Complementary Therapies for HIV/AIDS: Relaxation Techniques - HIV
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Complementary Therapies for HIV/AIDS: Relaxation Techniques

for Veterans and the Public

Relaxation techniques

Relaxation therapies, such as meditation and visualization, focus on how a person's mind and imagination can promote overall health and well-being. In this section, you can read about some examples of how you can use relaxation therapies to reduce stress and relax.


Meditation is a certain way of concentrating that may allow your mind and body to become very relaxed. Meditation helps people to focus and be quiet.

There are many different forms of meditation. Most involve deep breathing and paying attention to your body and mind.

Sometimes people sit still and close their eyes to meditate. Meditation also can be casual. For instance, you can meditate when you are taking a walk or watching a sunrise.

People with HIV can use meditation to relax. It can help them deal with the stress that comes with any illness. Meditation can help you to calm down and focus if you are feeling overwhelmed.

If you are interested in learning more about meditation, you should ask your VA provider for more information. There may be meditation classes you can take. At the end of this guide are links to websites where you can learn more.


Visualization is another method people use to feel more relaxed and less anxious. People who use visualization imagine that they are in a safe, relaxing place (such as the beach). Most of us use visualization without realizing it--for example, when we daydream or remember a fun, happy time in our lives.

Focusing on a safe, comfortable place can help you to feel less stress, and sometimes it can lessen the pain or side effects from HIV or the medicines you are taking.

You can ask your VA provider where you can learn more about visualization. There are classes you can take, and there are self-help tapes that you can listen to that lead you through the process. See the links at the end of this guide.