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The early discovery of HIV and AIDs in the 1980s led to misconceptions and untruths about how the disease was transmitted, leaving a population of people feeling alone and shunned. There were many assumptions that HIV and AIDs could be contracted just by breathing the same air, and by touching, kissing or shaking hands with someone. Although those myths have been shattered, an estimated 1.2 million individuals currently living with an HIV infection in the United States still feel the stigma of the past, which can lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, stress, confusion, anger, and depression. Massage therapy just could be the support that HIV and AIDs patients are in need of.

How Massage Can Help

According to a recent piece in Massage Magazine, for those individuals living with the disease, massage therapy can provide not only physical medicinal benefits, but also something even more they long for – the human touch. Because the disease weakens the immune system, which prevents the body from fighting off bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, massage therapy can help boost the immune system, as well as relieve pain, rid the body of excess phlegm, increase blood flow to regenerate blood cells and remove toxins from the body, reduce blood pressure, prevent muscular atrophy, and to relax the mind.

HIV and AIDs Patients tend to cope much better if they’re happy and have emotional, spiritual, and social connections with others. Human touch is culturally significant: it helps us feel connected, supported, and comforted. Massage therapists can play a key role in not only symptom management, but also by helping patients with the disease feel connected to the rest of the world by being present and using their hands to create a bond of trust between patient and practitioner.

For thousands of years, touch has been an essential part of healing-both physically and emotionally. Regular massage therapy can help reduce stress, anxiety, and pain in HIV and AIDS patients, and works as a compliment to their medication treatments.

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