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CATCM - Canadian Association of Therapists in Complementary Medicine

ACDM - Association Canadienne des Massothérapeutes  et Autres thérapeutes en Médecines Alternatives

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There is no cure for diabetes, but one can slow down the progression of this disease which touches about 5 % of the population of Quebec. The manipulations of the massage therapist constitute one of the means of reaching that point. The intervention of the massage therapist compares itself of a relation of assistance, which contributes to reduce the stress of the anguishes related to the diabetes.

Diabetes and its consequences
There is two main forms of diabetes: insulin-dependent diabetes, which appears generally before the age of 30 years, and the non insulin-dependent diabetes, which strikes generally after the age of 40 and whose frequency in the population increases with the age. This form of diabetes would be present at approximately 10 % of the people of more than 60 years.

Another form of diabetes, temporary that one, appears during the pregnancy and disappears with the childbirth. The women who are affected risk more to suffer later from diabetes. Whatever the type of diabetes, the excess of glucose in the blood can settle in certain tissues of the body. Structure and functioning of these tissues are then altered, and the small blocked vessels can provoke renal or visual complications. It is possible however to prevent these problems that is why the tracking and the early treatment of these complications are essential. Massage therapy can also bring a certain support for the person affected by diabetes.

Massage therapy and the diabetes
Aware of numerous physical demonstrations of the diabetes, the therapist ask questions to his(her) client concerning the appetite (exaggerated food, loss of weight), thirst (intense and continual), fatigue, slumber, increase of the volume of urines and frequency of mictions, high blood pressure and numbness of hands and feet. If some of these symptoms are present, the therapist makes sure that the client is followed by a doctor.

The therapist proceeds then to an exam which aims to draw up assessment of the muscles, joints and tissues. The attention concerns particularly feet, clavicles, scapulas and movements of the shoulder, fingers and hands as well as on the movements of the spinal column. He also checks if there are spots on toes, wounds and signs of slow healing.

The manipulations which he makes then are particularly beneficial, that it is about the massage of appeal, which favors the blood circulation and the lymphatic return, or gentle, shallow effleurages, because of the fragility of the skin and the capillaries. Petrissages and drainages are slow, shallow and little numerous during first sessions. Without replacing the exercise, petrissages can be used as passive exercises. As for frictions, they are done mainly on the tendons of the small muscles and on the lower limbs, but ever on the swollen zones. Finally, vibrations under ribs help to improve visceral reflexes.

The benefactions of the massage
In what can a visit to a professional massage therapist be useful for the person affected by diabetes? Advantages are numerous. Massage favors relaxation while acting on nervous system. It helps to eliminate the surpluses of adrenalin and of noradrenalin, two hormones often related to a high glycaemia. Massage decreases frequency and the importance of the swelling to the feet and increases the contribution of nutriments and oxygen to the skin and to the muscles.

Sometimes victim of discrimination, the diabetic can feel a feeling of loss of self-esteem. He can also feel the need to express to the massage therapist the concern and insecurity caused by the fight against a disease which is not cured. He will precisely find a great comfort in the relation of help which which the massage therapist can offer him.





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