A Practical Guide to Complementary Therapies

 

Affirmations and guided imagery (visualization)

Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements about health and identity. They are always spoken in the first person and in the present tense. "I am strong and healthy," is an example. People with HIV use affirmations to maintain control over their lives. Some people may read them aloud or memorize them for repeated use. Others prefer to listen to them, as they find that this method makes it easier for them to concentrate on the words. Hundreds of books, videos, websites and apps offer affirmations to enhance health and self-esteem. Choose one that is meaningful to you or create your own affirmations.

Guided imagery (visualization)

Guided imagery aims to mobilize the imagination to promote physical and holistic healing. Many people with HIV experience a feeling of loss of control over their lives. Guided imagery is used to direct thoughts to an environment where you have total control within your own mind. It is used to relieve the anxiety that accompanies illness and the pain that may be a symptom of illness. Several studies suggest that guided imagery effectively controls anxiety and pain. With some guided imagery, you imagine yourself in a relaxing time or place (your grandmother’s kitchen or a sandy beach). Other forms of guided imagery encourage you to visualize yourself as healthy.

Some HIV and community health organizations offer guided imagery sessions. Audio recordings may also be used to guide visualizations. Audio recordings that focus on HIV, health or the immune system are available and can be purchased at many bookstores or online.