HIV + adolescents (M CD4 = 466 mm3) recruited from a large urban university hospital's outpatient clinic were randomly assigned to receive massage therapy (n= 12) or progressive muscle relaxation (n = 12) two-times per week for 12 weeks. To assess treatment effects, participants were assessed for depression, anxiety and immune changes before and after treatment the 12 weeks treatment period. Adolescents who received massage therapy versus those who experienced relaxation therapy reported feeling less anxious and they were less depressed, and showed enhanced immune function by the end of the 12 week study. Immune changes included increased Natural Killer cell number (CD56) and CD56 + CD3 - . In addition, the HIV disease progression markers CD4/CD8 ratio and CD4 number showed an increase for the massage therapy group only.
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