Diabetes and Massage Therapy: What You Need to Know

Diabetes is a killer.

Several in my family developed type 2 diabetes later in life, making some difficult aging years even more difficult. For many, diabetes can lead to foot or leg amputations, blindness, organ failure, and even death. The sad irony is that the disease is both preventable and treatable.

Pathology expert and massage educator Ruth Werner tells us that 21 million Americans have the type 2 diabetes mellitus diagnosis, while another 8 million are likely affected, but don’t yet know they have it.

As massage therapists, you need to be doubly mindful about diabetes, and who on your client list might be dealing with the disease. The implications for MTs are important to understand—inadequate disease management, peripheral neuropathy, skin ulcers, and compromised fluid management systems are just a few of the things you need to know about.

I suggest everyone read Werner’s article in the September/October 2017 issue of Massage & Bodywork; it’s a great overview of diabetes and what you need to know as a massage therapist. Your aging clients may soon start developing this disease. Are you ready to safely work with them?

—Karrie Osborn is senior editor at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals

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