Ayurvedic Doctor (also known as Ayurvedic Practitioner/Consultant) is a qualified person who treats un-well clients and maintains human health through the practice of ayurvedic science principles. After completing a Bachelor’s degree in ayurvedic medicine (BAMS), a person becomes eligible to be known as an ayurvedic doctor or ayurvedic practitioner. According to Indian law, only BAMS degree holders and people registered with the state board of ayurvedic medicine or Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) can practice ayurvedic medicine.
About Ayurvedic Medicine
Before we discuss the role of an ayurvedic practitioner in our society, we should know about what is ayurvedic medicine or ayurveda. Ayurvedic medicine or ayurveda is an ancient health science recognized by World Health Organization (WHO) as a form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). In India, around 80% people use ayurvedic medicine as their primary health care.
- Ayurveda promotes prevention from the disease in the first place by correcting dietary and lifestyle habits.
- It uses food or dietary suppliments as a primary medicine.
- It considers detoxification through several panchakarma therapies, which help to prevent and treat diseases by eliminating disease-causing toxins (Ama).
- In last, herbs and several ayurvedic medicines are used to treat or manage clients whenever required.
Ayurveda believes in the promotion of health and wellness by balancing three doshas in the body and bringing harmony between body, mind and soul. In comparison with other health care systems, it is considered as a safer treatment option. It has possibly no or fewer side effects (with the qualified practitioner only). It is known for non-invasive procedures or therapies. In fact, these treatments are relaxing for the body and have calming effects on the mind. Ayurveda works well in both cases – acute and chronic diseases. However, nowadays it becomes more famous for the management of chronic diseases due to patient’s dissatisfaction with modern medicine.
Qualification of Ayurvedic Doctor
As discussed above, BAMS is a basic and minimum qualification for becoming an ayurvedic doctor. BAMS is 5 and a half years’ fulltime course, which also includes 12 months’ rotatory internship. BAMS stands for “Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery”. It is recognized under the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970. According to the act, BAMS degree holder has the same rights to perform the same legal work as other medical degree holders can do (In India Only). He/she can practice ayurvedic medicine.
Ayurvedic Doctor Registration
In India, there are two legal structures under which a BAMS degree holder get registration and right to practice ayurvedic medicine.
State Board: Each state in India has a separate board for Indian Medicine under which a BAMS degree holder is registered and given rights to practice ayurvedic medicine in the state.
CCIM: Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) also provides registration for ayurvedic doctors, which is recognized throughout India.
In Australia, yet there is no legal requirement for registration or getting practice license to work as an ayurvedic doctor. However, some private organizations provide registration and membership for ayurvedic doctors.
Australasian Association of Ayurveda (AAA) is the oldest organization that provides registration and membership to ayurvedic practitioners. It is also recommended that ayurvedic doctor or practitioner should get registration from AAA or similar organizations for ensuring the maintenance of the highest standards of ayurvedic practice in Australia.
AAA registration also helps to obtain TGA Schedule 1 Certification that allows the ayurvedic doctor to blend different herbs and prepare specific herbal formulation for clients according to their health condition and ayurvedic dosha analysis.
Role of Ayurvedic Doctor in Society
Nowadays, ayurvedic practitioners have a huge importance in the society. Modern medicine is known for drug resistance, side effects and invasive procedures/treatment. Several patients may have dissatisfaction with modern medicine due to its adverse effects.
Ayurvedic medicines (especially organic herbs and their blends) are safer options for people seeking treatment for obstinate and chronic diseases. However, ayurveda also works well in acute cases. Many open minded people start getting ayurvedic treatment even for their acute problems. Ayurvedic medicines can also provide quick relief in common health problems like common cold, cough, abdominal colic, etc.
People are looking for good ayurvedic practitioners who work according to principles of ayurvedic science. Even healthy people start getting an ayurvedic consultation with ayurvedic doctors for keeping themselves healthy and improving the quality of living.
Because ayurveda believes in the uniqueness of body type in everyone based on three dosha theory. So, the correct interpretation is the initial requirement for getting ayurvedic treatment. Online tools are not reliable for analyzing body type. There are several other factors, which can vary case-to-case. Ayurvedic specialist can provide a better judgment for this.
