Research demonstrates that therapeutic massage is an ideal method for supporting an HIV - infected person's immune system.
Therefore massage therapy, combined with compassion and care, can be an important treatment to help on the way to recovery.
Due to the stigma of HIV, the hands-on intimacy of massage therapy provides a great psychological benefit to a client with HIV.
Adolescents who received massage therapy as opposed to those who experienced relaxation therapy, reported feeling less anxious, less depressed and demonstrated enhanced immune function.
A recent study of massage's impact on HIV - positive children.
Researchers observed a marked increase in natural killer cells in HIV - positive children receiving massage therapy than those who did not receive massage. Natural killer cells are unique in that they attack only cells infected by a microbe. The children who did not receive massage had a steady decrease of these important immune cells, while those receiving treatment either remained stable or had an increase in natural killer cells.
Why massage works for HIV.
Massage boosts the immune system function by:
Reducing anxiety and stress.
Increasing white blood cell counts.
Decreasing levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Activating natural killer cells.
Massage can also decrease pain by relieving:
General body tension.
Additionally, by increasing blood flow, massage assists in the removal of toxins while increasing oxygen and nutrients to areas with symptoms.
Also very therapeutic, increasing endorphins in the body, the feel good hormone.