Diabetes FAQ: Is it safe to get a massage if you are diabetic?

Getting a massage definitely relaxes you. But what if you're diabetic? Find out if it is safe.

Is getting a massage if you're diabetic a good option? The answer is YES! According to a study[1], massage therapy has been recommended for diabetes for nearly 100 years. Massage when incorporated into relaxation therapy, is said to normalise your blood glucose level. It also reduces stress and anxiety levels. There are lots of massage therapy techniques that may last anywhere from 15 and 90 minutes. The oils used during the massage improve your blood circulation and digestion. Massage therapy has also become very popular among people. Many people also get a massage just for recreational purpose or to pamper themselves.

According to another study[2], Swedish massage is the most widely practiced massage therapy in the United States. In a Swedish massage, the masseuse uses a variety of strokes to improve the blood circulation and manipulate the soft tissues to relax your body. Dr Pradeep Gadge, chief diabetologist at Dr Gadge's Diabetes Care Centre, Mumbai, says,' Getting a massage is good for your health if you are diabetic, but only if it is a gentle massage. It relieves the patient from stress and controls the blood pressure. Foot reflexology is also a good option for diabetics.' Do you know how much your normal blood sugar reading should be?

Do's and Don'ts

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  • Do not get a massage if your condition is severe or if you have any other ailments like heart disease or osteoporosis along with diabetes.
  • Consult your doctor before getting a massage about the type of massage that you should go for.
  • Go to a well-trained masseuse and not just any massage parlour.
  • Always let the masseuse know about your condition. If it helps, carry along a medical certificate from your doctor.

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1. Vickers, A., & Zollman, C. (1999). ABC of complementary medicine: Massage therapies. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 319(7219), 1254.

2. Ezzo, J., Donner, T., Nickols, D., & Cox, M. (2001). Is massage useful in the management of diabetes? A systematic review. Diabetes Spectrum, 14(4), 218-224.

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