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To become an ayurvedic practitioner, as a health professional in holistic medicine, one must become an expert on treating the mind, body, and spirit. Ayurveda is a health treatment that has been developed in India over thousands of years. The goal of ayurvedic medicine is to bring a patient’s energy and constitution back into balance with the elements of the world. As alternative medicine has become more acceptable to the Western world, more courses of study have become available to those wishing to learn ayurvedic medicine.
Ayurvedic practitioners analyze a patient’s health history, stress level, energy, and personal life, as well as the vital signs and other physical indications such as the state of the tongue, eyes, and skin. This information determines what is out of balance in the patient. Once a diagnosis is reached, treatment may include changes in diet, purging the digestive tract, exercise, and meditation disciplines.
Medical knowledge is one of the key subjects in the quest to become an ayurvedic practitioner. Some nurses and doctors take courses in ayurvedic medicine during or after their medical studies. While there is no certification requirement for practitioners in the United States, programs of study in India are quite comprehensive and widespread. A student studying at an Indian ayurvedic hospital or school may work for a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) or a Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (DAMS).
In addition to medical training, a student must study nutrition and diet and have a firm grasp of the effects of foods and herbal remedies on a person’s health and well-being. To become an ayurvedic practitioner, the student should also be familiar with anatomy, botany, the connection between mind and body in health, therapeutic massage, mental health issues, exercise, yoga, and meditation. Finally, the student should become familiar with the philosophy of the treatment. He or she must understand the traditional elements of fire, water, earth, air, and space, their relationship to the human body, spirit, and mind, and the techniques to bring balance to the patient’s dosha, or mind/body type.
A student wishing to become an ayurvedic practitioner should look for a program that has produced professional, successful medical experts. Online information and discussions with current practitioners can help a student find the right program. If an ayurvedic course of study does not provide workshops or internships for hands-on experience, a student should seek other opportunities to practice skills before working as a practitioner.