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Massage Therapy and Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, diabetes is considered “a chronic, often debilitating and sometimes fatal disease, in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces.”  The pancreas will release insulin which will decrease blood sugar levels.  It does this by signaling cells to take in sugar for energy or to store as fat.  In simple terms, your blood would become “sludge” if you produced no insulin.  Your blood is what connects and ensures all your organs function properly and are nourished.  With high levels of sugary blood constantly circulating your whole body, it will eventually cause damage to your organs, blood vessels and nerves.

Type 1 diabetes is when your own immune system attacks and kills those pancreatic cells that produce insulin. Therefore, none or very little insulin is released into your body.

Type 2 diabetes is when your body cannot use the inulin properly or does not make enough.

Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy affecting two to four percent of all pregnancies.

Signs and Symptoms

Diabetes signs and symptoms involve a wide range which includes:Nelly 14 massage page

  • Unusual thirst and frequent urination
  • Weight change
  • Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent or recurring infections
  • Cuts and bruises slow to heal
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet

Massage and Diabetes

Although massage cannot fix nor treat the main cause of diabetes, it has other benefits that will treat secondary issues that arise. Some benefits include:

  1. Relaxation/Stress reduction. Living with diabetes is difficult not only physically but mentally as well. Massage will help you relax by releasing endorphins and reducing your anxiety and lowering your stress hormone levels.
  2. Increasing circulation. Massage will help increase not only blood but also lymph circulation. In most cases, diabetes will affect distal limbs which require more effort on your body to bring blood there.
  3. Myofascial benefits. Some studies do suggest that elevated blood sugar levels affect your connective tissue which in turn affects your mobility and the elasticity of your muscles. This can cause stiffness and reduce your range of motion. Receiving regular massage treatments will help you improve and maintain your skeletal muscle health and improve function and range of motion.

When coming in for massage, your registered massage therapist will ask critical questions in order to provide you with the safest and effective treatment possible. Before treatment, please make sure you have had a proper meal and that you come prepared with your medication on hand.  If you are unsure if massage is right for you, please consult a doctor before receiving treatment.

Make sure to give massage a try and improve your lifestyle. For more information, check out the Canadian Diabetes Association at or visit your local family doctor.

By: Jonathan Chang, RMT.

For any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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