Regular yoga improve lives of Filariasis patients in UP


Lucknow: The Yogi government is running various campaigns across Uttar Pradesh to achieve the ambitious goal of eradicating filariasis from the state by 2027.  Remarkably, the government has made significant strides in combating filariasis through yoga while the lives of filariasis patients have significantly improved through regular yoga and exercise.

Under the instructions of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the guidance of the Health Department, supporting organizations are working to reintegrate filariasis patients, who have long been isolated from society, back into the mainstream.

As part of this initiative, an Institute of Applied Dermatology (IAD) Center has been established at the Regional Ayurveda Research Institute in Indiranagar, Lucknow. Here, filariasis patients are taught care methods, yoga, and pranayama. Many members of the Filaria Network and Patient Support Group have improved their quality of life by learning proper care techniques.

Yoga and exercise reduce swelling

Explaining the relationship between yoga, exercise, and managing swelling in filariasis-affected limbs, Sandeep Kumar, a yoga consultant at the Institute of Applied Dermatology, said the treatment protocol includes subtle exercises, yoga postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayam), hand gestures (mudra), and relaxation poses (shavasana). Patients practice regular yoga and exercise for 14 days alongside getting treatment, which improves their wellbeing.

Vibhuraj Kumar, the Executive Coordinator at the Institute of Applied Dermatology, highlighted that filariasis affects the lymphatic system, causing fluid buildup and swelling in the limbs. In such cases, yoga and exercise help reduce swelling and assist the lymphatic system in functioning properly.

It is important to note that this infection, which spreads due to the bite of Culex mosquito, can take five to fifteen years to appear as filariasis.  There is no effective cure, so prevention is crucial. Filariasis elimination focuses on two main points: the Mass Drug Administration (MDA/IDA) program and Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention (MMDP).

Under MMDP, the Health Department, with the help of partner organizations, trains filariasis patients on how to properly wash and clean affected areas, reduce swelling, and prevent disease progression through yoga and exercise. This training has helped reduce swelling in affected areas and has given patients confidence that with a little effort, they can avoid risks, perform daily tasks independently, and lead active lives.

Filariasis reduced with yoga, patients now managing daily tasks

Ganga Prasad, a 55-year-old resident of Chhatha Meel on Sitapur Road, Lucknow, shared that both his legs have been affected by filariasis for the past 10-12 years. “Due to this, I had to close my shop and my children’s education was disrupted. Despite extensive treatment, I found no relief. However, after joining the network, I learned to exercise at least twice a day, wash and clean the affected areas, and received treatment at the IAD center. Now, I feel much lighter in my legs and entire body and more comfortable.

Similarly, Sudha Devi, a 34-year-old network member from Kanpur, mentioned that daily exercise has almost eliminated the swelling in her legs. Eleven months ago, during training by a community health officer, she started practicing yoga and exercise and has continued daily since then. She also takes care of cleaning her legs. The biggest benefit is that she can now easily wear the anklet she couldn’t wear last year and can manage household chores with ease.


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