At a time when globally the effective management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is believed to lie in detection, screening and treatment along with palliative care, the Narendra Modi government wants to highlight the benefits of yoga in controlling these diseases in a bid to promote alternative healthcare.

NCDs, mostly lifestyle diseases, such as cardiovascular ailments, cancer, diabetes, obesity and hypertension have been a cause of concern for former governments in India as well as in other countries which have planned significant investments to combat this grave health issue.

However, healthcare experts allege that the present government is trying to link everything to yoga. Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Wednesday said that yoga can help in the prevention and management of NCDs.

“Yoga and knowledge in the AYUSH system of medicine can be of great help in not only preventing but also controlling NCDs. The traditional system of medicines can complement modern medicine. Yoga is not only a physical activity, but also a complete science of living. Yoga, as an intervention, is being encouraged as an integral part of NCD prevention and management,” said Nadda.

Interestingly, healthcare experts claim that there is maximum hype and minimum science in alternative systems of medicine including yoga for prevention and management of diseases like diabetes.

“Moreover, ayurveda and other forms of alternative medicine are increasingly becoming visible in the public domain, with some officials describing them as effective and emphasising the supposed absence of side-effects,” said Anoop Misra, chairman, Fortis-CDOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology, chairman, National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation (N-DOC), director, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, Diabetes Foundation (India).

The health minister on Wednesday also inaugurated the Centre for Integrative Medicine and Research (CIMR) at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

He said that the government has placed significant emphasis on yoga and traditional systems of medicine and the establishment of the integrative centre is a major step forward in the government’s efforts to promote yoga as an integrative discipline.

The launch of the Centre came just a day after Prime Minister Modi’s call for making yoga even more popular globally.

“The Centre will seek scientific validation of our ancient medicine systems with a focus on yoga. It has been designed as a perfect platform for rigorous research to establish the efficacy of our traditional methods of healing, which in turn should pave the way for their greater international scientific acceptability,” Nadda said.