K.N. Udupa, Director of the Institute of Medical Sciences, Banares Hindu University, has been researching the effects of yogic practices on different diseases. He states that because of the alarming rate of increase of stress disorders throughout the world "there is an urgent need for conducting a thorough clinical study to evaluate each one of the yogic measures in overcoming such disorders. Once the value of these measures is fully established, there is no reason why they should not be universally adopted, not only for curing diseases but also for preventing their recurrence."*1
Udupa began his study by carrying out extensive trials of asanas, pranayama and meditation in healthy young subjects. Because of the beneficial results on the health and body function of these people he began to research disease conditions, basing his therapy on the results of the original studies. He studied 30 people with thyrotoxicosis, 6 with hypertension, 2 with bronchial asthma, 6 with nervous dyspepsia, and 8 with rheumatic disorders of the spine.*2
These people were subjected to full investigations and, once the correct diagnosis was obtained, were put on conventional therapy. If this did not work after some time, the patients were transferred to a yogic regime. Udupa found that when yoga was implemented, most cases of stress disorders showed a gradual improvement both physically and mentally. In due course of time they could stop drug therapy and continue only on yoga. This improvement and the subsequent freedom from drags had the two-fold effect of both physical and mental satisfaction so that the individual develops enough confidence to resume his normal activities.
The results of the individual therapies were as follows:
Udupa states that asanas, pranayama and meditation bring about beneficial results by balancing and normalizing the various neuro-humoral, endocrinal and metabolic disturbances that had taken place in these disorders. He calls for an appraisal of the techniques used in order to achieve some degree of standardization and thereby more satisfactory results in therapy.
*1. L. K.N. Udupa, "A Manual of Science and Philosophy of Yoga", Journal of Research in Indian Medicine, Yoga and Homeopathy, vol. II, no. 1, 1976, pp. 1-103.