Tag Archives: aids

How Yoga can help HIV and AIDS

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December 1 is World AIDS Day. This month, whoever you are, take a little time to learn about what’s been discovered about HIV since you first heard of it all those years ago. We now know about different strains of HIV, and how our bodies react differently to each. We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and how serodiscordant couples (couples in which only one partner is HIV+) can safely conceive children together. And we know that the support of friends, neighbors, family, and loved ones is one of the key factors in the health and wellbeing of people with HIV.

How Can Yoga Help for HIV/AIDS?

Yoga can help boost immune system and many studies have shown:

  • Reduction in anxiety and stress
  • Increased white blood cell counts
  • Decreased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
  • Activates natural killer cells

Yoga can also help decrease pain in symptoms specific to HIV/AIDS by relieving:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Cramps
  • General body tension
  • Oedema
  • Inflammation

Additionally, by increasing blood flow, Yoga assists with increasing oxygen and nutrients to areas with symptoms.

More Yoga Goals for HIV

Various Yoga techniques can be incorporated into a yoga therapy HIV program. These varying techniques used are practised through Pranayama (breathing), Asanas (postures) and Kriyas (cleansing). They help facilitate the removal of excess phlegm to relieve respiratory congestion, increase blood and lymph flow to assist the liver function in toxin removal and to encourage blood cell regeneration. They help prevent or reduce muscular atrophy typical of immobilization/inactivity through improving muscle tone.

If you’re HIV positive, here’s a little of what you can do to keep yourself healthy and suppress the virus:

De-stress yourself. Stress can really affect the immune system, making you more open to illness and infection. A good sleep each night, practices like yoga and regular massage therapy can help combat stress.

Be sure to vaccinate against infections.  Pneumonia and flu can be devastating to someone with HIV. Getting the regular vaccinations against these and any other infections is a good way to stay healthy especially in winter months.

Stay healthy in your choices. No smoking, eating healthy, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol, and of course looking after your mental health too.

 

 

Did you know today is World Population Day?

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Today July 11th marks World Population Day. What dos this mean?

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

This year they are raising awareness on the issue of Adolescent Pregnancy.

UNFPA advocates for the welfare of young people by:

• Promoting the human rights of adolescents
• Preventing HIV infection
• Engaging young people in decisions that affect them
• Supporting age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education
• Creating safe spaces for adolescent girls
• Encouraging abandonment of harmful practices
• Encouraging leadership

UNFPA supports healthy families by:

• Training health workers to deliver quality family planning services
• Supplying contraceptives in emergency situations
• Ensuring youth-friendly reproductive health care
• Providing counselling and choices to women who want to avoid or delay pregnancy
• Educating men on the benefits of birth spacing

UNFPA supports maternal health by:

• Training midwives and health workers
• Preventing and treating obstetric fistula
• Supplying clean birthing kits following disasters
• Strengthening emergency obstetric care
• Ensuring reliable supplies of essential medicines and equipment
• Enabling birth spacing

Join the discussion on Twitterand Facebook  #worldpopday

http://www.unfpa.org/public/world-population-day

 

December 1st World Aids Day – a message from me…

We’ve come such a long way since the early ‘80s, when AIDS came onto the scene, killing many and frightening more. There was so little known at that time. Scary times for those who had the disease and those who loved them. It was through the hard work and advocacy of many people that we discovered HIV, learned how to prevent its transmission, and how to hold it in check.

Today, HIV is a chronic illness, but some of the fear still remains. There are still people, thankfully, working tirelessly to eliminate stigma just as there are those working to find a vaccine and a cure. Still more are working to make the lives of people living with HIV better in whatever ways they can. Some of these are massage therapists like me.

Massage therapy is not a cure. It’s not even a treatment. But it can help HIV+ individuals live happier, healthier lives:

● Massage can help alleviate peripheral neuropathy (tingling, numbness, and pain in the feet and legs), a side effect of antiretroviral therapy. Staying on a regular treatment regimen is paramount if you have HIV, so whatever makes that process easier is worthwhile.

● Massage can help with anxiety and depression, both common in people living with HIV. Mental illness is not to ne taken lightly, and is one of the more common reasons that people find it difficult to take care of themselves.

● Massage can be a positive experience in your own body. When you have a chronic illness of any kind, it’s easy to feel constantly at war with yourself. A massage is a time when you and your body get to be on the same team for a little while.

● Massage is a time to connect through touch. For all the good information out there about HIV/AIDS, there are still plenty of ridiculous myths about how it is transmitted. This often manifests itself as a lack of everyday touch, which is especially devastating to people who have lost their intimate partners.

So let me state this very clearly:

You will never be turned away from my massage table due to your HIV status. When you have secondary issues that mean that massage would be harmful to either you or me, I will let you know specifically what they are, so that you are not left in the dark. If you find yourself with a condition I am not trained to work with, I will do my best to find you another massage therapist who is.

Your HIV status is private. I will not tell your partner, your mother, your employer, your doctor, or your best friend, unless you specifically ask me to, in writing. If you would like copies of any records or notes I keep about our sessions together, you are welcome to them. But they are not for others’ eyes.

How you contracted HIV is none of my business. Unless it’s something that affects your health in other ways (like current drug use), it has no impact on your massage. But if you do decide to share, I will not judge you.

December 1 is World AIDS Day.
This month, whoever you are, take a little time to learn about what’s been discovered about HIV since you first heard of it all those years ago. We now know about different strains of HIV, and how our bodies react differently to each. We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and how serodiscordant couples (couples in which only one partner is HIV+) can safely conceive children together. And we know that the support of friends, neighbors, family, and loved ones is one of the key factors in the health and wellbeing of people with HIV.
This post is just one small action I’m taking to help everyone feel more welcome in Ananda Centre.
What will yours be?