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Dr Gautam Sharma, Professor and In-Charge of CIMR, Delhi-AIIMS

Yoga reduces incidences of vasovagal syncope: AIIMS study

Rohit Shishodia

Yoga can reduce episodes of vasovagal syncope (VVS), a condition where a patient loses consciousness due to a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rates triggered by certain neural factors.

Yoga can act as adjunctive therapy and it has been found to be superior to standard therapy alone in reducing the symptomatic burden and improving the quality of life in patients with VVS, an AIIMS study carried out by the Department of Centre For Integrative Medicine and Research (CIMR) revealed.

VVS, also called neuro-cardiogenic syncope, occurs when a patient loses due to overreaction generated by the body to certain triggers, like the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress.

“It is a condition, also called common faint when a person fain faints on some precipitating condition, like the sight of blood or any unpleasant stimuli of prolonged standing but that person does not have any underlying structural heart disease so by and large its benign condition, but it affects the quality of life,” Dr Gautam Sharma, Professor and In-Charge of CIMR and lead author of the study said.

Dr Sharma said, “Though it is a common condition, modern medicine does not have a cure for this disease. We are just trying to analyse what is the underlying cause for vasovagal syncope and it has been proven in the past and we figured that the autonomic nervous system is deranged and because of that vasovagal syncope takes place.”

“Since we know that Yoga affects the autonomic nervous system and it regulates this system, we thought Yoga can help in this condition. That was the hypothesis on which we went ahead and carried out this randomised control trial at AIIMS,” Dr Sharma explained.

“We took patients of vasovagal syncope and we divided them into two groups, one composed of the patients who were under standard care, meaning those who were taking whatever treatment that was prescribed by treating cardiologist and the other group received a Yoga training program in addition to the standard care,” he elaborated.

“The Yoga module was specially designed for these patients and then we followed up these patients for over six months and one year and what we found at the end of the year was that these patients, who practised Yoga regularly had decreased incidents and frequencies of vasovagal syncope. From that perspective, it was a landmark study and it has been published in the American College of Cardiology,” Dr Sharma informed.

“In modern medicine, there are some drugs but they are not very effective. There is no definitive cure from the modern medicine perspective for this condition and that is why we thought if we can add Yoga to this treatment regimen that might benefit patients. This is a step towards what is increasingly being accepted in the medical fraternity worldwide about integrated medicine,” he added.

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