When you have diabetics, the fight-or-flight response which is the body’s response to stress can cause problems. As your blood glucose increases you may not have enough insulin to move this glucose into your cells. This can result in your blood glucose levels becoming high. The below spa massages help to relieve this.
- Name of the therapy: Potli/kizhi massage
How it is done: Potli/kizhi is a massage which uses small herbal pouches made of various herbs which are warmed in medicated oils. They are then used to massage the entire body or specific areas like the back, neck, shoulders, hands and joints.
Benefits of Potli massage: Dr. Dinesh Dasgoswami, Spa Manager, Arogya Spa, Hyatt Regency Pune says, “Potli massage is a beneficial therapy which gives you greater levels of physical and emotional comfort. It improves blood circulation. Improved circulation, in turn, improves the cell’s insulin uptake. It deeply relaxes diabetics who are living with the physical and psychological stresses of living with a debilitating disease and the need to self-medicate and monitor on a daily basis, as well as the burden diabetes puts on the body and its systems. There is a therapeutic connection between massage and diabetes.” With the release of endorphins, the nervous system calms, there is a reduction of stress hormones and the diabetic person can find a homeostasis with their blood sugar levels.
Precautions for diabetics: Follow up with your doctor. You may be advised to lower your medication on days you go for a massage if your blood sugar levels are well-controlled and usually within target range. Maintain atleast a gap of one hour between food intake and the massage.
2 Name of the therapy: Abhyanga and Udwartanam
How it is done: Abhyanga which is a whole body Ayurvedic long stroke massage is done with Chandanabalalakshadi oil. Udwarthanam is where different herbal powders like Sariva and Manjishtha are mixed together and after Abhyanga rubbed against the hair growth on the entire body.
Benefits of Abhyanga and Udwartanam: Dr Darshana Sawale, Heavenly Spa Manager, Westin Pune explains, “Due to increase in the sugar level, the nerve cells are damaged leading to a loss of sensation in the hands and feet. In addition to this, there is a burning sensation in the arms, hands, legs and feet due to loss of motor nerve fiber. Chandanabalalaskhadi oil in Abhyanga helps to strengthen your muscles, nerves, tendons and joints. Fatigue is a common symptom of diabetics. Massage with this medicated oil refreshes and energizes the person.
Due to peripheral neuropathy, the circulation and proper functioning of the sweat gland is hampered resulting in dry and itchy skin. Abhyanga aids circulation and helps to keep skin soft and moisturized. Udwarthanam improves functioning of the sweat gland, makes the body and mind alert and gives a sense of lightness to the body.”
Precautions for diabetics: The therapist needs to look out for the symptoms of Hypoglycemia which is a sudden decrease of sugar levels during treatment. The symptoms can be excessive sweating, headache and palpitation. Immediately consuming fresh fruit juice, honey or chocolate can avoid further consequences. As a diabetic you need to check for the cleanliness and hygiene of the spa, as diabetics can easily catch infection.
3 Name of the therapy: Deep Tissue Massage
How it is done: Deep-tissue massage is a specific type of massage therapy that concentrates on the deep layers of muscle and fascia in the body. By using deep finger pressure and slow, firm strokes, deep tissue massage is used to treat a variety of physical ailments.
Benefits of deep tissue massage: A relaxing massage can decrease anxiety, and this is especially important for people with diabetes. Stress hormones can interfere in the ability of the body to use insulin effectively, and when these counter-regulatory hormones are controlled by inducing relaxation, blood sugar can drop. Sahdev Mehta, General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune-Chinchwad adds, ‘In many cases, a deep tissue massage has replaced the classic Swedish massage in terms of frequency of use at our Aristo Spa. Whereas visitors to any spa may have traditionally sought out a massage that simply relaxed, now they are seeking a massage that also stimulates, conditions, and heals which is what a deep tissue massage does.”
Elevated blood sugar can often impair the circulation of people with diabetes. Massage is a proven method to increase circulation of blood that carries oxygen and nutrients to the body. Improved circulation also improves the efficiency of insulin. Sabrina F.B. Hougaard, Director Operations, Serena Spa adds, “Since diabetes is a debilitating disease, with the added stress of daily monitoring and self medicating, the possibility of depression is high. In fact this increases the risk for depression at a rate of four times the normal population. Massage will usually increase a person’s feeling of well being. Connective tissue can be thickened by high blood sugar. Mobility and tissue elasticity may be increased by massage like deep tissue specially in younger people.”
Added mobility will also make it easier for diabetics to stretch and exercise more effectively. This is another proven method of lowering blood sugar levels. Usually starting in the legs, a loss of feeling and sometimes pain can occur when excess blood sugar settles around nerves in the extremities. A light deep-tissue massage in the area affected by peripheral neuropathy can improve circulation to the extremities, often relieving the symptoms.
Precautions for diabetics: When diabetes is advanced, the blood vessels can be damaged by excess sugar. As the massage gets the blood circulating, the vessels could be damaged further by the extra blood being forced through. For patients with damaged blood vessels, it’s always best to consult a doctor before getting a massage.