Author: Randeep Singh / go to all articles on Yoga Concepts
Can Our Hospitals Provide better health through yoga? Point of View
Yoga was being practiced since
ancient times. Its practice declined
in course of time till it became a
curiosity. Yoga is a way of life.
It is an art of living healthy,
one can definitely achieve
better health through Yoga. It is linked
to oriental philosophy which conditions the
mind to spiritual devotion through concentration.
It creates an attitude of mind, and an philosophical approach enabling one to readjust one’s psychological and emotional requirements to realities of life. One attains better health with yoga as it helps to overcome psychosomatic diseases. It also helps to vitalize the tissues for normal functioning, and thus it incidentally helps to get over physical functional weakness or functional disorders.
It is not a panacea for ill health. Just as all diseases do not lend them to one form of treatment, so also not all sufferers of a disease can be treated with one form of treatment. Not all who get treated yield equal response. There are biological facts common to any human experimentation. Since the way yoga works on the psyche of the person, one cannot use a animal for experimentation purposes.
Better Health through Yoga cannot be measured
Various types of measurement meters have evolved in sciences over time, which can be used in experiments conducted on humans, but experiments undertaken related to yoga cannot use these meters, one can only come up with comparisons here. Such comparisons are not possibly valid because the role of psyche in functional weakness or psychosomatic disorders is difficult to assess objectively.
In such a situation diseases which do not manifest physically may be categorized as no diseases at all, also one can assume that psychosomatic disorders may possibly get cured due to some other influences, and not just Yoga. Yoga is being practiced in isolation. The time has come to recognize it as a valid method of treatment like physiotherapy or any other therapy that is available to the patient on demand in a large hospital.
A separate institution will have limitations of approach by public. I would submit that the patient should have the chance to submit himself to any form of therapy he chooses. If he is convinced that Homeopathy, Allopathy, Ayurveda, or Yoga would help him to get over his disease, the facility should be available in the hospital.
It is well known that with the tensions and conflicts of modern life, the mind and body remain torn between social, economic, domestic etc. stressors. The stress and strain of life is not borne effectively by the suprarenal cortex, due to which a reaction of panic and exhaustion may occur. Maladjustment between gluco corticoids and mineral corticoids lead to maladaptation syndromes. Rescue is not possible unless mind gets trained t control the body function normally. In this Yoga has a great role to play.
Effectiveness of All Other Therapies and Yoga
Today, all the new drugs pass through a series of tests which were not available before. No one ever tried to re-evaluate the old times proven drugs. There were no principles of controlled field trials, double bind, placebo, clinical pharmacology, clinical pharmakokinetics when Sulpha, Penicillin, and Streptomycin were accepted. Time honored remedies therefore need no checks and cross checks or unnecessary expenditure on research.
Even Allopathy does not have cure for all asthamatics, hypertensives, and all cases of hyperacidities, all hypochondriacs, all addicts, all neurotics, all hysterics etc. Even the latest remedies do not offer equal relief to all. Hence, it is not justifiable to ask something from Yoga which doesn’t exist elsewhere. It is thus difficult to resist recognition of a Yogi as a therapist in his own right. If a patient chooses a Yogi as a therapist, his condition may or may not improve, like with all other therapies. Likewise, even a Yoga therapist can refer the patient to some other consultant if so required.
There are practical difficulties even in such a practical approach. If yoga therapy is applied in general hospital, even on demand, the hospital has to ensure the proficiency level of the yoga therapist. What should be the standards of measuring proficiency in yoga? The moment one settles on degrees, certificates, and courses in this regard, one begins to exclude the highly proficient ones.
If we do not set the minimum proficiency testing standards we are unable to prove the quality of service rendered by the yoga therapist to the general public. Yoga should not be put under the scanner of empirical research by modern doctors in order to prove its efficacy. Yoga research can only be rightly done by the Yogi. It is a separate science and no integrated approach appears necessary or feasible.
Yoga can Coexist with other therapies in Modern Hospital
A coexistence is possible in a general hospital on equal footing with others, it being left open to seek or direct to yogic treatment. Such an experiment would lead to quicker and wider dissemination of yogic treatment, and better understanding of the potentials of yoga. Problem of Yoga is not of establishing itself as a hospital discipline, rather it is of availability of logistics to reach the general population.
Though there are many reasons for establishing yoga in hospitals, it hardly requires any additional infrastructure to begin with; a proficient yogi will need a few mats and a quiet hall along with a full day training program. Value of the same would be automatically known by the continuing clientele. In general, Hospital OPD deals with early and advanced cases, doctors there do not have time for preaching philosophy or sermon on art of healthy living.
In fact, doctors know that not all patients would be interested in yoga therapy or healthy living. A laxative pill, a pill for headache costs only two minutes and few rupees for a cure, but changing one’s food habits and learning to control stress requires some active participation the part of the patient.
A Yogi would be able to concentrate on a few patients of early disease, spend time with conviction and provide the cure over a period of time. A hospital doctor would rarely do so as he wishes to display a more heroic and speedy cure needed by the patient, just as a so-called Yogi is sometimes fond of demonstrating feats of rare performance.
Implicit in the Yoga therapy is the article of faith. Yoga is time consuming, Yoga was not developed as a therapy. It delivers one out of disease by inculcating in one the art of healthy living, and control of mind over the body through faith, philosophy, and concentration. Hence, it is more suited for use by the enlightened ones, and the older ones, but the age to learn Yoga is the childhood.
IT can help to cure many a behavioral problems of children: temper, tantrums, squint, bedwetting, juvenile delinquency etc. Practice of mental hygiene can help reduce mental illnesses. Yoga has value in orthopaedics, pains and aches, cold and can heal constipation. We would need a large number of proficient Yogis if these goals are to be fulfilled.
It is sometimes arguable, how can doctors work, or cooperate with comparatively non-qualified people. A Yoga therapist is not a doctor, as we understand it. There shouldn’t be any obstacles to this collaboration as the Yoga therapist doesn’t prescribe modern medicines, or issue prescriptions as the doctor. Their roles do not overlap practically. Such inhibitions, even if any must be given up for the sake of progress in the direction of delivering better health through Yoga for the welfare of general populace.