Anti-retroviral therapies have brought renewed hope for many people living with HIV. However, they do not offer a cure, and they can cause many side effects. For these and other reasons, more than 70% of HIV-positive people have turned to alternative medicine for help. Some people use alternative medicine instead of standard Western medicine. However, most people choose to use alternative medicine along with standard Western medicine. This is called “complementary” or “integrative” medicine.
Alternative medicine includes many types of therapy. The goals of these therapies are to:
- Strengthen your immune system
- Provide relief from symptoms and drug side effects
- Improve your quality of life
What is Alternative Medicine?
Alternative medicine involves a range of healing approaches. Many are holistic in approach. This means they connect the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. It’s important to note that alternative medicine is not approved by the FDA or regulated by the U.S. government. Here are a few alternative medicine approaches at Horizon Ridge Clinic:
Alternative medical systems. These have evolved separately from — and in some cases, before — standard Western medicine.
- Homeopathic medicine is an individualized treatment. It includes natural substances such as minerals, vitamins, and herbs. It is based on a principle that these substances can cure, when given in small doses.
Physical therapies focus on the body and senses to promote healing and a sense of well-being.
- Yoga is an ancient system of breathing and stretching exercises, postures, and meditation.
- Massage therapy involves touching or rubbing body tissues to reduce pain and improve blood
- Acupuncture requires the insertion of tiny needles into certain areas of the body. It can be used for a variety of reasons. For example, acupuncture may be used to increase energy, reduce fatigue, decrease nerve pain, even help with addiction.
Mind-body therapies use the mind and spirit to help lessen pain, stress, and other side effects.
- Meditation helps quiet and focus the mind and body. It often involves deep breathing.
- Visualization uses the imagination to help you picture being in a safe, relaxing place.
- Humor and inspirational audiotapes are two other types of mind-body techniques.
Biologically based therapies use substances found in nature to make the body healthier.
- Herbal therapies come from plants and may work much like standard drugs.
- Dietary supplements are foods or substances from foods taken by mouth to add to your diet. They may contain vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, or enzymes. These may be used for a variety of purposes, such as boosting your immune system.