The blood-glucose levels of diabetic children were significantly lower after the children received 15 minutes of Swedish massage, according to recent research.

The study, “How Effective is Swedish Massage on Blood Glucose Level in Children with Diabetes Mellitus?” involved 36 diabetic children, ranging in age from 6 to 12 years old. These subjects were randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a control group.

Participants in the intervention group received 15 minutes of Swedish massage three times a week for three months. Besides the addition of massage, parents were asked to keep their child’s daily routine the same, including diet, exercise and medication regimen.

A nurse trained in Swedish massage taught the children’s parents to perform the intervention, then supervised the parents as they gave their children the Swedish massage. Each 15-minute session was performed at 8 a.m. in a quiet and comfortable room. The Swedish massage began with the subject undressed and supine on a bed. Using massage lotion, the parent massaged the child’s arms, neck, head, torso, feet and legs. Then the subject moved to the prone position, and the massage continued on the legs, hips and back. Blood-glucose level was measured immediately after each of these massage sessions.

Subjects in the control group did not receive any intervention but were instructed to continue with their daily routines, including exercise, diet and medication regimens. The blood-glucose levels of the children in the control group were measured at 8:30 a.m. three times a week for three months.

Results of the research showed Swedish massage significantly lowered the blood-glucose levels of the diabetic children, whereas no such change was detected in the control group.

“In conclusion, addition of Swedish massage as a complementary treatment to daily routines, exercise, diet and medication regimens, is an effective intervention to reduce blood-glucose levels in diabetic children,” state the study’s authors. “Considering that parents continue to explore and utilize all health-care options for their children, and Swedish massage is cost-effective, easy and available, so it is essential to be taught to caregivers for better metabolic control in diabetic children.”


Authors: Firoozeh Sajedi, Zahra Kashaninia, Samaneh Hoseinzadeh and Akram Abedinipoor.

Sources: Pediatric Neurorehabilitation Research Center and Department of Nursing,  University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Department of Biostatistics, Tarbiat Modares University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; and Department of Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran. Originally published in 2011 in Acta Medica Iranica, 49(9), 592-591.