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Diabetes care and management has become a hot topic in the last few years. It is estimated that over 18 million people living in the U.S. are diabetic. In addition to insulin regulation, blood sugar monitoring, diet and exercise, specialists have found that massage therapy plays an important role in the reduction and maintenance of their patients’ glucose levels. Besides being relaxing and a great stress reducer, massage therapy improves circulation, a very crucial component for any diabetic, but of special concern to those who suffer with diabetic neuropathy.

Neuropathy causes dull and/or painful aching sensations to the hands and feet. This  also means reduced sensation to these areas, meaning your therapist should know what type of massage and pressure to use to prevent injuring or bruising  tissue, to which their patient may have no feeling or only a tingling sensation. Your licensed massage therapist will know that most forms of massage are too intrusive for these delicate areas  and that only certain modalities of massage are acceptable to a person suffering from diabetic neuropathy. Reflexology, light Swedish, and acupressure are some of the well known and highly accepted modalities and will provide a safe alternative to more vigorous modalities of massage.

Always notify your massage therapist that you are a diabetic, when you last used insulin, and if you are troubled with any neuropathy.  Most therapists will have you sit for a few moments following the massage to access your well-being, whether you feel dizzy, disoriented, or disconnected. You may be offered a cup of juice or milk as a means to raise your blood sugar after your massage, should you experience any of the above. Some people choose to drink one of these prior to their massage as a precaution.

The incredible benefits of massage therapy can lower your blood sugar levels, help reduce neuropathy pain, be a natural means of  removing toxins, stimulate your lymph system, and help you to relax. All of these make for a healthier you! Ask your local licensed massage therapist if they are accustomed to caring for diabetics. You may also find more information at www.diabetesnet.org. Be well, be healthy!

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                1. Ezzo, Donner,Cox Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE)

         © Shelli Rossignol L.M.T., C.R.
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