New therapy unit blends Ayurveda, yoga with psychiatry

Initiative at Nimhans

Representative image. (Getty images)

In what is claimed to be the first-of-its-kind service in a government institution, Nimhans has unveiled an integrated treatment unit, which would offer Ayurvedic, yoga and psychiatric treatments simultaneously.

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) recently inaugurated the unit where doctors will be trained to treat patients in both Indian and Western medicinal systems. The unit will be fully functional from March. Dr Shivaram V, in-charge of the Department of Integrated Medicine, said the patient will be seen by a junior doctor first, who would refer them to a three-doctor team. “Even now, junior doctors across departments record the patient’s basic information and refer them to a senior doctor who treats the patient,” he said.

“One of the three doctors would be a psychiatrist and the others would be Ayurvedic and yoga practitioners. We also aim to train the juniors to determine the cases best suited for integrated medicine. This would increase the number of experts in integrated medicine,” Dr Shivaram added.

The department will be a 30-bed facility for in-patients and will become fully functional in March as part of the building renovation. The institute will also set up a Panchakarma treatment centre soon.

“We’ll treat both psychiatry and neurology patients,” said Dr Shivaram. “These will include patients who suffer from stroke, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and other mental illnesses. Admission will be done for those needing serious treatment.” 

Certificate course

The department is offering a one-month certificate course for students from the Ayush stream. Doctors with prior knowledge of yoga will learn the kind of asanas they can teach patients.

“For instance, meditation will not be taught for someone with schizophrenia, while it might work well for those with anxiety. Doctors will be trained to make this distinction. We’ll take a small batch of 10-15 doctors to give hands-on experience in treating patients alongside the faculty,” Dr Shivaram said.

Nimhans will also give fellowships to doctors specialising in integrated medicine.

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