SCEPTICAL OF SWAMI RAMDEV'S CLAIMS
(22 August 2006)
a month long series of UK Yoga workshops this summer, Swami Ramdev
- the guru of Yoga ( the ancient art of purification and strengthening
of the body, mind and soul) and Pranayam (a series of breathing
techniques combined with Aasanas [postures] from ancient Indian
Vedic Sciences) - returned to India safe in the knowledge he will
be back in the UK to hold a second series. Health experts in the
UK, however, caution followers about throwing out modern medicine
in favour of yoga and pranayam for the treatment of hyper tension,
diabetes and cancer.
at venues in Ilford, Leicester, Bolton and Harrow, thousands of
British Asians attended the yoga and pranayam workshops to experience
yoga at the hand of a master whose mission is to eradicate
mental and physical illness world wide. The main impetus behind
this UK Yoga tour was to raise funds for the Patanjali Yog
Peeth (UK) Trust, a British registered Charity and an offshoot
of the Patanjali Yog Peeth in India. Attendance to each workshop
was gained through donor passes, costing anywhere from £50
to £350, with all monies raised going to support the activities
of registered charities in India and Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK)
Ramdev, is founder of the Patanjali Yog Peeth, a yoga centre in
Northern India, dubbed as the Worlds largest Yoga Institute.
It currently provides facilities for intensive and extensive scientific
research and development into yoga and ayurveda as well as educational
degree and diploma courses to over 1,000 students.
activities of the Patanjali Yog Peeth are not without controversy
though. Their divyayoga.com website claims "His Holiness Swami
Ramdevji Maharaj is first, in the world health history, to use freely
available Pran (Oxygen) as a medicine and in turn succeeds to cure
thousands of grief stricken persons suffering from lethal diseases
like Diabetes, H.B.P., Angina, Blockages in Arteries, Obesity, Asthma,
Bronchitis, Leucoderma, Depression, Parkinson [sic], Insomnia, -
Migraine, Thyroid, Arthritis, Cervical Spondalities [sic], Hepatitis,
Chronic Renal Failure, Cirrhosis of Liver, Gas, Constipation, Acidity
etc. which are still a challenge in modern medical science."
The group also claims to have developed an ayurvedic cure for cancer.
Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK science information officer, said:
"It is important to think about cancer in a holistic way, aiming
to treat physical problems as well as maintaining general wellbeing.
But there is absolutely no scientific evidence whatsoever to show
that any of the Swami's remedies work to cure cancer, and they have
not been shown to be safe or effective in clinical trials.
a general rule, people should be sceptical of any alternative or
complementary therapy claiming to cure cancer, especially as some
may actually be harmful rather than beneficial due to a lack of
safety testing and quality control."
there is a place for some types of complementary treatments in improving
quality of life for people with cancer. For example, yoga can help
to relieve anxiety and insomnia for people with cancer. And we know
that massage, visualisation techniques and aromatherapy can help
to improve the quality of life for cancer patients alongside modern
can find out more about complementary therapies for cancer at www.cancerhelp.org.uk
while acknowledging the well-being benefits of yoga, Cathy Moulton,
Care Advisor at Diabetes UK said: "There are a number of complementary
therapies that may be of potential benefit to people with diabetes.
However often there is a need for more research to explore the real
benefits to people living with the condition. What is far more important
for people with diabetes and those who may be at risk is eating
a healthy balanced diet - low in fat, sugar and salt, and containing
plenty of fruit and vegetables - and, of course, getting regular
physical activity and taking any prescribed medication."
prevalence in the UKs South Asian population is 20 per cent
compared to 3 per cent of the general population. Further information
about dealing with diabetes can be found at www.diabetes.org.uk