Only the best Āyurveda will do.
True Ayurveda is emerging in the U.S.
Āyurveda has been known in the U.S. for its exotic spa-treatments, as a spiritual approach to health, a vegetarian regimen and an alternative system free of side-effects.
It is none of these.
I’ve charted these waters before myself. In 1999 I met with an Āyurvedic practitioner at a yoga studio in New Hampshire. He was magnetic, spiritual, kind and the experience provided some powerful healing that I would not have found elsewhere.
I continued to seek his counsel for about ten years putting my digestive issues, relationship struggles, insomnia and anxiety in his hands.
Each time, I gained some insight into my tendencies and through the experience, my understanding of achieving health for myself became more aligned with my body type or my nature. But my physical health did not actually improve until I met with a vaidya (Āyurvedic ‘doctor’) who was trained in Traditional Āyurvedic Medicine.
Making Sense of Āyurvedic Options for Care
Part of my mission in this life it seems has been to locate the Āyurvedic options for care and to understand what is available from this traditional system so I can share it with others.
When I became interested in Āyurveda back in 1999, the only resources for products, practitioners and schools were found in the back of Āyurveda books. Out of frustration with a lack of resources, I developed a directory website for Āyurveda called AyurvedaNextDoor.com, now part of The Ayurveda Experience‘s family of websites.
When the right teacher became available, I decided to study Āyurveda. I had seen enough friends and family suffer and lost a friend to suicide. It was apparent to me that no other holistic health system had the depth and breadth of understanding that Āyurveda has.
My training exceeded competency standards for typical Āyurveda training in the U.S., included in-depth reading of the classical Āyurvedic medical texts, study of Sanskrit, and internship. Today, my training continues with cikitsa or therapies for disease-management.
To understand what is available in the U.S. for Āyurveda practice, take note of the following terms. In reading these, you’ll get a greater sense of the disparity of Āyurveda.
Āyurvedic Health Coach
Trained in the very basics of diet and lifestyle management, Āyurvedic Health Coaches are beneficial if you wish to learn the simplest concepts of Āyurveda. They are not trained in the use of herbs, formulations or body therapies. They are not trained in health management when there is imbalance in the dosha. Āyurvedic Health Coaches are a unique level of training in the U.S. and are not part of the Indian system of Āyurvedic professionals.
This term is used in the U.S. to denote someone who has training in Āyurvedic herbs, simple formulations and balancing the body types. They do not typically have training in disease management with Āyurveda however access to proper education is evolving.
This acronym refers to the Bachelor’s degree awarded to graduates of Indian institutions. It stands for Bachelor of Āyurvedic Medicine & Surgery. They receive 5.5 years of training in all aspects of Āyurveda. Upon graduation, they confer the title of vaidya and are also referred to in India as ‘doctor’. In the U.S., they are not recognized as doctors. In India, they may continue their studies to specialize in one of the eight branches of Āyurveda or in research.
Classical Āyurveda refers to the institutional training system in India that has formalized Āyurveda education under British occupancy. Classical Āyurveda utilizes the ancient Āyurvedic texts and additionally trains its students in Western anatomy and physiology along with Western surgical techniques.
Shuddha means ‘true’ in Sanskrit and these practitioners are trained in the guru shishya parampara model of education which means they trained under a teacher in a clinical setting following the tennets set forth in the ancient Āyurvedic texts.
Traditional Āyurvedic Medicine
Traditional Āyurvedic Medicine (TAM) defines the practice of Āyurveda as that which adheres to the system of medicine as it was originally intended and written down thousands of years ago. It differentiates the practice of Āyurveda as an alternative and complementary medicine (CAM) from its condensed and abbreviated counterpart in the U.S., ‘New Age Āyurveda‘.
Āyurveda is the traditional medical system of India and has many parallels with Traditional Chinese Medicine.
It is a holistic system that aims to reestablish health with body treatments, dietary protocols, lifestyle adjustments and Āyurvedic medicines.
Āyurvedic doctors trained in India undergo 5.5 years of study including clinical internship. In comparison, typical schooling in the U.S. provides certificates to graduates at a fraction of the training received in India.
Jennifer Maklan studied classical Āyurveda with the first Western woman to graduate from an Āyurvedic university in India, Jessica Vellela, BAMS. That training was vastly different than typical Āyurveda training in the U.S.
“In my experience, Traditional Āyurvedic Medicine is far more effective in practice.”
Chattanooga Ayurveda operates in collaboration with vaidyas in India and Jennifer Maklan is currently continuing her education at the Samudra Āyurvedic Physicians Program in the U.S.
“The positive results I see from Traditional Āyurvedic Medicine continue to amaze me. Schedule a free consultation to see how it applies to you. If I cannot help you myself I will direct you to someone who can.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Āyurveda?
Āyurveda is India's traditional medical system. It is a holistic approach that uses temporary dietary adjustments, lifestyle recommendations, therapeutic treatments and cleanses to restore health. It is also preventative in nature.
Health is not something that you achieve and then you're done. It must be cultivated and created each day. Āyurveda offers a wealth of sound knowledge to maintain health throughout every season and every stage of life.
I've tried changing my diet and lifestyle and it didn't work. How is Āyurveda different?
Āyurveda is a complete medical system. Āyurvedic formulations or "medicines" are selected for you based on your state of health. Formulations along with appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle ensure that you get back to your natural state of health and are able to maintain it. Improved health cannot happen without changing your diet and lifestyle.
Why should Āyurveda be part of corporate worksite wellness programs?
Āyurveda is preventative in nature and provides sound health advice for various seasons, climates and people. It is easily customized for various groups of individuals. Unlike Western nutrition and health paradigms, Āyurveda is an entire system of knowledge that addresses all aspects of life, from the environmental and social, to the physical and spiritual. It is well suited for corporations interested in educating employees on the principles of good health.
Is Āyurveda a licensed profession?
Āyurveda is not a licensed profession in the U.S. That being said, when selecting an Āyurvedic Practitioner, it's important to choose someone that is practicing classical Āyurveda. Classical Āyurveda adheres to the framework as it is taught and practiced in India.
Jennifer Maklan, ĀP, practices classical Āyurveda and has trained in programs that exceed typical educational standards for Āyurveda in the U.S.
How is Āyurveda practiced online? Isn't pulse assessment needed?
Āyurveda is quite conducive to online practice. In classical Āyurvedic assessment, questioning and visual clues provide a wealth of information. Pulse assessment is actually a somewhat modern addition to classical assessment methods. It is not a necessary component for a quality assessment.
How is Āyurveda different than other holistic healing methods?
Āyurveda is time-tested. It's speculated to be thousands of years old and probably the oldest health system known to man. Though much has changed, the classical practice of Āyurveda holds to the time-tested methods that existed thousands of years ago.
Unlike other modern approaches to holistic medicine, Āyurveda utilizes a detailed framework for the measurement, assessment and management of health. It is an extensive practice that is studied rigorously and is effective when applied with precision.
Unlike Western approaches to care, Āyurveda is personalized to each individual. Your day, diet, health history and so much more are taken into consideration to create your Care Plan.
What if I don't see results?
Sometimes results can be seen immediately and sometimes results can be subtle but nevertheless impactful.
If you're not seeing results, it's important to speak up. This is helpful information and may indicate that the wrong remedy was selected for you. Don't hesitate to communicate your experience so we can ensure you are on the right track.