Massage Therapy and Diabetes

A woman sitting in the lotus position with her legs crossed.Diabetes is a condition that affects many of the body’s systems. Creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is necessary for optimal wellness, including balancing proper nutrition, adequate exercise, blood glucose monitoring, appropriate use of medications, and stress management. There are many symptoms of diabetes, and massage therapy provides holistic support to conventional treatments.

Though diabetes pathologies may differ, the common symptom of elevated blood glucose has many short- and long-term ramifications. Fatigue is common since cells are essentially starved for energy when blood glucose is elevated and cells are insulin resistant. Symptoms of frequent urination and excessive thirst are due to excess sugar spilling into the urine. Long-term damage at the cellular level often affects the eyes, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, and the nervous system. Diabetics become more vulnerable to retinopathy and neuropathy, as well as kidney and heart disease without good blood sugar control. Connective tissues may also be affected, leading to thickening or stiffening of the fascia surrounding the muscles and organs.

Massage is a beneficial complementary therapy with a variety of positive physical and emotional effects. One of the best-documented effects of massage is improved blood and lymphatic circulation, which encourages efficient transport of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, improving cellular insulin uptake. One study shows that injection-site massage can improve conventional insulin therapy by increasing the bioavailability of insulin in the postprandial state. Others suggest that massage lowers blood glucose levels.

Massage stimulates endorphin release, calming the nervous system and decreasing stress hormones, promoting relaxation. Anxiety and depression are also often reduced by manual therapy. Myofascial thickening of connective tissue caused by increased blood sugars will be helped by massage, increasing mobility and tissue elasticity, with the value-added benefit of coaching for proper stretching techniques.

Registered Massage Therapists offer support for the general population including those affected by diabetes; call Eleanor Hayward RMT, Holistic Practitioner at 905.825.9996 to schedule your appointment today!