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what are some massage indications for people who have Hiv/aids?

Hello Jill!

People with HIV/AIDS can certainly benefit from massage!  Just to be on the safe side, let me first start by saying we need to look at HIV positive status and AIDS as two different things.  HIV is simply the virus that causes AIDS, and AIDS is a complex of various conditions brought on by HIV. So, the indications for massage are different in these cases.

Someone who is HIV positive but does not have signs or a diagnosis of AIDS can benefit from massage pretty much the same as anyone else could.  Universal precautions apply as with any other client (though sometimes it can be easy to forget that all clients deserve protection and so do you!).  If your linens and table and hands are properly sanitized and no bodily fluids are exchanged, then proceed as normal.  This would apply to any client, really. :)  Keeping an HIV positive client's stress reduced is a very very good thing for them, as stress makes it tougher to stay healthy -as it would for anyone, but especially someone whose immune system is compromised. The indirect effects of massage can boost their immune function and reduce anxiety.

Make sure you are conducting thorough intake interviews and documenting health history.  Look for clues and signs that you may need to address with the client.  Sometimes HIV medications can have bodily effects like causing nausea, or hypertonic muscles., I know this last one from experience - a client's med put him in a state of acidosis which made him hard as a rock all over.  My best NMT treatment helped but was a temporary fix at best, since the cause of the hypertonicity was chemical in nature.

If a client has AIDS, their situation can be very different from client to client and it would be advisable to consult with their medical professional before deciding if and how to massage them.  Research is ongoing in this area.  I suggest you do some reading online (you probably already have) from reputable sources such as the following:

Best Wishes!


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I can answer questions regarding Swedish and Deep Tissue massage, Musculoskeletal Anatomy, SOAP Charting and documentation, Ethics, Myofascial Release, NeuroMuscular Therapy, Seated Chair Massage, and human anatomy & physiology. I cannot expertly answer questions about Eastern or allied modalities such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Reflexology, Polarity, Aromatherapy, or Reiki but I may be able to refer you to someone who can.


I have been practicing therapeutic massage and myofascial release for 8 years and have 5 years of experience as an instructor. I have worked in medical, corporate, spa, private, outdoor event, and educational settings.


Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Certified NeuroMuscular Therapist (CNMT), Nationally Certified Massage Therapist (NCMT).

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