Mindfulness meditation helps retard HIV progression

There is still no fool-proof cure that has been discovered to combat the deadly HIV (Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus), which has claimed several thousands of human lives year after year. But, scientists have now discovered that mindfulness meditation can actually retard the progression of AIDS in the body.

Mindfulness meditation is a type of meditation which involves focusing one’s mind on the present. To be mindful is to remain aware about one’s actions and thoughts in the present without judging yourself.

David Creswell, the lead of the study, said “This study is the first to indicate that mindfulness meditation stress-management training bears a direct impact on helping to slow down HIV disease progression.”

The HIV attacks the body’s immune system and gobbles up CD4+T lymphocytes that help the body fight against harmful attacks. It has been noticed that stress could significantly contribute to the reduction in level of CD4 T cells. Scientists believe that meditation helps reduce stress.
The mindfulness meditation programme is a cost-effective group-based treatment. In case the initial finding in this study gets replicated in larger groups of people, then meditation could form a powerful complementary treatment for HIV disease alongside medications.

This particular study involved 48 HIV positive adults from Los Angeles, few of whom participated in the 8 week mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation programme. The rest were only made to participate in a one-day mindfulness-based stress reduction seminar.

On comparing both the groups, it was found that participants who attended the 8 week programme did not lose the CD4 T cells, while patients in the other group had a significant reduction in cells.

“Given the benefits of stress-reduction through mindfulness meditation programme, these findings imply that there can be health protective effects not only in people with HIV, but for all those who suffer from daily stress,” Cresswell concluded.

The study was published in the online edition of the journal ‘Brain, Behaviour and Immunity’.