Updated: Nov 22, 2021
By Monica B Groover
As a director of An Ayurveda school, I talk to a lot of Ayurveda enthusiasts and potential students who want to pursue Ayurveda as a profession. They are excited about learning it and sharing it with the world. One question I get a lot, almost 90% of the time is that can I practice Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is NOT recognized, it is NOT licensed and practitioners cannot treat, diagnose or treat a disease. So, what is it that Counselors can do, you ask? Counselors can teach, educate, inform the community about Ayurvedic lifestyle practices like daily routine and seasonal routine. They can educate about Ayurveda ahara and vihara. For more information, let's go read a great article on the NAMA website below.
https://www.ayurvedanama.org/articles/2018/1/22/the-legal-unlicensed-practice-of-ayurveda First let's clarify, what is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is a complementary and alternative modality of healing that uses yoga, meditation, lifestyle interventions, dosha-based diet plans, herbs, and educating clients about dosha pacification. So, what is this term Alternative healing? How is it different from complementary healing? And, lately, integrative health is the buzzword. What do these terminologies mean?
First off, let's get my disclaimer out the way. Ayurveda is NOT recognized and Ayurveda is considered complimentary and Ayurveda Practitioners are not allowed to treat, diagnose or treat a disease.
Now, that's out the way, let's hash these terms.
According to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the terms “complementary,” “alternative,” and “integrative” are continually evolving. Do note that what was considered alternative 20 years ago maybe more complimentary now. For example, Meditation which is now even offered at certain hospitals and medical establishments along with yoga--was considered woo woo.
If a non-mainstream approach is used together with conventional medicine, it’s considered “complementary.”
If a non-mainstream approach is used in place of conventional medicine, it’s considered an “alternative.” (Source- https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/complementary-alternative-or-integrative-health-whats-in-a-name)
Integrative health is an amalgamation of both conventional and alternative medicine integrated together-which can include Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Lifestyle changes, psychological interventions, meditation, yoga. The idea is that there is an emphasis on the whole person instead of the disease.
This integration of everything that makes a person whole is considered whole-person health. Mind, body, spirit, diet, lifestyle, and the happiness index included.
Ayurveda is all about this whole person. Ayurvedic medicine considers social, environmental (very important), diet, seasons, time of day, spiritual life, satisfaction from personal and family life, and all that jazz.
Ayurveda believes we are not just this physical body but we are more than our organs and body systems. We are a spirit wrapped in this body. Our mind, our consciousness is as much part of this whole being that we are--and all of it is interconnected.
So, we can say Ayurveda has an energetic and spiritual component that makes focuses on Sattvavajaya Cikitsa (mantras, meditations, spiritual therapy).
Ayurveda can be integrated with many other systems. Most of my clients usually go to TCM practitioners, get acupuncture, get massages, and many practice meditation and yoga.
Many of them have taken bitter Chinese herbs or bought some Ayurvedic herbs and used them before.
(Caution-try not to take any herb from the internet without researching what is in that supplement-who is distributing, and a background of the company, look at reviews. There are a lot of unreviewed, untested, and unsafe supplements out there)
Monica B Groover is the director of Narayana Ayurveda, is a published author of book "Ayurveda and the Feminine"