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Ayurvedic training can take many forms, including online classes, weekend workshops, seminars, undergraduate and graduate programs. Countries vary in their requirements and regulations for ayurvedic training schools. Within the United States, regulations also vary by state. India, where ayurvedic medicine was developed, has a required and highly structured training program, and students can earn up to a doctorate degree in the practice.
As a holistic health and spiritual wellness practice, ayurveda was developed 5,000 years ago. It is said to balance and heal the mind, spirit, and body through diet, lifestyle management, rituals, massage, and meditation. Trained professionals are familiar with techniques to balance the three ayurvedic bioenergies, called the pitta, or metabolism; the vata, or motion; and kapha, or growth.
Indian ayurvedic training schools offer coursework in herbal medicine, massage, nutrition, spiritual exercises, anatomy, psychology, biology, and yoga. For advanced degrees, students may learn about healing oils, biofeedback, biophysics, and abnormal psychology. Often students are required to obtain clinical experience before receiving their certification. There are many reputable certified schools in India that can be found through ayurvedic associations and recommendations from practitioners.
In the United States and many other countries, ayurvedic medicine is not well regulated. The U.S. National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) has established standards, a code of ethics, and professional competencies for ayurvedic training schools, but participation is voluntary. Graduates who have fulfilled the educational standards can join the association as a practitioner. The NAMA is also a source for students to find a program that follows the association’s guidelines.
Ayurvedic online training or correspondence courses usually consist of a set of textbooks or online content with required reading and testing procedures. Online classes do not generally offer any hands-on patient work and are not recognized by most ayurvedic associations. Students can receive ayurvedic training at weekend programs or periodic seminars. Some programs offer a full training program, such as the 24-weekend program at the California College of Ayurveda. Other seminars or weekend programs may allow a student to focus on one area of practice, such as ayurvedic massage training.
The California College of Ayurveda and the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico both offer full-time programs lasting about 1 ½ years. Once certified, a professional can practice ayurvedic holistic healing, but can not be called a doctor, prescribe medicine or diagnose disease, or perform any procedures that invade the body. However, the practice and acceptance of ayurvedic healing outside of India is improving, along with standards for ayurvedic training.
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