Can massage help to treat diabetes?

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Massage improves circulation in diabetics. It can relieve pain, encourage blood flow, and improve feelings of well-being. Some research shows that compressed air massage improves diabetic ulcers, a problem common in the lower legs of many people with advanced diabetes. Be sure to tell your massage therapist you have diabetes.

Because massage is so relaxing, one safety concern with massage is hypoglycemia during a massage session. If the therapist knows you have diabetes, he or she can look for signs you may be hypoglycemic, such as excessive sweating, headache, hatigue, talking or moving slowly or incoherently, and irritability. 

One massage therapist who is diabetic has reported that her blood glucose drops around 40 mg/dL during a massage session. She simply has a small glass of juice to hand to counteract any effects of hypoglycemia. More research is needed on massage and its health effects on those with diabetes.

Dr. Reza Yavari, MD
Endocrinologist

Massage therapy is very helpful for diabetes because it increases circulation in the limbs and skin, and it also creates overall relaxation. Watch as endocrinologist Reza Yavari, MD, discusses the benefits of massage for patients with diabetes.

Continue Learning about Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.