PositiveLifeNINorthern Ireland’s only HIV-dedicated support organisation, Positive Life, has recently launched a research report highlighting the positive benefits that complementary therapies can have on the physical, emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing of people living with, or affected by, HIV.

The research, carried out by the Institute for Conflict Research shows that complementary therapies can have a clear benefit to mental health, helping people feel better able to challenge the negative thought processes they may have regarding living with HIV.

“…in the immediate days after my treatment I feel my thoughts are clearer and it’s only after coming here that I realised my condition is not a death sentence.”

As those of us living with HIV can attest, the stigma still surrounding an HIV diagnosis can have a significant, detrimental effect on someone’ mental health. One interviewee explained,

“you feel untouchable and ostracised from society.”

Complementary therapies can help to break down and reduce the impact of both the external and internal stigma that individuals affected by HIV can experience. For some individuals, their aromatherapy or reflexology treatment was the only time they were touched by another person. This highlights the huge importance of touch for people living with HIV.

The findings of the report show that complementary therapies are hugely beneficial to the physical, emotional, psychological and social wellbeing of people living with, or affected by HIV. Of the respondents surveyed who accessed the aromatherapy service, 93% felt it had a positive impact on their psychological wellbeing and 90% felt it had a positive impact on their physical wellbeing.

I am sitting in Positive Life as I write this post, waiting for my complementary therapist to arrive for an aromatherapy session. My next appointment is already booked with the helpful receptionist, it’s in just under two month’s time – 3rd October. I know that when I leave today, I will be feeling much better, I will be ready for anything. Could have done with it yesterday, but we will see how yesterday went in the coming days.

If you would like to read the report yourself, please click on the link below.

Further information

Releasing the tension (PositiveLifeNI.com)