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Effect of Pranayama & Yogasana on HIV/AIDS -2

By : Acharya Balkrishna, Avnish Upadhyay , Ruchita Upadhyay

Scientific Review:

Spirituality is an important though often neglected aspect of pain in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and/or cancer, for both patients and nurses. The spiritual domain involves: meaning, hope and love and relatedness. The author examines spiritual aspects of pain in persons with HIV and/or cancer, as supported by the literature. Understanding spiritual aspects of pain carries implications for nursing. One of these implications is that it is important for the nurse to be closer to his/her own spirit in order to be there for the patient in pain. Other nursing implications include spiritual assessment and interventions, such as presence, attentive listening, acceptance and judicious self-disclosure, for promoting comfort and diminishing pain. [18]

Between 1995 and 1997, 1,675 HIV-positive men and women using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) were enrolled into the Bastyr University AIDS Research Center's Alternative Medicine Care Outcomes in AIDS (AMCOA) study. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the AMCOA study collected information on participant demographics, health status and use of conventional and CAM therapies. Participants from 46 states completed a baseline questionnaire, while additional clinical information (such as CD4 count and HIV-RNA viral load) was obtained from laboratory records. AMCOA participants reported using more tha n 1,600 different types of CAM therapies (1,210 CAM substances, 282 CAM therapeutic activities and 119 CAM provider types) for treating HIV/AIDS . . .CAM provider types most commonly consulted by the AMCOA cohort were massage therapists (49%), acupuncturists (45%), nutritionists (37%) and psychotherapists (35%). CAM activities most commonly usedwere aerobic exercise (63%), prayer (58%), massage (53%) and meditation (46%). The choice of CAM therapies among the AMCOA cohort does not appear to be solely based on scientific evidence of efficacy of individual therapies.

The majority of AMCOA subjects could be characterized as using integrated medicine, since an overwhelming proportion of the cohort consult with both conventional and CAM providers and use both conventional and CAM medications, yet few subjects reported that their conventional and CAM providers work as a team. These data and this cohort set the stage for conducting studies of health status changes associated with specific CAM therapies. [19]

Few studies have investigated the role that spiritual activities play in the adaptational outcomes of women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease. Objectiveof this study was to examine the role of spiritual activities as a resource that may reduce the negative effects of disease-related stressors on the adaptational outcomes in HIV-infected women. A theoretically based causal model was tested to examine the role of spiritual activities as a moderator of the impact of HIV-related stressors (functional impairment, work impairment, and HIV-related symptoms) on two stress-related adaptational outcomes (emotional distress and quality of life), using a clinic-based sample of 184 HIV-positive women. Findings indicated that as spiritual activities increased, emotional distress decreased even when adjustments were made for HIV-related stressors. A positive relationship between spiritual activities and quality of life was found, which approached significance. Findings showed that HIV-related stressors have a significant negative effect on both emotional distress and quality of life. The findings support the hypothesis that spiritual activities are an important psychological resource accounting for individual variability in adjustment to the stressors associated with HIV disease. [20]

The practice of meditation, specifically Qigong, was hypothesized as being potentially helpful to HIV-infected individual. The intervention was assumed to be stress-reducing. Anxiety, depression and T-cell counts were measured. A statistically significant increase in T-cells and a statistically significant decrease in anxiety and depression were found. A control group was not included in this pilot study. [21]

Various forms of distant healing (DH), including prayer and "psychic healing," are widely practiced, but insufficient formal research has been done to indicate whether such efforts actually affect health. We report on a double-blind randomized trial of DH in 40 patients with advanced AIDS. Subjects were pair-matched for age, CD4+ count and number of AIDS-defining illnesses and randomly selected to either 10 weeks of DH treatment or a control group. DH treatment was performed by self- identified healers representing many different healing and spiritual traditions. Healers were located throughout the United States during the study, and subjects and healers never met. Subjects were assessed by psychometric testing and blood draw at enrollment and followed for 6 months. At 6 months, a blind medical chart review found that treatment subjects acquired significantly fewer new AIDs-defining illnesses (0.1 versus 0.6 per patient P = 0.04), had lower illness severity (severity score 0.8 versus 2.65, P = 0.03), and required significantly fewer doctor visits (9.2 versus 13.0, P = 0.01), fewer hospitalizations (0.15 versus 0.6, P = 0.04), and fewer days of hospitalization (0.5 versus 3.4, P = 0.04). Treated subjects also showed significantly improved mood compared with controls (Profile of Mood States score -26 versus 14, P = 0.02). There were no significant differences in CD4+ counts. These data support the possibility of a DH effect in AIDS and suggest the value of further research. [22]
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