Diabetes is a condition that is characterized by an excess amount of sugar in the blood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 29.1 million people in the United States, or 9.3 percent of the population, suffer from this disease. While diet and exercise is paramount for mitigating the effects of diabetes, there’s some belief that massage therapy can help as well.
Massage therapy offers numerous benefits for people with diabetes, starting with its positive impact on blood circulation. For people who have or are prone to having diabetes, poor circulation is a common factor in that it simply takes longer for insulin to reach cells. By receiving massage therapy on a regular basis, however, you’ll encourage faster, healthier circulation, which in turn yields more insulin to your cells.
There’s also the issue of stress associated with diabetes. Living with diabetes can undoubtedly bring a fair amount of stress to the individual. As this stress builds, it can promote the release of stress hormones like cortisol, which in turn can slow down the flow of insulin. Of course, massage therapy has been used for centuries for the purpose of stress relief, both mental and physical. Whether you prefer a light-tissue or deep-tissue massage, it will certainly diminish your stress while possibly helping to aid in your fight against diabetes.
Many people who suffer from diabetes experience chronic pain. Thankfully, this is a symptom that’s easily treated with massage therapy. Massage slows down the release of cortisol, but at the same time it promotes the release of oxytocin and serotonin, both of which are natural pain-relieving hormones.
A report published by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) found massage to “significantly increase serum insulin action” in people with type 1 diabetes. When the ADA gives massage its seal of approval, it usually means it works!
“Massage at an insulin injection site can significantly increase serum insulin action, thereby decreasing blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes,” wrote the American Diabetes Association (ADA). “We do not know whether massage can improve insulin sensitivity and therefore be a useful adjunct to the management of diabetes for those with type 2 diabetes. “
Does this mean massage therapy will cure your diabetes? Probably not, but there’s strong evidence suggesting that it does help to ease some of the symptoms associated with this disease.
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