PM calls to integrate yoga with Indian medicine to boost health care

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday pitched for integrating yoga and traditional Indian medicine more closely into the health care system and make wellness a part of life for all in India and rest of the world.

Inaugurating an “International Conference on Frontiers in Yoga Research and its Applications” at Jigani, about 30 km from Bengaluru, he asked health professionals, policy makers, government organisations and industry to bridge the distance between the various forms of medicine systems.

“I hope that you will integrate yoga and traditional Indian medicine more closely into our health care system...,” Modi told the gathering at the Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, a deemed university.

“My vision for health care is an integrated system that understands and builds on the best and most effective of different traditions,” the Prime Minister said.

Modern systems of medicine have transformed health care, screening, detection and diagnosis of diseases and use of technology has reduced barriers to accessing health care, and improved our understanding of disease patterns, Modi said.

Breakthroughs in medicines and vaccines have also helped conquer and contain many diseases.

“But, as our understanding of its limitation and its side effects have grown, as we have experienced the growing costs of modern medicine systems, we have begun to look beyond to traditional systems, not just in India, but in other countries as well,” Modi said.

“Their popularity is growing. Yoga is now a global heritage. And, the world is embracing traditional Indian medicine with great enthusiasm,” he said.

Modi said across cultures and geography, people are increasingly taking to yoga to redefine their lives - to find oneness between their inner self and outer world; between their existence and their environment.

Citing studies estimating that India stands to lose about $4.58 trillion before 2030 due to non-communicable diseases and mental health conditions, Modi said the question of psychological state of “our existence must be addressed as much as we try to advance our physical and material life.

“This is where the role of Yoga is paramount. Across the world, there are moving stories of transformed lives and rekindled hopes due to Yoga. The prediction of Shri Aurobindo that Indian Yoga is potentially one of these dynamic elements of the future life of humanity is coming true,” he said.

Pointing out that Yoga was not originally considered or conceived as system of medicine, he said because it was about a holistic lifestyle and the physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual harmony, it has profound health benefits.

Yoga fits well with the change in the way that world increasingly defines health and as people are no longer satisfied with just preventing and managing diseases, they demand promotion of wellness which is a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit.

“We now increasingly hear voices calling for holistic treatment, which means dealing not just with the immediate ailment, but with the complete person, physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually,” he said.

Stating that traditional Indian systems were rooted in looking at human beings in totality, he said they see the link between “Adhi or problems at the mind level and Vyadhi or problems at the physical level.”

“....They probe deeper causes, not just look at symptoms. They treat the person, not just cure the disease. They may at times take longer to take effect, but they tend to have deeper and longer impact. And, they are without side effects.”

Noting that science has also evolved through human experiences and exploration of Nature, he said it must be recognised that science, as we see it, does not constitute the only form of empirical knowledge about the world.

“And, we must remember that the western system of thought, from Hippocrates to Percival to Edison have expressed views on health that are not fundamentally different from the philosophy of the Indian System,”  the PM said.

Modi said along with the accumulated wisdom and experience gathered over the ages, “we must also apply the techniques and methods of modern science to test and validate results, assure quality and explain benefits.”

Making it clear that “I am not here to advocate the supremacy of one system over another,” he said, “I believe that humanity is wealthier for its diversity.

Civilisations, cultures and countries have enriched each other by sharing their knowledge and wisdom. “And, we can progress more by learning from each other.”

“It is in this spirit that Swami Vivekananda called for combining the best from the East and the West. So, it must be in the area of health care. My vision for health care is an integrated system that understands and builds on the best and most effective of different traditions,” he added.

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