HIV and emotional wellness

Try complementary therapies

A number of complementary and alternative therapies can support your emotional health, by either treating the underlying problem or relieving symptoms of the problem (such as sleeplessness or stress). These therapies include, but are not limited to, acupuncture, light therapy, hypnotherapy and aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy blend for depression

  • 6 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops of grapefruit essential oil
  • 2 drops of ylang ylang essential oil

Add these essential oils to 25 ml of grapeseed oil for an uplifting massage or simply add them to your bath.

Note: Do not ingest essential oils. Use with caution if you are pregnant or have epilepsy.

“I’ve been living with the virus for 13 years. Complementary therapies such as massage, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbs, yoga, meditation and visualization help me to rejuvenate and stay optimistic about my health.”

—Rebekka

 

Some people find that adding more omega-3 fatty acids to their diet reduces  depression. Wild salmon and other fatty fish or salmon oil capsules are a good source of omega-3. If your depression is related to vitamin deficiencies, adding a B-vitamin-complex supplement to your diet might help, particularly with anxiety.

While these and other natural health products have been shown to help depression, note that St. John’s wort will interfere with how your anti-HIV medications work, so is not recommended for people with HIV. Another natural health product, called kava kava, can cause liver damage. Although considered natural, many complementary therapies can interact with HIV medications, weaken their effect and/or cause dangerous side effects. It is important that your doctor and pharmacist know everything that you are taking so they can keep an eye out for potentially problematic interactions or contraindications.