Reflexology A to Z: D is for Diabetes

I’m starting at the blunt end today because I have some very close-to-home experience of this nasty character. Is it just me? I do tend to think of these conditions as personalities. Unpleasant doesn’t come near to describing this  villain. So…

Can Reflexology Help?


My husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 10 years ago and he is of the age when some of the nastier symptoms might be expected to be showing up …… but by combining his medications with regular reflexology  ( and his feeble attempts at controlling his diet and increasing his exercise) he suffers very little. He does not experience sensory loss in his feet and so far has no diabetic neuropathy. We have some evidence to suggest that treatment helps to balance his blood glucose  levels. We know there is no ‘cure’ but we do think his regular reflexology is helping to keep him healthy.

So how does that work then?

The non scientific version is simply the notion that regular massage stimulates the nerve endings, touch is in itself very therapeutic and the rest is a coincidence! However there are some well documented studies which suggest it is much more than that. One such study conducted in 2014 (cited at the end) took 58 suffers and divided them into 2 groups. One group received only the usual meds and advice, the other lucky group got 2 x30 mins of reflexology a day for a month. The results were amazing. A highly significant 52% improvement in pain reduction and even better a statistically significant improvement in blood glucose levels. What really fascinated me was the treatment protocol :  it mirrored the pattern I use on Dr O.

Let me explain

Bear with me…I’m very excited about this! The treatment group had reflexology to balance energy levels, to stimulate the endocrine system, to support the urinary tract and to treat pain in the lower body, including the sciatic nerve, the hips and knees. Guess what, that’s what I do to Dr O’s feet!

This protocol meets some of the main problems which diabetics encounter. To give you a flavour of the complications…diabetes is metabolic condition and unmanaged is very dangerous affecting nearly every organ in the body including eye problems like cataracts and glaucoma, urinary tract infections, kidney damage and eventually damage to the blood vessels particularly at extremities which can result in heart problems, stroke and gangrene.

It is thought that there are now 4 million people in the UK with diabetes according to and is thought to be one of the fastest growing health threats of our time. We really need to be seriously talking about prevention and everyone should be aware of the danger of a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet but these are not the only causes and answers to the problem are not simple.


No Cure

I’m  not suggesting that reflexology will cure diabetes but our personal experience is that it has helped, alongside the usual medications and lifestyle measures which should be in place. Diagnosed diabetics seem to me to be among some of the best informed clients about their own condition, the support and education they can receive from the NHS is outstanding. They are quickly taught how to manage their condition but often  there is huge reliance on medication.  Advice about diet and exercise is now becoming more common but I will really celebrate when the NHS starts to recognise that holistic treatments like reflexology can play their part too.


Krishna Dalal, V. Bharathi Maran, Ravindra M. Pandey, and Manjari Tripathi, “Determination of Efficacy of Reflexology in Managing Patients with Diabetic Neuropathy: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2014, Article ID 843036, 11 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/843036

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