Yoga & Vitiligo – What Should You Know?

Yoga & Vitiligo – What Should You Know?

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By Dr. Ravish Kamal,Ayurveda

Vitiligo occurs when the skin pigments, known as melanocytes, are destroyed in that particular area. The site of depigmentation appears as white patches, which is more evident in people with coloured skin. Complete cure for Vitiligo is nowhere in sight even though there are treatments available for it. Treatment for Vitiligo can bring down the severity of the problem, but cannot ensure that it will not recur. Sometimes, the white patches refuse to budge even after treatment. In these circumstances, it is natural for Vitiligo sufferers to search for alternative therapies. Natural therapies, such as Yoga, can have some positive effects on Vitiligo.

How Yoga Cures Illnesses?

Yoga has a number of benefits and positive effects on health. Yoga poses such as stretching of muscles, tendons, deep breathing, shallow breathing, deep exhalation etc., all bring about a change in conditions of mind and body. There is such a vast range of yoga postures and breathing exercises that almost every system of the body can benefit from it.

The Effect Of Yoga On Skin And Melanin:

Vitiligo results from destruction of melanocytes that impart colour to the skin. As the melanocytes get destroyed, white patches develop on the skin. One of the reasons for destruction of melanocytes is the presence of toxins. Toxins place oxidative stress on melanins and destroy them. Yoga has the power to prevent oxidation of cells and thereby prevent the destruction of melanin. Let us go through some of the yoga asanas that may be helpful in fighting Vitiligo.

Padahastasana or Hasta Padasana:

This is a standing forward bend posture which has the ability to enhance blood circulation in neck, face, and head. It also helps in balancing hormones and promote a healthy skin. Enhanced blood circulation may clear out toxins and bring down oxidative stress on melanocytes. This may bring down the rate of destruction of melanocytes and thereby reduce the aggression of Vitiligo.

Bhujangasana:

This is also known as the Cobra Pose and it induces stretching and opening up of the heart and lungs. This leads to an improvement in breathing. As breathing increases, one can breathe in more oxygen and enhance blood circulation. Enhanced blood circulation and breathing in more oxygen may help to remove toxins and free radicals. This itself can bring down the oxidative stress on melanocytes and bring down the severity of Vitiligo.

Studies On The Efficacy Of Yoga In Treating Vitiligo:

A study on the efficacy of a particular form of yoga known as Savarnakara yoga has been carried out. According to Ayurveda, Savarnakara yoga has the ability to treat Vitiligo. In this study, two different forms were used: an ointment and a lepa. A total of 60 patients with symptoms of Vitiligo had been selected and divided into 2 groups randomly. While one group was administered with Savarnakara Lepa, the other was administered with Savarnakara Ointment for topical application on affected areas. Results coming from both the groups were analysed and it showed significant improvement in conditions in both the groups. This implies that both forms of Savarnakara yoga can be used as remedies for Vitiligo since they have significant pigment regenerating capacity.

Conclusion:

Yoga may be practiced as an additional remedy for Vitiligo since it does not have any side effects.