The demand for massage therapy and good massage chairs, in general, has grown tremendously among diabetics over the years.
In fact, it is on an upward trend as an increasing number of diabetics are opting for professional massage in order to foil and improve their problems that are linked to this chronic disease.
Therapeutic massage is taking center stage quite fast as a complementary medicine practice.
In the United States alone, only 7% of the populace sought professional massage in 1990, in 1999 this saw an upward shift to 11% and went up to 24% in 2007.
This aggressive upward trend continues today, not only in the US but the world over. Therapeutic massage and chair massage is gaining momentum!
Diabetes is a big chronic disease challenge with over 8% of the American population being diabetic. A good proportion of these people have turned to the health benefits of massage therapy complementing efforts by their medical doctors.
Whilst minimal research has been done with regards to best massage therapy's impact on diabetes, anecdotal reports are building quite a stir in terms of demand for diabetic massage with research beginning to follow suit, albeit lagging.
Circulatory System Improvement
This chronic disease has a rather perilous impact on the blood circulatory system. High blood sugars often cause the hardening of arteries resulting in circulatory challenges for diabetics.
The most affected areas are normally the feet because of being the furthest from the heart which is pumping blood to all parts of the body. Poor flow of this blood affects different parts of the body at different times. Body massage, feet massage included, improves circulation and minimizes the blocking of arteries by diabetes.
Poor circulation causes its own related health challenges and these include poor healing of wounds and infections. It is therefore common for diabetics to have sores on their feet.
Feet massage will therefore assist in preventing such problems. It goes without saying then that with better blood flow, achieved through massage therapy; the human body is more capacitated to fight infections as they arise
It is key to good health and diabetics are robbed of this health fundamental. Massaging improves blood flow tremendously.
There is a close correlation between stress and a diabetic’s control of sugar levels. Stress hormones, released because of stress, potentially have a negative effect on diabetic sugar control.
This stress causes anxiety for some diabetics. It is a tough thought to fathom stress causing a chain of chemical reactions within the human body.
Stress indeed does this. We have all accepted that stress is part of life, it is however our ability to control it that matters in keeping ourselves healthy. If stress gets out of control, we are then in trouble as it causes body chemicals and subsequent health challenges.
Stress and diabetes together often result in blood sugars shooting up. The very fact that one has diabetes is stressful in itself over and above the daily stresses coming out of the hectic lives we live.
Diabetics who experience anxiety often have meager control of blood sugar. Anxiety has been, on many occasions, known to be toned down by massage therapy thus keeping the stress levels in check.
The impact of massage on stress hormones and chemicals in the body, as stated earlier, is not well researched. Body massage however calms the nervous system, and this has the effect of bringing the stress hormones to normal. The health benefit of this is that it becomes much easier to control diabetic blood sugars.
Tendons & Muscles
Blood sugars that are high due to stress and poor blood circulation, thicken the tissues that are near the muscles and tendons. This then ultimately causes some stiffness for the diabetic due to limited muscle mobility and surrounding soft tissue.
Massage therapy manipulates these tissues causing them to be less stiff. A range of calculated massaging movements will improve the mobility challenges faced by diabetics. More muscle mobility means the diabetic can exercise more!
Exercising in itself is a known natural way of minimizing diabetes complications. All complementary approaches, such as massage therapy, that aid in improving exercise are therefore welcome by many medical practitioners.
Exercises are so good that they have the same positive effect as some of the Type 2 diabetes medication (a good example will be heightened insulation sensitivity) taken by diabetics.
The strength that comes from exercises has the secondary benefit of avoiding those often unbearable falls by diabetics.
Relief for Neuropathy
Many diabetics unfortunately experience very uncomfortable symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. With gentle massage, these symptoms do improve.
Monitoring of Blood Sugar during Massage
Massage has a dramatic impact on blood sugar levels. One has therefore to monitor blood sugar levels before and after a massage. It has been known to go down by even 100 points as witnessed by one research clinic.
