A method for testing the effectiveness of yoga in the treatment of diseases, including heart conditions, is to be presented at an event in Bengaluru.
Dr Indranill Basu Ray, a prominent Indian-American cardiac electrophysiologist at the Veterans Hospital in Memphis, US, is presenting the presentation at the Indian Science Congress (ISC) in Bengaluru. ISC commenced today and will conclude on January 7th.
Yoga has been gaining prominence in recent years, not just in India but across the globe. In India, the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) Ministry has been gaining in prominence, with this reflected in an ever increasing budget. A report unveiled at the Global Ayurveda Summit in Kochi in 2018 found that 77 percent of Indian households used AYUSH services in 2017. This is up from 69 percent of households in 2015.
Yoga was also placed on the public spotlight on a global level at the G20 Summit last year. During the third session of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Modi touted two of his government’s flagship health services: the AYUSH Ministry and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) – better known as Ayushman Bharat. Earlier still, the UN General Assembly adopted an India-led resolution tabled in 2014 declaring June 21 as ‘International Day of Yoga’.
While yoga is known to be good for health as a form of exercise, along with the cardiac benefits this entails, Ray’s intention to perform more in depth, scientifically scrutinised studies could lend greater credulity to the practice.
“With advanced molecular biology and commercially available wearable devices, the adaptive stress-response can be measured with yoga by monitoring hormone levels, a well-established biomarker of stress,” said Ray.
Several outlandish claims have been made regarding the power of AYUSH therapies such as yoga to cure practically every disease — a claim that does not stand up to scrutiny based on the existing body of evidence. The Minister of AYUSH, Shripad Yasso Naik, has gone so far as to express optimism that alternative medicines can provide cures for diseases such as cancer.
“The research into cancer treatment is still on and we have not reached the final stage but soon, quickly, a solution will be found,” he said. “We see a lot of success and I am confident that in another year, our research in almost every disease will be complete and we will be able to treat people with AYUSH medicines.”
Any attempts to scientifically validate the therapeutic effects of AYUSH therapies is therefore welcome, as it distances the practice from unfounded claims that may indeed be dangerous to health.