Can massage help to treat diabetes?

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

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.

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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.