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
- General body tension
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.