabetic patient has in everyday life over a period of time.  Tissue that the bodyworker directly affects must be healthy and resilient in order for the work to be done. 

One complication of the toxin build-up and the inefficient cell activity is peripheral neuropathy, or lack of feeling in the extremities.  Affected extremities can include broad areas of the arms, legs, or the tissue and nerves closest to the surface of the skin.  It is important that these areas are massaged or affected energetically in order to stimulate and reactivate the ability of the nerves to sense light, heat, chemical, and pressure – without the ability of the skin to sense, it or whole other areas of the body can be damaged or injured.  Pressure levels are always at the discretion of the recipient of the bodywork, so clients need to communicate with their bodyworker at all times, physically or verbally.

When getting any type of manipulation bodywork, remember:  ulcers on the skin are common in diabetes patients who have lived with the disease for 10 to 20 years or more – these are areas contraindicated for bodywork.  Also, advanced cases of spinal nerve damage, kidney failure, and infected tissue is contraindicated for physical manipulation of the body’s tissues – however, many forms of energetic work, like Reiki and Acupressure, have been effective in assisting the rebalancing of the body’s systems.

Approximately 625,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, and the causes for the disease can range from heredity to dietary habits involving high levels of carbohydrates.  Identifying the symptoms of frequent urination, excessive thirst and hunger, and depression or fatigue, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting are difficult to relate to being diagnosed with diabetes without seeing a medical doctor for blood and other tests.

For more information on diagnosing or the symptoms of diabetes, please contact the American Diabetes Association online:

For more information on how bodywork can assist a diabetic patient, please contact me for a free consultation.