Mueller College of Holistic Studies

Mueller College offers a wide range of holistic health subjects such as massage therapy, hypnotherapy, herbology, reflexology, Reiki, nutrition, and Eastern and Asian modalities.

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How to Become an Ayurveda Practitioner

Ayurveda is a natural form of medicine that has been practiced in India for more than 5,000 years and is considered a form of alternative or complementary medicine in the western world.

In Sanskrit, the word Ayurveda means “science of life”. The practice of Ayurveda emphasizes the prevention of disease and disorders, the rejuvenation and revitalization of the body and its systems and extending our life span. It incorporates the mind, body and soul as one and use an integrative approach to prevention and treatment by offering lifestyle interventions and natural remedies.

An Ayurvedic practitioner is trained to ask questions to determine the patient’s primary dosha (life forces), the balance among the three doshas, and to use all five senses to diagnose. During the examination, practitioners look at: constitution (Prakriti- a person's unique combination of physical and psychological characteristics and the way the body functions to maintain health), abnormality, essence, stability, body measurements, diet, psychic strength, digestive capacity, physical fitness and age. They may ask about diet, behavior, lifestyle practices, recent illnesses (reasons and symptoms), and resilience. He/she may observe the teeth and tongue, skin, eyes, weight, and overall appearance. Finally, the practitioner may check the patient's urine, stool, speech and voice, and pulse (each dosha is thought to make a particular kind of pulse). Treatment goals include eliminating impurities, reducing symptoms, increasing resistance to disease and reducing worry and increasing harmony. The practitioner can use a variety of methods to achieve these goals. They may include Panachakarma (therapeutic vomiting, bloodletting, herbal nasal inhalations, purgation therapy and enemas), Swedana (sweat treatments), Abhiyanga (oil massage) and Samana (herbal treatments).

Many practitioners study in India, where there are more than 150 undergraduate and 30 postgraduate colleges for Ayurvedic medicine. Training can take 5 years or longer. Students who receive their Ayurvedic training in India can earn either a bachelor's degree (BAMS) or doctoral degree (DAMS). In the United States, the National Ayurvedic Medical Association established the first educational standards in 2004. Graduates of schools that meet these minimum standards are able to receive practitioner status in the national association. Ayurveda training programs in the US fall into four major categories: (1) correspondence, (2) full-time training, (3) weekend training and (4) short-term seminar courses. Some of these program offer internship and others do not.

There is no significant regulation of Ayurvedic practice or education in the US. Schools in most states must apply for a State license or State approval to provide education. No state requires a license to practice Ayurvedic health care. Having no formal scope of practice defined through legislation, the practice is defined more by what cannot be done than by what can be legally practiced. While the laws in each state vary, there are many commonalities to these laws that restrict the practice of Ayurveda, the medical practice acts established in each state being the most significant.