Psychological treatment helps prevent AIDS from spreading, finds MSU study
A research in health psychology at the MS University has established that the virus that causes AIDS by attacking a person’s immune system can be prevented from spreading and the person can live a healthy life by undergoing regular clinical hypnotherapy — a hypnotic process that is used to alter a person’s thought process to positively affect his immune system.
The research started in 2008 as a pilot project funded by the state government, but the scope was limited as only a small, experimental group of HIV-affected persons were involved. The patients underwent hypnotherapy sessions and their blood test conducted regularly to check its effect on their CD4 count. “The UGC fund helped us increase the scope of the study by involving a control group of 40 patients on whom we conducted the study to establish that hypnotherapy is an effective scientific therapy for them,” head of MSU’s psychology department, Urmi Nanda Biswas, who conducted the research, said.
While the hypnotherapy process is largely used to prevent lifestyle-related diseases, such as asthma, dermatology, hyper-tension and diabetes, among others, this is the first time that a detailed, clinical trial has established that an HIV-positive person’s immune system can be prevented from breaking down and his mental health improved with the regular use of hypnotherapy. The research’s findings will be presented at the 28th International Congress of Applied Psychology to be held in Paris next month.
“No research had been done before that could establish that the CD4 count of a person suffering from HIV virus could be enhanced using hypnotherapy, a process used in health psychology. The CD4 count is an immune marker found in a person’s body that is adversely affected due to the HIV virus leading to AIDS,” Biswas said, adding that the research has also validated hypnotherapy as a scientific therapy.
While lifelong use of anti-retroviral drugs helps an HIV-positive patient lead a healthy life by preventing the virus from spreading, affording medication is not easy for all patients. Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, does not require any medication and is a no-cost therapy that can help arrest the disease if given continuously, Biswas said. “Hypnotherapy helps in managing stress and programming mind to engage in positive thoughts, thereby reducing stress which affects a person’s immune parameters. In HIV positive patients, it helps induce positive thoughts and prevent spread of disease. We hope the process will be accepted by the medical fraternity,” Biswas said.