The objective of Yogic Therapy is liberation from disease. Helping a patient become free from his/herhealth challenges through yogic processes is the goal of Yogic Therapy. But Yoga is not a magical wand that will cure disease in a single moment. Liberation from disease through Yoga is a slow process that can be achieved only by consistent practice of Yoga. The journey from a disease stricken stage to the stage of liberation from disease can be a long one. But there are some milestones along the way that depict whether the chosen path is right. The therapist and the patient must look for these milestones from the beginning of the treatment. If these milestones are not observed to be present the path may be wrong and the therapist must consider changing the focus of treatment. Let us identify some of these milestones for our therapeutic purposes.
Most times a patient coming for Yogic Therapy has been going through some other therapeutic treatment, often combined with prescribed medication and a dietary regime. Such prescription should generally be continued along with Yogic treatments, as Yogic Therapy is a long-term slow working process. One should not consider this as the shortcoming of the Yogic Therapy and over time previously prescribed medication and diet regime will have run their course ortaken a back seat.
The first milestone that will be observed suggesting disease is being effectively responded to – whether continuing medicines and diet or not - is that the disease does not intensify its form. In applying yoga therapeutic practices the trouble the patient is experiencing must not increase. If increase in disease manifestation or symptoms occurs the Yogic treatment is going wrong or are beyond the patient’s capacity to beneficially respond to. At such times a yogic practitioner is obliged to search for the reasons and immediately make appropriate changes in the Yogic treatment. If not, the trouble will go on increasing. If the milestone of nonintensification is not observed, it is sure the path is wrong and needs a change in order to take the patient to liberation. Ultimately curing disease through Yoga comes over time, but initially both the patient and the therapist are right to expect to see nonintensification of the trouble and that the trouble of the patient does not amplify at any time.
The therapist can continue with his treatment once he comes across the first milestone. After practicing Yogic processes for a few days, a time comes when the dosage of medicines has to be reduced. This is not an automatic process but it is a planned procedure. The positive effects of Yoga are seen and the symptoms of the disease diminish. The need of medicines is reduced. But the dosage is reduced only after pathological tests and the experience of the patient. Now a stage comes if the dosage is not reduced the trouble increases. For instance, when a patient of hypertension practices Yoga, his blood pressure level starts coming down to normal naturally. If the dosage is not reduced, the blood pressure reduces to levels lower than normal and he will have to suffer from a low blood pressure. Hence constant monitoring of the blood pressure and reducing the dosage as required is the necessity at this stage.
Sometimes reduction in medicinal dosage is appropriately prescribed. When Yogic practices are continued after the reduction of medicines, the result is inevitably improvement in the resistance power of the patient. This improves the strength to face the attack of the disease thus reducing the trouble caused by it. The troubles of an Asthmatic patient can surely be reduced if s/he practices Yogis therapy regularlyand the intensity of the disease is gradually reduced.
As the intensity of a disease reduces due to improved resistance powered by Yoga, so also the frequency of the occurrence of the experience of discomfort reduces. Suppose a patient suffers a bad headache regularly once a week, he may not suffer headache for a fortnight after commencing Yoga practice. Since Yogic therapy is a comparatively slow process it will not end any disease instantly. The process will involve steps like reducing its intensity and frequency. The appearance of these milestones will assure the therapist and the patient that the ongoing treatment is correct.
We have seen that reduction in dosages of medicine is a clear manifestation of improvement in a patient’s condition. If the patient continueseffective therapeutic Yogic treatment, the need for medication willcontinue reducing and ultimately come to an end. The initial significance of the medications was to control the patient’s disease. But as the Yogic processes increase the resistance power of the patient the dependency on medicines reduces until one day coming to an end. Suppose a patient with hypertension is taking four doses of medication per day and is able to reduce a dose or two after a few days of practicing Yoga. Gradually such a patient’s hypertension will come to such a natural level that s/he need no longer need to take any medicine to maintain it. Often the initial advice by a medical doctor is, “Don’t stop taking your medicines.” But when the therapeutic yogic treatment is on the right path the same doctor advises, “Now please discontinue your medicines.” Discontinuing medication, of course, does not mean that a patient is fully cured and does not require therapeutic treatment anymore. Discontinuation of medication is often just a mid- point in the process of liberation from disease and from a yogic perspective there are five more steps to total liberation.
Once medicines are stopped it is presumed the symptoms of the disease have also come to an end. Yet this is not the termination point in the treatment of disease, as the end of symptoms does not necessarily signify a disease has been completely uprooted. Symptoms like pains in the neck, numbness, pins and needles, or weakness that occurs in part of the arm or hands may disappear at times but also can commonly reoccur. Although the disease appears to vanish as the symptoms cease, it is not always so. But reducing symptoms of a disease after discontinuing medication is certainly a progressive stage in the journey towards liberation from the disease. But it is not the final stage.
Although symptoms may disappear, patients often must follow the dietary rules prescribed for the treatment. If the diabetic patient is fine even without medicines, he cannot increase his sugar intake because his sugar levels would rise again. When practice of Yoga has reached a certain level, intake of a meager amount of sugar would not cause any trouble for him. The improvement in the health of the patient will release the dietary rules and regime. Maintaining health without following diet rules is the next step in the process. Good health without following a rigid dietary regime must be the aim.
Continuation of the practice of Yogic treatment as the patient achieves healing milestones one by one takes the patient forward on the journey to total liberation from the disease. The key milestones include no medicines, no diet regime, and the trouble does not emerge even if the Yogic practices are not performed. At this stage although the patient may be completely cured, one is advised to keep practicing Yoga to avoid recurrence of the disease.
Uprooting the root cause of the disease so that no possibilities of recurrence arise is the ninth milestone of a patient’s journey. At this stage, the patient need not continue Yogic practices for remedial purposes. But continuing the practice of Yoga for health is clearly beneficial.
The mere absence of disease is not the equivalent of good health defined as an eminent and efficient condition of the body and mind. Body and mind must be prepared to face any attack by a disease and force it to flee. Yoga helps in preparing the body and mind for this purpose and ought be practiced consistently to keep healthy even after obtaining freedom from the disease.
We have identified ten milestones for assessing liberation from disease through Yoga. All these steps are obligatory in the remedial procedure. If any of these milestones is missed, there is a possibility of erroneous treatment. The time to follow this path varies for each patient and each disease. This time depends upon the preparedness of the patient to undergo the treatment and the level or the intensity of the disease.
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