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Massage Therapy for Diabetes

July 22nd, 2015 2:03 am

The Physical and Emotional Damage of Diabetes

Diabetes affects the body’s ability to either produce or use insulin, the naturally occurring hormone that assists in transferring glucose to the body’s cells. In both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, blood glucose levels are raised, starving the patient’s body of energy. The most immediate physical reaction is fatigue, but extremely high blood glucose levels become dangerous, especially when the body is subjected to them over periods of time. Cell damage begins to occur in the kidneys, heart, eyes and other organs. Once diagnosed with diabetes, patients must keep a permanent watchful eye on their condition in order to preserve their health.

Diabetes is not only a disease affecting the body. Daily injections, constant blood glucose level checks, and the need for regular check-ins with physicians can take an emotional toll as well. Diabetes patients are twice as likely to encounter depression, according to data collected by the National Institute for Mental Health. With one out of every 10 adults over age 20 suffering from diabetes, it’s important to exhaust each and every treatment option in the hopes of maintaining equilibrium in body and mind, and massage therapy offers specific benefits for diabetes patients.

Benefits of Regular Massages

The main obstacle facing diabetes patients is insulin absorption. Since many patients have poor circulation, massage is an ideal solution, as it stimulates the lymph system, encouraging the cells to improve insulin absorption function.

A common side effect of diabetes is stiff or inflamed joints. When glucose levels are high, the connective tissues and muscles suffer a lack of mobility or lowered range of motion. Massage works against a thickened myofascial system and improves litheness of the muscles.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, after only a 15-minute chair massage, studied subjects all showed significantly lower levels of stress and improvements in their emotional state. For diabetic patients living with daily challenges, reducing anxiety is a major hurdle to overcome on their path to lifelong wellness.

Potential Risks

After a massage, patients might feel light-headed or disoriented. It is vitally important for diabetic massage therapy patients to test their blood sugar levels and ensure they are not suffering from low blood sugar. This state, also called hypoglycemia, includes feeling dizzy and fatigued.

Additionally, diabetic patients must inform their practitioner of their condition and take note of how their blood sugar levels respond to a massage. Each individual reaction is different, but glucose levels typically drop between 20 and 40 milligrams per deciliter.

Form a safe, personalized trial treatment plan after consulting with your physician before utilizing massage therapy or a massage chair. Expect to see massage therapy help diabetes symptoms recede due to physical relaxation, leading to emotional and mental well-being.

The Protein Bar Problem

July 22nd, 2015 2:02 am

Just because it’s “formulated for success” or “engineered to give you maximum performance” doesn’t mean that’s always the case. As with anything from buying a car to getting a new blender, it pays to do your research.

When picking out a protein bar, I recommend looking at the following main areas:

Main Areas

  • Overall Fat/Saturated Fat – You need some fat in your diet. However you don’t need a lot of saturated fat, and even the other fats should be taken in moderation. One of the first things to look for in a protein bar is the fat and more importantly the saturated fat content. You would be shocked at how much saturated fat is in some of these things. Generally, a good tip-off that this might be the case is the flavor – anything with “creamy peanut butter” or “chocolate fudge”, etc. is probably not a great choice. Your daily nutritional value based on a 2,000 calorie diet is 20g – and really you don’t need this much – and some of these bars contain half or more of that value.
  • Carbohydrates – Less about the total amount in your choice, and more about the break up of that amount. What you want is high fiber content. However what you’ll see a lot of the time is high sugar content. Sometimes shockingly so, as in most of the carbs are from sugar. It’s OK to have some, especially if you are taking this after a workout, but you don’t want 28g of carbs and have 27 of those come from sugar. Fiber helps your overall digestion as well as keeps you full longer.
  • Protein – How much are you actually getting in comparison to the two categories above? It may sound obvious, but in general a good protein bar will be giving you around 20g of protein. If you’re not getting that, you should at least see proportional decreases in the other categories. If not, you’re really only getting carbs and fats, and a smattering of protein.
  • “All Natural” Labeling – Another big marketing technique – “All Natural” does not necessarily equate to “All Good”. Sugar, saturated fat, etc. – these all exist in nature. Maybe the source is a bit better, but the ingredients remain.

Some of the biggest offenders when it comes to offering a lot of flash and a little substance can be found in the breakfast bar category. They can bill themselves as more of a protein bar but in general are mostly sugar and saturated fat. Meal replacement bars can also be a trojan horse – They might give you a good amount of protein but the other ingredients will be way out of proportion, especially the saturated fat content. One big name offender that might surprise you is MetRx. I will say they recently came out with a bar that is much more balanced but for instance their meal replacement line is very deceiving when you get into the nutritional content.

Personally I recommend Quest Nutrition Bars. They are high in both Fiber and Protein, with 0g saturated fat flavor options. I also have tried a number of flavors and find them pretty tasty. I recommend the Apple Pie flavor. They can be purchased online at among other places but I’ve also seen them at Whole Foods and GNC (if you are a member then they are about the same price as at If you are picking them up at Whole Foods, your paying about $10 more per box then you would find online.

Bottom Line: Overall, just make sure you look at the nutritional breakdown before you spring for that protein bar – it definitely will open your eyes and hopefully allow you to make the smartest choice out of what you have available.

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