Compassion in Action: Massage for Individuals with HIV or AIDS

The Ariana Institute’s Medical Massage Therapy Manual is part of a series of massage manuals that are designed to help deepen the knowledge of current massage therapists and introduce new massage therapists to the world of massage and bodywork.  The Medical Massage Therapy Manual features topics that are also available as NCBTMB approved online CE courses through the Ariana Institute at, including:

  • HIV/AIDS Information for Massage Therapists
  • Headache and Allergy Relief
  • Lymphatic Massage
  • Pain Management
  • Prenatal Massage
  • Geriatric Massage


This manual incorporates detailed protocols, photos, links to online videos, marketing strategies, personal stories, and resources to encourage a comprehensive understanding of medical massage therapy modalities beneficial for your massage practice.

Here’s a personal story about HIV/AIDS information for massage therapists featured in the Medical Massage Therapy Manual.


The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well. – Elisabeth Kubler–Ross

HIV and AIDS impact the lives of those around us. The statistics are staggering. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 36 million people have died since the first cases were reported in 1981 and 1.6 million people died of HIV/AIDS in 2012. According to WHO, in 2012, an estimated 2.3 million individuals worldwide were newly infected with HIV.

How can we help? Massage therapists working with individuals with HIV/AIDS can make a meaningful contribution. Clinical studies have reported that therapeutic massage boosts immune system function in the following ways, (1) reducing anxiety and stress by decreasing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, (2) increasing white blood cell counts, and (3) activating natural killer cells. Specific to HIV/AIDS symptoms, massage can also decrease pain by relieving muscle spasms, cramps, general body tension, and edema.

Additional ways that massage therapists can help individuals with HIV/AIDS include the utilization of modalities that will (1) help relieve respiratory congestion by facilitating the removal of excess phlegm, (2) help prevent or reduce muscular atrophy by improving muscle tone, (3) help increase red blood counts in cases of anemia, (3) stimulate lymph circulation and speeding the elimination of wastes and impurities, (4) assist in the post-surgical breakdown of scar tissue and adhesions, and (5) help decrease depression.

My personal experience of working with the HIV/AIDS population has been limited, not through any personal choice of my own; it just seems to be that’s the way my practice has evolved. I have the deepest respect for people like Irene Smith, the director of Everflowing in San Francisco, who has dedicated her life to helping reduce the suffering of individuals with HIV/AIDS. To read more about Irene and the good work she is doing visit

Working compassionately with all spectrums of the population, including those with HIV/AIDS, by utilizing an evidence-based approach, combining skilled touch with compassionate presence to enhance quality of life, can be a profoundly enriching experience for both the giver and the receiver.

Even if conventional medicine tells you that your condition is incurable or that your only option is to live a life dependent on drugs with troublesome side effects, there is hope for improving or reversing your condition.

– Leon Chaitow

Ariana Vincent was awarded the 2015 CE Provider of the Year Award by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. She is CEO of the Ariana Institute and a Nationally Certified Massage Therapy Instructor whose classes are accepted throughout the United States. Ariana is also a Massage Therapy Hall of Fame Honoree and author of the Ariana Institute’s therapy manual series available on Amazon

To read the foreword of the Medical Massage Therapy Manual, visit  
The Ariana Institute’s video introduction to the Headache and Allergy Relief, Lymphatic Massage, HIV/AIDS Information for Massage Therapists, Pain Management, Prenatal Massage, and Geriatric Massage CE courses can be accessed on the Ariana Institute’s YouTube Channel at
To order your copies of the Ariana Institute’s Medical Massage Therapy Manual, visit  
For additional information about the Ariana Institute and to register for online continuing education and MTI courses visit Ariana Vincent, LMT, MTI, NCTMB Ariana Vincent, LMT, MTI, NCTMB

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