More than 16 million people have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is where the body does not produce enough insulin, so you have to inject yourself with insulin. Type 2 diabetes is when you may be able to control your blood glucose levels by following a special diet and exercise program. Some people with Type 2 diabetes also need to inject themselves with insulin.
Hydrotherapy (water therapy) has been found to help people with Type 2 diabetes, according to a New England Journal of Medicine article. Spa therapy (or hot tub therapy), according to the study, can be beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes because it has been found to reduce blood sugar levels, improve overall sleep patterns, and give people with diabetes an increased sense of well-being.
Unfortunately, because many people with Type 2 diabetes are unable to follow the rigorous type of exercise program most doctors recommend, soaking in a hot tub is now seen as an alternate therapy. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed how a 30-minute soak a day for three consecutive weeks reduced overall blood sugar levels in people participating in the study by 13 percent.
Another benefit to soaking in a hot tub or enjoying time in a walk-in spa is that many people with diabetes, who often report high levels of stress, feel better and less stressed after participating in a form of hydrotherapy treatment. People with diabetes also reported relaxed muscles, increased circulation, and reduced blood pressure.
The water you soak in appears to also be an effective pain reliever because it gives your body buoyancy that does not or would not otherwise occur. Soaking in water can help support all areas of your body, contribute to reduced muscle and join pain, invigorate your muscles, and stimulate the release of chemicals and hormones in your body, which can help you feel better.
Other things people with Type 2 diabetes can do to lessen symptoms of their diabetes include:
- Avoiding starchy foods
- Avoiding eating foods with high amounts of oil (or, using less oil in food you cook)
- Enjoying a low-fat diet
- Avoiding junk foods
- Avoiding sweets
- Avoiding alcohol and coffee
- Avoiding stress or other less-relaxing activities
People with Type 1 diabetes may also benefit from hydrotherapy, as these people also report joint stiffness and a limited range of motion. Both of these side effects of the diabetes may be alleviated by hydrotherapy, but the diabetes itself may not be affected.