I have been asked on many occasions, whether reflexology is a safe treatment for people with diabetes.
I am never 100% sure where this concern arises from, but personally I think people are concerned due to the circulation and nerve trouble that can often develop in the feet as a result of the diabetes.
So the first thing to point out is that reflexology is actually incredibly beneficial for both circulation and the nerves within the feet. And aside from all the other benefits that can be gained by regular reflexology for diabetics the benefits in reducing foot discomfort in my experience really are quite amazing.
So what is diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that results in the individual having high blood sugar levels.
Your blood sugar levels are controlled in the body by 2 hormones, glucagon (causes cells to secret stored sugar into the blood to increases the blood sugar levels) & insulin (causes cells to absorb sugar to decreases the blood sugar levels). In diabetes the insulin does not work correctly resulting in blood sugar levels getting too high.
The increase in blood sugar levels as a result of diabetes have 3 main symptoms, an increase in urination, thrust and hunger. If the blood sugar levels stay too high over a long period of time they can lead to vision changes due to a change in shape of the lens in the eye, however if the blood sugar level is returned to normal this will often reverse itself.
Diabetes can also cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and hyperventilation.
There are 3 main types of diabetes:
Type 1: This is often referred to as “insulin depended diabetes” because this is when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin and requires injections to control the blood sugar levels.
Type 2: When the cells of the body develop a resistance to insulin and they do not absorb sugars out of the blood.
Gestational diabetes: During pregnancy the pancreas needs to produce extra insulin and if it doesn’t this can lead to a pregnancy related diabetes.
How can Reflexology Help?
Reflexology is great for the localised symptoms of poor circulation and neuropathy (a tingling, numbness, coldness, pain or loss of sensation due to never damage).
But reflexology can do more than that. By working on the feet to stimulate and balance the whole body, and by spending time on specific areas within the body though reflex points in the feet, reflexology can help to return the body back to a balanced state and encourage a general feeling of health and vitality.
By working on the pancreas and generally the endocrine (hormonal) system reflexology can encourage the production of insulin by helping the cells that produce the insulin to work as efficiently as possible.
The liver would be another key area to work on through reflexology, due to its processing functions being effected by an increase in blood sugar levels.
Reflexology is also great for symptom management; the areas worked on would vary depending on the individuals needs but examples would be the digestive system to reduce nausea and pain or the urinary system to help with the excessive urination.
For treating diabetes initially it is recommended to have regular treatments, once of twice a week. As general vitality and health improve the sessions can be spread out further until they would be once every month to 6 weeks as maintenance. Or until they are no longer required (such as in the case of gestational diabetes)
Written by Jackie Potts