Guest Author - Barbara Sharpe
When it comes to health and HIV, there are as many options as there are people, as far as complimentary, or alternative, therapies, go. It really depends on what the person wants and what problems they are having. For some, there is no problem at all, they only want to stay healthy for as long as they can.
Let’s begin with chiropractic care.
According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), “chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.” For a person with HIV/AIDS, these are common complaints. For some, chiropractic care can help. Also according to the ACA, , there is no evidence that chiropractic care strengthens the immune system. If a person is looking for help alleviating certain symptoms, such as headaches or back pain, chiropractic care can be a good choice.
There are medical doctors who insist that chiropractic is based on faulty science and simply doesn’t work Millions of chiropractic patients disagree. Regardless of your own doctor’s predisposition, be sure to tell her if you’re under the care of a chiropractor as well. Your HIV doctor needs to be informed of all the therapies you are using to better manage your care.
Reiki is a therapy often recommended to people with HIV/AIDS because it’s supposed to improve your immune system. There is no medical evidence to suggest that it does but there is also none to suggest that it’s harmful. According to Reiki practitioners, Reiki also reduces stress, increases energy levels, and helps improve chronic health problems. Reiki practitioners recommend Reiki in addition to traditional treatments rather than in place of them. Some people report feeling better and having less pain or other symptoms but whether that is due to the Reiki or the so-called placebo effect is hard to say. If you’re interested and have access to a Reiki practitioner, it’s definitely not going to hurt to try it out.
Relaxation therapies are recommended for all manner of ills, not only chronic diseases. “Relaxation Therapy” covers many different practices. Some examples are: meditation, guided imagery, aromatherapy and music therapy.
Many religious traditions include meditation. “Meditation” can take many forms. Some people like guided meditations or imagery, where they listen to someone guide them through the meditation process, either in person or on a CD. The focus can vary which some people find helpful as it allows them to concentrate on different things. In other cases, it’s simply “entering the silence” and the person focuses on their breath or a mantra or something else that keeps the mind from wandering. Meditation has been proven to help manage stress and stress reduction is key to good health.
There are many options for complimentary therapies. If you decide to pursue one, just keep in mind that they should be complimentary and not in place of your medical treatment. And definitely tell your doctor that you’re doing them.
While there are not conclusive studies demonstrating that alternative therapies such as these work, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that they help people. Keep an open mind but don’t be swayed by an alternative therapy practitioner who tries to dissuade you from your medical treatment. By the same token, if you’d like to try alternative therapies, don’t automatically let your medical doctor dissuade you. There are times when there is compelling evidence that something you want to do is actually harmful. For example, some nutritional programs include megadoses of various vitamins which can interfere with the medications you might take.
As always, be thoughtful and do your research before you make any decisions and ask lots of questions.