19th November 2018 | News

Check out our latest blog piece by CNHC registered Massage Therapist, Adrian Martins, who writes about his experience working at the Terrence Higgins Trust as their Complementary Therapy Coordinator...

As a young and fresh-faced Massage Therapy graduate (15 years ago, eek!) I always knew I wanted to support people living with HIV. I grew up in a part of Canada with little exposure to people living with HIV. As a young teenager, I heard the stories of how HIV and AIDS was affecting the gay community and always thought to myself ‘what could I do to help make a positive difference in their lives?’.

As I grew older and eventually became part of the LGBTQ community, I have met many good friends and acquaintances living with HIV. I saw first hand how they were being affected by the harsh medications of the time. In response to this I decided to volunteer as a Massage Therapist with The AIDS Committee of Toronto in the hope of helping others integrate complementary therapies into their care regime. I wanted to help and support them to maintain their health in ways that go beyond addressing only the physical impact of living with HIV. Little did I know how the positive impact of volunteering at the AIDS Committee of Toronto would propel me into a career in the HIV sector as a Complementary Therapist.

In 2017, I moved to London where I was lucky enough to get a position as the Complementary Therapies Coordinator and Massage Therapist at Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity. I am extremely lucky to work with a team of staff and volunteers that put their heart and soul into every bit of work they do there.

In my role at Terrence Higgins Trust, I coordinate the provision of high quality, caring, and professional complementary therapy services for people living with HIV. I also treat service users as a certified and CNHC registered Massage Therapist, and prefer for new therapists we employ to be registered with CNHC.

The charity offers a range of therapies provided by fully certified and insured volunteer therapists including Massage Therapy, Hypnotherapy and Shiatsu Therapy both at a low-cost fee, and free for those experiencing financial hardships.

Today, although HIV can be managed effectively with medication and regular check-ups, many people living with HIV seek out complementary therapies in their efforts to stay healthy, boost their immune system, prevent illness, and delay the onset of HIV-related conditions. They can also help with relaxation and ease tensions that are emotional as well as physical. Many complementary therapies have an immediate appeal because they emphasise a holistic approach to health, and provide wellness regimens that aren’t offered as a part of standard HIV treatment protocol.

For more information about the complementary therapy service at Terrence Higgins Trust visit: https://www.tht.org.uk/our-services/head-office/complementary-therapies-kings-cross

We would love to hear your stories so please get in touch: info@cnhc.org.uk