Very often diabetics loose the feeling in their feet and lower legs or experience pain in them, this is known as diabetic neuropathy and can in some cases lead to necessary amputation. It is therefore something that needs regular monitoring. Massage has been known to help with this condition greatly. I however had not come across this before and was very interested to investigate for myself.
My client presented with type 1 diabetes and described her diminished sensation as feeling as if she always had tight
socks on. She also has periods where there is no feeling whatsoever. This has in one instance resulted in a third degree burn on her toe, from an indoor heater, that she was only alerted to by the smell of burning.
Naturally I opted for a lower leg and foot massage, aiming to stimulate the nerves and increase her level of sensation. She had received massage before but never for her feet. Diabetics can also suffer from thinning of the skin and so I had to be very careful not to cause any damage. The treatment went very well. Gradually she began to report more and more sensations, I started with the legs to warm up the tissues before moving onto the feet. The techniques on her feet were welcomed ans enjoyed and she was very pleased and surprised at the amount of pressure she experienced. Upon finishing the session she was very positive about the potential that massage could have for her neuropathy. The best however was yet to come. After dismounting the couch she stood on the carpet and was genuinely shocked to discover that she could actually feel the carpet fibres with her feet. She slowly moved her feet from side to side across the carpet in astonishment. Such a sensation had not been experienced for years and she clearly had not expected it ever again.
Unfortunately the effect was short lived and within a couple of days she was back to her usual diminished sensation. However repeated treatments have accomplished the same result and in between her sessions with me she has been massaging her feet herself. Regular stimulation of the nerves has been found to benefit her immensely and has supported previous findings that Swedish Massage can assist with the symptoms caused by diabetic neuropathy.