For over 13 years doctors and yoga practitioners at the Sambhavna Trust Clinic in Bhopal have been using yoga techniques amongst other natural therapies to treat those suffering from lung conditions including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma.
This month, doctors at the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) have followed suit with their introduction of yoga and physiotherapy for gas-affected patients.
Techniques of yoga have shown to improve lung capacity and immunity for patients with various pulmonary conditions. At the World Conference of Asthma in Buenos Aires in 2009, yoga techniques used at Sambhavna were hailed for their success. Yoga therapy was seen as an effective means to provide sustained relief to persons suffering from chronic breathlessness. The study presented showed that after six months of practicing yoga, all participants found significantly increased lung function and decreased use of medicines.
The BMHRC has received much criticism since it was established in 1998 for prioritizing non-gas affected patients and for a lack of continuity of treatment. Moreover, controversy BMHRC continued in 2001 when it was widely reported that many survivors of the gas disaster were unwittingly used as guinea pigs in clinical trials carried out at the hospital.
The indiscriminate prescribing of steroids and antibiotics to patients at the BMHRC has only added to the chemical burden in the gas survivors bodies.
Sambhavna treats its patients with ‘appropriate care,’ using a combination of allopathic and ayurvedic treatments as well as western medicines. At Sambhavna patients are constantly monitored throughout their treatment to ensure continuity of care and allowing for future research. Because little is known about the effectiveness of different drugs in treating gas exposure-related injuries, special efforts are made to monitor the effects of all treatments.