Alternative Relaxation Techniques for Diabetes and Lowering Basal Rates

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • I’m a practical person, I love what science can tell us, and as a diabetic I need to understand medicine to survive and thrive in life.  But when we live in pain and discomfort and conventional medicine doesn’t help.. what next?  I am a partner in an integrated wellness center called the Body in Balance Center. Being a massage therapist was not something that I aspired to be, but fell into, and have found it a source of fulfillment and personal healing that I am grateful to experience. 


    What is Complimentary Alternative Medicine, CAM? NCCAM as explained by the National Institute of Health:

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    CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Conventional medicine is medicine as practiced by holders of M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degrees and by their allied health professionals, such as physical therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses. Some health care providers practice both CAM and conventional medicine. While some scientific evidence exists regarding some CAM therapies, for most there are key questions that are yet to be answered through well-designed scientific studies--questions such as whether these therapies are safe and whether they work for the diseases or medical conditions for which they are used.”

    Since entering the massage field 20 years ago, it has changed and become much more mainstream.  Acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic, biofeedback, holistic nutrition are all topics for many dinner parties these days.  Who does it and what does it do?  Hospitals are seeing a strong market demand for non traditional forms of healing and many hospitals now offer yoga, meditation, massage and acupuncture to patients for a myriad of health problems at the hospital facility. NIH has many studies ongoing to explore these methods of treatment. 

    Integrated health care has been a positive experience for me.  I look at the body in 3 dimensions: body, mind and spirit.  How those three are behaving together reflects in how I feel physically or “diabetically”.  For example, when I’m stressed mentally I tend to have higher blood sugars.  Cortisol rules like a monster!  Yoga and meditation are tools that I use to change my numbers and bring back balance. Focusing on the mind letting go and the body moving through postures drops my stress like a rock and my blood sugar tends to do the same!  Massages also help relax me physically and mentally, and I'm often aware of places in my body that are tense and was not unconscious of it.  And I regularly use acupuncture to help bolster my immune system.  It all works in small ways to make a difference and that difference is reflected in my overall health. 

    I shared a story with several people about a recent experience with a reiki therapist that I have brought into my practice.  Christine Kiesinger is a savvy, “unearthy crunchy” woman who teaches at GeorgeWashingtonUniversity in DC.  She offered a series of reiki treatments for me to experience her technique.  I had experienced reiki many years ago and felt that it was not for me; too esoteric and metaphysical. My experience with Christine has shaken my opinion, and I’m still trying to evaluate how to explain to someone what a gifted reiki therapist can do.

  • When a physicist talks about energy no one questions the science.  But when body workers talk about energy as related to the body, many people judge the science as “bunk”.  In fact, scientists and MDs agree the body has energy.  I think the question is: Do they believe that touch can change the energy within someone’s body to create a physical reaction?  From personal experience, I’d have to say it depends on several factors, two of the most important: the mental state of the recipient and the ability of the therapist. And I think that my experience with Reiki was a perfect example of the two elements working together: comfortable open mind and gifted therapist.

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    Reiki is done with nothing more than the heat of the hands.  By placing the hands in strategic places on the body it is believed to dislodge energy blockages.  The heat of Christine’s hands was so hot I was sweating thru my shirt.  When she placed her hands over my spleen and pancreas she stayed for a long time.  All I could feel was relaxation washing over me, and my extremities twitched and relaxed over 90 minutes.  When she was done she explained that she felt the need to hang over my spleen and pancreas as they were like sponges soaking up all the heat of her hands. She also sensed that my adrenal glands were cold and needed healing attention.  I shared with Christine that I was a diabetic and what she was telling me made sense.  When I left the office we planned for another treatment the next day, same time. 


    By 5pm, I was curled up in a chair wrapped in a blanket sipping tea.  My blood sugar was soaring toward 350 and I hadn’t had anything to eat.  I increased my basal rate on my pump and remained calm.  By 8pm, my husband was asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital.  I had fever, chills, nausea and my bg had climbed and seemed to be hovering at 477.


    I looked at my worried husband and said, “What am I gonna tell them? I had an energy treatment and I need to be hospitalized?”  I couldn’t explain to myself what was happening, but I did believe I needed to stay quiet and watchful.  The night was uncomfortable and tense, I increased my basal rate to double and nothing was changing that bg level from 477.  I sweated from the waist down and had some vivid dreams.


    The next day I arrived at my office and told Christine what was happening and she too was concerned.  She asked if I wanted to go on, and I instantly said yes I wanted to see if I could dislodge this negative effect for something better!!  I took my bg right before the treatment and I had gotten it down to 378. Over the 12 hours I had increased the basal rate 175%.  In prep for the treatment I lowered to it's normal rate.

    For 90 minutes I lay there absorbing more energy from Christine’s hands and again my body deeply relaxed and rested.  90 minutes later my bg was reading 234.  A 20 minute drive home yielded another 100 point drop.  That night I slept well and got up the next day with a blood glucose of 85.  On my third and final treatment, I had to turn off the pump in the middle and I could feel a rise in energy as I lay there.  I was aware that something had shifted, but what? At the end of my treatment my bg read 85 and hovered at 85 effortlessly for the next 5 days.

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    In the long haul of controlling the disease, I think it’s very important to know yourself; to be mindful of not only your physical wellbeing, but also mindful of the emotional and spiritual needs.   For the past 3 years, I thought my middle name was “loss”.  Changes I could not have imagined collided in a short period of time requiring me to adjust.  I grieved for many different losses and all of them felt profound.  Challenges like that require us to learn and change.  I had no choice but to look at them and evaluate what was most important to me. 

    I have a strong desire to thrive, not just survive, so with every loss came the challenge to figure out what I needed to do to heal and recover.  For me, reiki was an extraordinary experience about the process of tuning into my 3 dimensional healing.




Published On: March 28, 2007