Massage and Diabetes

Massage continues to grow as a complementary therapy for everything from simple aches and pains to more serious illnesses. Despite stereotypical images of people experiencing a relaxing/spa type massage, nearly 75% of those who seek massage do so for a specific health complaint for which they have already consulted a physician. Diabetes is no exception.

Researchers at the CDC estimate that more than 29.1 million Americans (almost 10% of the population) have diabetes. About 27% of these are undiagnosed. While diabetes is more common in seniors (about 1 in 4 seniors are diagnosed with diabetes), the prevalence in youth is growing as well.

The good news is that diagnosis is getting more accurate and prevention and treatment options growing. So what role does massage play in those with diabetes? Turns out, there are several major benefits.

What massage can do for diabetes

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Massage Can Reduce Neuropathy Pain

Neuropathy is a fairly common condition that involves problems with nerves, primarily “peripheral” nerves, like those that run through your arms and legs. Some people with peripheral neuropathy don’t even realize it. Others are debilitated by pain and numbness. Either way, the tingling sensations, itching, burning or “pins-and-needles” sensations in hands or feet, are worth a look by a medical professional.

While there are several types of neuropathy, the two most common are diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Both involve damaged and painful distal sensory and motor nerves. In DPN, the cause is uncontrolled blood glucose (diabetes), while CIPN is a side effect of chemotherapy.

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You Are Probably Not Moving Enough

movemoreThe average man burns about 2,800 calories a day and a woman burns approximately 2,200 calories in a day. But these numbers are for fairly active people. Men who are pretty sedentary use 2,200 calories and a woman uses about 1,600.

A recent meta-analysis of 18 studies found that those who sat for the longest periods of time were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease, compared to those who sat the least.

“Even for people who are otherwise active, sitting for long stretches seems to be an independent risk factor for conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease.” Lead researcher Thomas Yates, MD 

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