If HIV is a full-time job for you (it is for me), mark your appointment book right now for a date with a massage therapist. I suffer from severe neuropathy, but since I’ve been getting my body worked (four times a month), I have evolved into a functional person. Massage eases aches and pains, relieves stress and increases flexibility. Result: I can walk without a cane and be active—I swim in a heated pool in the morning and work out in the afternoon. I have found that massage and gentle, consistent exercise help me more than all the meds in the world.

My masseuse incorporates Reiki, full-body Swedish, deep-tissue, oils, soothing music and reflexology. I get half the monthly sessions paid by Medicaid and pay out-of-pocket for the other two (at $45 a rub). One last hint: Massage will work best for you if you view it not as a luxury but as a necessity—a part of your HIV regimen that’s vitally kneaded.  

--Barry Michael, Fort Lauderdale, Florida