International Journal of Yoga
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PERSPECTIVE ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 150-157
Yoga and integrative healthcare: Lessons from the national institute of mental health and neurosciences (NIMHANS) in India


1 Department of Integrative Medicine, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Neurochemistry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
4 National Medical Commission, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Shivarama Varambally
Department of Integrative Medicine, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijoy.ijoy_56_22

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Background: There is growing evidence and increasing interest for systemic integration of medicine (synergistic and evidence-based combination of different systems along with conventional biomedicine). The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), an Institute of National Importance and a tertiary mental and neurological healthcare hospital situated in Bengaluru, India, has established one such integrative model. The present manuscript traces the history and describes the important steps followed in this integrative approach. Methodology: The NIMHANS model followed a stage-wise two-step approach: (1) First stage – Starting with Integration of Yoga: The process began more than a decade ago, with integrating yoga into a clinical department (rather than an exclusive research-based approach) of the institute which had relatively high clinical service load (For example, Department of Psychiatry in NIMHANS). Yoga was gradually formalized into academic and clinical activities (outpatient and inpatient services) by appointing a Yoga faculty with a medical background with an MD/PhD in Yoga. The research was primarily directed by the clinical observations of patients receiving yoga therapy. (2) Second stage: Adding an appropriate and compatible discipline from Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH) system (Ayurveda in this case): The center for yoga gradually evolved into the Department of Integrative Medicine with the appointment of faculty from the Ayurveda stream. In this model, specialists from each discipline provide clinical inputs after simultaneous consultation with the patient through systemic integration in clinical, academic, and research domains rather than mere co-location of AYUSH services with mainstream medicine. Conclusion: The NIMHANS model of integration suggests the application of yoga into mainstream clinical service as the first step toward integration. Yoga should be added as a formalized clinical discipline with systemic integration. Gradually, other feasible systems of traditional medicine from AYUSH can be integrated at a later stage in a step-by-step manner based on clinical practice and evidence.


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