Top 4 Complementary Therapies For HIV
Complementary therapies for HIV are not alternatives for HIV medications. But it can be used along with antiretroviral medications to manage stress, some symptoms and maintain overall health. Here are four complementary therapies for HIV which can help you feel better.
Four Complementary Therapies For HIV
Yoga is one of the ancient practices which usually involves stretching your body and forming different postures while keeping breathing controlled. There are numerous health benefits to yoga, starting from physical health to spiritual transformation. For people living with HIV, yoga can be helpful by easing pain, lowering blood pressure, and reducing stress.
It is well known that stress can negatively impact mental health and the immune system. By lowering stress and improving mood, yoga can help people with HIV stick with a treatment plan and lead productive lives. A 2016 study on HIV people states that regular practice of yoga helps reduce depression and improve immunity by increasing CD4 counts.
Massage therapy is one of the oldest techniques used to manage pain. A massage therapist uses varying degrees of pressure and movement and manipulates the body's soft tissues. Most people get massages for relaxation, and they can help reduce stress, lessen muscle tension, lessen pain, and even improve immune function. Like yoga, massage therapies can also help people living with HIV by improving their mood, reducing stress, and easing pain.
It is better to double-check with your healthcare provider if you have the risk of bone, nerve, or circulatory problems, as massage may not suit you. Older adults with high health risks may be more susceptible to blood clots or fractures from massage.
In acupuncture, acupuncture professionals insert very thin needles into precise points throughout the body to balance the body’s energy with the aim of restoring and maintaining health. In people with HIV, acupuncture may help reduce anxiety, pain, sleeping troubles, nausea linked with antiretroviral medications, and irregular menstrual periods.
Getting acupuncture may cause side effects such as pain and bleeding, bruising, dizziness, and skin rash in some individuals. If you take anticoagulant medications, have low platelet counts, or are at risk of bleeding or bruising, you should consult your doctor before going for it.
4. Meditation And Mindfulness Techniques
Meditation involves training your attention and awareness. During meditation, you concentrate on your breathing or on a particular object, phrase, or idea to create a calm and relaxed state. A 2008 study on mindfulness meditation training on HIV-infected adult people states that mindfulness meditation may help stop the decline of CD4 T cells (immune cells) in HIV-positive patients suffering from stress.
Regular meditation can help improve cognitive function, reduce stress, improve sleep, and lower blood pressure. This simple and easy technique rarely may worsen symptoms like anxiety in people with active mental illness. If you have any existing mental health disorders, talk to your psychiatrist before beginning a meditation practice.
Things To Know Before Using These Therapies
Before following any complementary therapies for HIV or taking any herbal or dietary supplements, the first thing you must do is to consult your physician. He/ she can tell you whether a therapy is suitable for your medical history and HIV. Do not expect results instantly. These therapies can take a certain time to produce the benefits. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it carries zero risk. Though rare, it is possible to have side effects, particularly when you have some health conditions.
While getting a massage or acupuncture, if you experience pain or anything that hurts, let your professional know so that he/ she can recognize what is wrong and work accordingly. Make sure you get the therapies from a licensed and properly trained professional. If you come across any electrical or magnetic devices claiming that they are miracle cures for HIV, remember that nothing has been scientifically proven to cure HIV yet. Discuss such things with your healthcare professional if you have doubts.
The Bottom Note
Various scientific studies state that people heal better with good mental and emotional health. Also, having HIV is a potential source of depression which can negatively impact the disease progression. The complementary therapies for HIV, such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and massage, can help reduce stress and live a happy life.