Taking on Yoga

Posted: Monday, August 29, 2011 | Posted by Debajyoti Datta | Labels: ,


My routine after getting up in the morning comprises of going through the newspaper. Imagine my irritation when I flipped open t2, the supplement that comes with The Telegraph. The article was titled “Yoga for immunity” and I quote the first paragraph of the article –

The onset of monsoon brings along with it a number of ailments such as asthma, allergies, common cough and cold, abdominal disorders, typhoid, malaria, swine-flu, jaundice, diarrhoea and eye disorders. And to beat such disorders during the season, the best treatment one can resort to is yoga.

What? Consider being hit by such load of non-sense, at a time when I wasn’t still fully out of the clutches of Hypnos, it is not pleasant I tell you. But it did drove out the last remnants of any sleep from my eyes. I generally don’t pay much attention to articles like this but this is different. One rarely comes across this much non-sense compressed in two sentences. Published in a leading daily this is potentially dangerous. About 2,00,000 people below the age of 70 years die every year in India due to malaria (source). It is a very serious disease and can easily take your life unless treated properly. Enteric fever or typhoid is a similar dangerous disease. Jaundice can occur due to many causes form infection to cancer and needs medical evaluation. Certainly they can’t be cured by Yoga, leave alone the claim that yoga is the best treatment for these conditions. This is a fact. And there it was, a leading newspaper telling yoga is the best treatment for all these diseases with any evidence whatsoever

I did search Pubmed (a database of biomedical literature with over 20 million citations) to be sure that Yoga didn’t work. No surprise there. On searching with the limits clinical trials, meta-analysis and randomized controlled trial – the results showed zilch. There is not a single trial done to test whether yoga works for malaria, jaundice or enteric fever, leave alone testing if it’s the best. So where from the author is getting her information? It doesn’t matter, whatever her source is, it's not reliable as there has not been a single trial of yoga for these diseases.

I did send a complaint to the newspaper asking to give evidence in support of the claims in the form of randomized controlled trials or to retract the claims. I urge you do the same. It will only take a moment of your time to send an e-mail at t2@abp.in but it may stop the spread of misinformation.

5 comments:

  1. pri said...
  2. i agree with you...im a doctor by profession and i would say that 'yoga' can never be a treatment..it can just be a modality for a healthy lifestyle--but not a treatment means for the conditions as stated by the excerpt you have shared with us.

    i am going to check out the article and then shoot them an email if necessary..the public cannot be misleaded like this.

    thanks for sharing :)

  3. Meera Sundararajan said...
  4. You have raised a very important issue here- that one needs to be careful before peddling information carelessly. You see Yoga and Ayurveda have sort of become "fashionable" so every Tom , Dick and Harry thinks that Yoga is the cure for everything. Ayurveda as a branch of medicine is very methodical with lots of food restrictions that one should follow. But few people know about that! I know the perils of Malaria and Jaundice as I have worked in remote communities across India and seen people being hospitalized due to these conditions! A good blog. A refreshing change from some of the flippant posts that I have read ( but then who am I to comment- it is a fundamental right- freedom of expression)!

  5. Debajyoti Datta said...
  6. @pri Thank you Sir for the initiative. If the doctors begin speaking up then spreading of such misinformation can be stopped.

    @Meera Sundararajan Glad that you like the blog :)

  7. shoulder pain said...
  8. You all guys are right. Yoga is now a trend in our people that by doing yoga you will get relief from different creepy disease. I think it is just for mental satisfaction and relaxation.

    Any ways I really appreciate that you are guiding peoples in a right way

  9. Anushka Sharma said...
  10. more,that is still you may do something to expand on it.yhanks for sharing with us.I think I am going the clearness in your post is simple spectacular and I can take for granted you are an expert on the field.Well with your permission.Like your way of seeing this things. i'll be checking in on a regularly now....keep up the good work.

    Toshiba PVT-375BT

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