Year : 2017 | Volume
: 49 | Issue : 2 | Page : 41-
Yoga for better health
Professor of Psychiatry and Director, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
B N Gangadhar
Professor of Psychiatry and Director, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka
|How to cite this article:|
Gangadhar B N. Yoga for better health.Yoga Mimamsa 2017;49:41-41
|How to cite this URL:|
Gangadhar B N. Yoga for better health. Yoga Mimamsa [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Feb 17 ];49:41-41
Available from: http://www.ym-kdham.in/text.asp?2017/49/2/41/220188
May the maker of all make the journal a success. Blessed is the name of the Lord. May He bless the workers of the Asrama with a happy and prosperous career as servants of the world, which is only the Lord Himself objectified. May He, that has created us in His wisdom, lead us to the light that is beyond all darkness.
Ayurveda defines health as a complete one involving physical (bodily), mental, and spiritual well-being. Health is also wealth. Preserving this is desirable. Health is a social capital and adds to the productivity in the society. The mainstream allopathic system has given yeoman contribution by preventing many deadly infectious diseases and even eradicating some. Vaccinations made a change the way we address our health. Antibiotics have given hope in combating infections. Selective deficiencies can be corrected with better medical outcome. For example, hormone replacement and vitamin supplementation have reduced morbidity. The questions that have not been satisfactorily answered include why some fall prey to infections and why a given antibiotic fails to get some patients better? Nonetheless, we have been robustly victorious about many of the infectious disease-mediated mortality and morbidity. Longevity is hence increased from appallingly low life expectancy in the early 1900s. Though some suggest that longevity may not have been this low ever earlier and that it could have been better than what exists now. Disappointingly, this cannot be verified from the existing data.
Our jubilation on the success over infection has become tempered with the growth of the morbidity contributed by noncommunicable disorders; diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, and depression, to mention a few. For that matter, this has become a neo epidemic. The highest number of persons with diabetes in the world perhaps lives in India. A growing concern on this matter has drawn our attention to yoga and the traditional systems of healing. These systems were not merely another system of treatment but practised as a lifestyle for a better health and longer life. Declaration of International Day of Yoga allowed yoga to become acceptable to the entire world.
Yoga is one of the most researched interventions. Researchers are generating more and more scientific evidence to support the use of yoga. These attempts have been not only in clinical but also in biological domains. This helps yoga to emerge as a formal intervention that can be supported for costing in medical system through insurance. For introducing yoga in mainstream medical practice, clinical trials are required. This poses challenges. In a standard drug trial, the active drug is compared with an identical-looking placebo and patients as well as the assessing doctors are “blind” to the intervention. The “double-blind” clinical trial is the gold standard. The “evidence” for accepting a treatment needs to be generated from such a trial. Providing an ideal “look-alike” placebo for yoga has been difficult if not impossible.
The blinding of the patient and assessor is even more difficult. Yoga being such a ubiquitous practice, nearly every adult is likely to know what is and what is not yoga. Added to this concern is the difficulty in deciding the “dose” of the yogic intervention for a given condition. Yet another problem that clinicians face is the practice of the procedure by patients. How “complete” was the practice? In the domains of meditation, this becomes even more difficult to assess. Amidst all these concerns, we need to be aware that “side effects” of yoga should be recorded if any.
As we successfully address these challenges, yoga will emerge as a formal intervention that will come into the mainstream clinical practice that is financially rewarded.
May the Lord give us strength enough to carry on this work. May He ever widen the circle of our sympathizers and thus allow us to serve Him and His children to the best of our ability.