Yoga and naturopathy effective in mental health

Dr. Rajiv Rastogi

Yoga and Naturopathy are traditional systems of healing based on timetested principles of governing life, living and health. These principles of healthy living, prevention and healing were firmly integrated in the customs and culture of people living in this country since ancient times.

Yoga and Naturopathy are druglesssystems of healthy living based on well-founded philosophy and practices. These systems emphasize on holistic approach towards health covering the physical, mental, moral and spiritual aspects. Patient education is an important component of Yoga and Naturopathic practices. These practices are easy to follow and can be integrated well in the daily routine of people as may be required.

Yoga is the science of self-realization. It is popular as a helping way towards healthy living through a focus on bringing harmony between body and mind.  Yoga is now recognized globally for its spiritual values and its role in the prevention of disease besides promotion of health. Whereas, Naturopathy is defined as a system of man building in harmony with the constructive principles of Nature on physical, mental, moral and spiritual planes of living. It deals with health promotive, disease preventive and curative as well as restorative aspects.

Now days the number of mental illnesses is increasing day by day due to various reasons. Fast metropolitan lifestyle, unhealthy eating and living habits, lack of patience and confidence, increased level of stress and anxiety etc. are some of the reasons behind this. The National Mental Health Survey of India in 2016 found that ‘1 in 20 people in India suffer from depression’, ‘productive age groups are affected most’, ‘economic burden of mental disorders is huge’ and that the treatment gap varies between 70% and 92%. Further, the Mental health conditions are increasing worldwide. Mainly because of demographic changes, there has been a 13% rise in mental health conditions and substance use disorders in the last decade (to 2017).

Yoga and Naturopathy systems have an important role in the promotion of mental health by prevention of disease, treatment of disease, and change in lifestyle according to the needs of the person and the situation. Being a noninvasive mode of therapy, Yoga and Naturopathy treats the body and mind effectively with its different modalities like fasting therapy, diet therapy, hydrotherapy, mud therapy, massage therapy, and yoga such as asana, pranayama, and meditation etc. Various mental conditions like anxiety, depression, neurosis, behavioral impairments/disorders, anorexia, etc. and psychosomatic ailments like headache, bronchitis, asthma, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, etc. can very well be treated through Yoga and Naturopathy. These may also be used as adjuvant therapy with other treatments in the management and rehabilitation of such patients as they do not have any adverse effects.

Yoga and Naturopathy promotes positive mental health through lifestyle modifications in order to enable most of those affected to become functioning members of the society. It also helps to reduce the burden of mental disorders by effective treatment of mental illnesses by creating awareness among the people on the merits and strengths of Yoga and Naturopathy in the promotion of positive health. These systems make perfect equilibrium and harmony with nature, promotes self-healing process by increasing vitality, reduces negativity from the mind, eliminates toxins from the body, enhances positive attitude towards life, helps in attention and concentration especially in children and reduces stress and tension in the physical body by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Some of the Yogic practices like Asanas and Pranayamas and Naturopathy practices like daily morning walk, Naturopathic diet, mud pack over abdomen and forehead daily morning, cold hip bath, hot foot and arm bath, abdomen/chest pack, use of Sun charged water (blue, green and brown) for head, neck and spine massage, Sunbath etc. are found effective in the management of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, depression, anxiety, personality disorder, etc. and also to proote mental health. An experienced Naturopathy Physician is required to be consulted before starting the treatment.

Yoga and Naturopathy practices have a good role to play in the promotion of mental health. They not only change the whole personality of the person but also cultivate a positive attitude towards life and educate the people regarding a positive lifestyle. If we follow the principles of Yoga and Naturopathy, we can prevent ourselves from various disorders whether physical, mental or psychosomatic.

(The author is Professor & Dean, Faculty of Naturopathy and Yogic Science, SGT University, Budhera, Gurugram)

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