Diabetes and Massage Therapy: What Are the Benefits?

Diabetes and Massage Therapy: What Are the Benefits?

Diabetes (otherwise known as diabetes mellitus) is a condition that affects over 37 million people in the United States alone. Living with diabetes means managing all the signs and symptoms that come with it. For many people, that means regular blood sugar checks, lifestyle changes, and checkups at the doctor’s office. But what about diabetes and massage therapy? Can massage help with diabetes?

In this post, learn everything you need to know about diabetes and massage, including the benefits, research, and how it works. 

What Are the Benefits of Massage for Diabetes?

Massage therapy appears to provide some surprising advantages for those with diabetes. Here are three of the main ones to know about:

1. Blood Sugar Levels

Massage may be helpful for those concerned about hyperglycemia. One review on massage and diabetes found that massage therapy had a “positive effect on blood glucose levels.” On top of that, researchers from a 2019 review also found that certain types of massage could help reduce blood sugar levels. 

While these results are promising, researchers are still working to figure out exactly how it all works and which kind of massage is best for blood glucose health.

2. Stress Management

We hear it all the time — lowering your stress is one of the best ways to boost your health and happiness. But according to the American Diabetes Association, managing stress is also key for healthy blood glucose levels. Too much stress can also get in the way of sticking to an exercise routine and making healthy food choices (both of which are important for diabetes.)

The good news is that massage can help you manage your feelings of stress and anxiety. In one review, researchers found that massage decreased levels of cortisol — aka the body’s main stress hormone. Beyond that, massage may also boost certain neurotransmitters linked to happiness.

3. May Help Neuropathy

Many people with diabetes experience peripheral neuropathy. This is because high blood sugar can create nerve damage over the years, and this can lead to the tingling, numbness, and pain associated with neuropathy.

Fortunately, some research shows that massage therapy could benefit those with this condition. One small 2020 study found that foot massage helped diabetic patients have fewer complaints about their neuropathy. 

Another 2017 study found that four weeks of aromatherapy massage boosted diabetic patients’ quality of life and eased their neuropathy pain.

Best Ways to Massage for Diabetes

If you’re curious about trying massage therapy, you’re in luck. There are many options to choose from, and most of them are easy to try at home. 

Here are three simple ways to reap the benefits of massage, from at-home self-massage to visiting a spa:

Home Hand and Foot Massage

If you want to boost circulation and promote relaxation, a self-hand and foot massage is the way to go.

To self-massage your hands:

  • Use short, circular motions with your thumbs to work the soft tissue in the palm of each hand.
  • Stretch and pull your fingers.
  • Use light pressure to massage the tissue in each of your fingers.

To self-massage your feet:

  • Run your knuckles along the arch of your foot with light-to-moderate pressure.
  • Use your thumbs in a gentle side-to-side twisting motion on your foot’s soft tissue.
  • Try a foot massager like the MedMassager Foot Massager Classic, which uses oscillating motions and an arch bar to target pressure points in the feet.

Body Massage with a Massager

Rather than using your hands or asking a partner, you can use a physician-trusted massager like the MedMassager Body Massager Plus. Devices like this one make it easy to bring the restorative benefits of massage to your body at home.

For example, you can rest it against your upper back to target pain near your shoulder blades. Or, you can use it to work out muscle tension in your arms and legs. No matter where your discomfort is, the MedMassager can help you relax, ease tension, and feel better. 

To use the device:

  • Turn the MedMassager on to the lowest possible setting.
  • Place it against your area of concern, allowing it to gently massage your muscles for one to two minutes.
  • Then, turn up the massager’s settings to your preference. The device has 11 different speed options up to 4,000 RPM, so you can personalize your self-massage experience.

Visiting a Massage Therapist

If you have more specific concerns, it might be worthwhile to visit a massage therapist who has experience working with diabetes. 

There, you can talk to your therapist about your situation and which benefits you’re hoping to receive from massage. The info you provide will help your masseuse decide which techniques can help you the most.

What You Should Know Before Getting a Massage

In the case of diabetes, massage therapy can offer a myriad of benefits. But like anything that involves your body, there might be times when you should proceed with caution.

For example, because massage therapy may lower blood glucose levels, those with diabetes may need to keep a quick snack on hand in case they need a blood sugar boost during their session.

Aside from that, here are some other times when you may need to talk to a doctor, be careful about massage, or avoid it altogether:

  • When you are on certain blood pressure medications 
  • When you have cardiovascular issues
  • When you have a bacterial infection
  • When you have skin ulcers or other open wounds

The Takeaway on Diabetes and Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can offer restorative benefits to nearly anyone, and those with diabetes are no different. This therapeutic practice can boost circulation, alleviate stress, and even ease pain. 

With these benefits in mind, it’s still recommended to talk with your doctor about diabetes and massage therapy before you get started. Not only can they support you in staying on top of your health, but they can help you decide whether massage is right for you.

Once your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you can start reaping the benefits of massage at home. You can use your hands, ask a partner, or even use a device like those from MedMassager for a healing self-care experience. 

Click here to view the MedMassager Body Massager Plus today. Or, visit this page to learn more about using a therapeutic massager with diabetes.

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