Massage of an injection site may result in higher absorption of insulin unexpectedly reducing blood glucose. Any potential drop in sugar levels should be planned for beforehand.
This is normally solved by taking a dose of carbohydrates before the massage. As a diabetic one needs to record blood sugar levels before and after a massage to understand how massaging affects your sugar levels.
A massage uplifts one’s mood and has a more relaxing effect than a normal rest. The relaxation emanates from a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure. Regular massage is beneficial and should be part of a diabetic treatment plan and can also be used to manage prediabetes symptoms & treatments (treat with massage).
The Massage Chair as a Solution to Massage Therapy
Most diabetics prefer in-home massage therapy to going to a local spa, given the regular nature of these massages to deliver the outlined long-term health benefits. In order to achieve this, diabetics opt for specifically designed massage chairs that offer:
- a circulatory massage that uses deep pressure to relieve muscle pain and eliminate tension
- Shiatsu Massage uses pressure points across the whole body to stimulate relaxation and ease of pain. This form of massage is very good for a Diabetic as it avoids direct contact with the muscles and joints where the most pain is experienced.
- Reflexology: This is for feet massage, important for a diabetic desperately in need of blood circulation to this area
Diabetes is a disease of impaired carbohydrate metabolism that results from inadequate yield or utilization of the hormone insulin.
This critical substance is necessary to convert food into energy by facilitating the transfer of sugar or glucose from the bloodstream into the body’s cells. Many doctors have told us that diabetes can attack the body when there is too much stress in one's life.
If blood glucose is high, the cells are starved for energy, so the person is tired and fatigued. Excessive sugar spills into the urine and causes excessive urination and thirst.
When these signs become active, the disease might be discovered with a blood test to determine glucose levels in the blood. Elevated glucose leads to long-term complications by causing damage at the level of cells.
Did you know you can have cell damage to the eyes, blood vessels, nervous system, kidney, and or the heart?!-very scary.
So you are probably wondering what this article that includes massage chairs has to do with this disease, well massage does work miracles, please read on. What are the benefits they can from massage?
One benefit is the Myofascial effects in which in diabetic patients you may determine a thickening of their connective tissue caused by increased blood sugars.
Why Can't You Massage Someone With Diabetes?
If you can't, you can't. It's that simple. Do you know how much blood sugar drops when you come home after a night out?" I couldn't. I only knew that my mother insisted that she'd find someone she knew to come over and rub my feet since I'd be sleeping by then. I allowed it at first, as long as the feet were non-metabolic—no inflammation.
The next morning, my feet were a mess—bruised, inflamed, red, and bloated, and were hot to the touch. The sheets and blankets were stained with blood. And my mom was laughing and gloating at my brothers. It wasn't long before my mom started pressuring me into doing massage via foot massagers with other family members. There was the other eldest son who complained about aching knees. Another son just needed to get over his sore back. And a third, who'd had to undergo an amputation, begged me to help him with the inflammation.
Massage chairs will help to increase mobility and tissue snap that has been hindered by that thickening effect. A good exercise like stretching will also benefit the patient. When you undergo a massage your body is able to relax and cells heal, helping to fight off disease.
With the release of endorphins, the nervous system calms thus, there is a reduction of stress hormones and the diabetic patient can find a balance with their blood sugar levels. It also increases circulation promoting efficient transport of oxygen throughout the body, and improvement in circulation improves cells' insulin consumption.
Massage such as Swedish aims specifically to affect the circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems. Long, gliding strokes are used to enhance blood and lymph flow; kneading is used to relax muscle tension; and tapping, cupping, and hacking movements are used to stimulate nerves. Some use a gently rhythmic, rocking motion to help the body to relax. Some use deep tissue manipulation to restructure facia (tissue covering).
Some uses of chair massage are used to manipulate blood circulation and release nerve entrapment.
In line with the results of several studies, since diabetic patients can benefit from massage treatments, it is better to give them the best help that we could provide. We do now have massage chairs that can give them the massage they need for their body to improve.
They’ll have greater levels of physical and emotional soothing afterward the session. Comfort that we can have in our home.