| Ramdev: Research offer
New Delhi, Dec. 22: A government notice to Swami Ramdev on claims about the effects of yoga on cancer and HIV prompted the popular yoga guru to deny today that he had ever claimed miracle cures.
But the Ramdev camp said it would like to collaborate with the health ministry to establish the benefits of yoga and pranayama in different illnesses through scientific research.
In promoting yoga through a website — swamiramdevyoga.com — the Ramdev camp had claimed pranayama as “the cheapest and only permanent cure to incurable diseases like diabetes, cancer, and HIV and AIDS”.
Yesterday, health minister Anbumani Ramadoss had said that while yoga had been shown to have physiological effects on the body, claims of its impact on cancer and HIV remained unproven. The health ministry had sent a note to Ramdev seeking an explanation under the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, which prohibits claims of miracle cures.
Ramdev said today yoga was neither a drug nor magic.
“We’re willing to collaborate on scientific research and in the documentation of the effects of yoga on various illnesses,” Surendra Tijarawala, a spokesperson for Ramdev told The Telegraph. Tijarawala said Ramdev had never claimed a cure for HIV.
Ramadoss said any claims about the benefits of pranayama in any illness must be backed by rigorous scientific research.
The global convention in science and medicine is that all claims have to go through a process of peer review where experts from relevant fields scrutinise and approve — or disapprove — the claims.
In recent years, several studies from India and outside have suggested that yoga can alter the body’s physiology in some ways. However, claims about its effect in conditions such as cancer and HIV remain unproven.
“We have observations to show that the CD4 cells in HIV-infected people rise after practising pranayama yoga,” Tijarawala said.
CD4 cells are a class of immune cells that gradually get depleted in HIV infection.
Ramdev, who has become a nationwide phenomenon, thanks to television, had earlier been drawn into a controversy when CPM leader Brinda Karat accused him of selling medicines that contain animal parts and powder made from human skull.
The yoga guru denied the charge, striking back at Karat through a letter that said if there was a real communist left anywhere, it would be him because he was fighting multinational drug companies.