However, patients may be aware of home remedies, which are commonly based on ayurvedic herbs and spices, but each may provide different results even for the same health condition in different people depending on the predominance of dosha and other factors. Therefore, patients seek consultation from a good ayurvedic doctor who can guide them for a proper ayurvedic treatment.
In the last, somewhere modern medicine fails, ayurveda provides promising results. It reduces patient’s discomfort and improves quality of life. Therefore, ayurvedic practitioners are now an important part of the society.
Duties of Ayurvedic Doctor
Ayurvedic doctor has several duties. He is head of Ayurvedic Clinic where he supervises ayurvedic therapies and provides ayurvedic consultation. Ayurvedic doctor serves the following duties in ayurvedic clinic or hospital:
- Analyze ayurvedic Prakriti (body type). Suggest dietary and lifestyle modification accordingly.
- Provide ayurvedic consultation based Vikriti (health condition) dosha analysis, Prakriti and mental and physical tolerance/endurance for the treatment of a specific disease.
- Supervise or conduct ayurvedic therapies (including panchakarma detox) on patients.
- Teach patients about ayurvedic treatment and panchakarma procedures.
- Provide directions for do’s and don’ts during ayurvedic treatment.
- Provide dietary advice according to Prakriti and health condition.
Who is a good Ayurvedic Doctor?
According to Charaka Samhita, a person who knows the principles of correct use and application of ayurvedic medicines or herbs according to place, time and individual’s dosha and health condition is regarded as a best ayurvedic practitioner.
Charaka Samhita has also described four essential qualities of ayurvedic practitioner:
- Medical Knowledge
- Practical Experience
Ayurvedic practitioner should know about various medical subjects. He/she should know the principle of medicine and medicinal properties and uses of each herb and ayurvedic formulation.
This requirement is fulfilled during the bachelor’s degree. BAMS includes various medical subjects and learning from ayurvedic literature. It includes anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology & materia medica, toxicology, medical jurisdiction and forensic science, pathology, microbiology, preventive and social medicine, yoga, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine, aphrodisiac science, rejuvenation therapy, panchakarma, Charaka Samhita and general surgery.
BAMS degree holder has in-depth knowledge of all these subjects. Therefore, patients should prefer (when possible) ayurvedic practitioner with a bachelor’s degree in ayurveda to seek ayurvedic advices or treatments.
According to Charaka Samhita, the ayurvedic physician must gain practical experience. During the BAMS study, students also get practical classes and clinical training at ayurvedic hospitals. After completing the BAMS study, there is 12 months’ rotatory internship, which is compulsory for all BAMS graduates. This internship provides practical experience in ayurvedic practice.
Charaka Samhita said ayurvedic practitioner should have dexterity in his/her field. It comes with treating several patients and performing various therapeutic procedures on them. A good ayurvedic doctor continues to learn new things and try to become master of his expertise.
The cleanliness is the most important thing that ayurvedic physician should have. It also includes mental clarity and personal purity and loyalty toward patients.
He/She should be truthful, calm, cheerful, happy, trustworthy, honest and duty bound. He should stay away from violence and should not hurt anyone. He should speak with politeness. He should do meditation on regular basis. He should avoid alcohol and other hallucinogens. He should be compassionate.
He should give huge importance to his personal hygiene. He should also teach his patients about keeping themselves clean. His workplace and therapy rooms should be clean and dirt-free.
If you feel that your ayurvedic doctor/practitioner has above qualities, then you are probably in safe hands!
Dr. Pooja Saini.
Ayurvedic Doctor/Practitioner & Nurse Practitioner
(Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) & Masters of Nurse Practitioner Mental Health
Working at Pure Herbal Ayurved Clinic in Melbourne, Australia.
- Gawde, S. R., Shetty, Y. C., & Pawar, D. B. (2013). Knowledge, attitude, and practices toward ayurvedic medicine use among allopathic resident doctors: A cross-sectional study at a tertiary care hospital in India. Perspectives in Clinical Research, 4(3), 175–180. http://doi.org/10.4103/2229-3485.115380
- Sen, S., & Chakraborty, R. (2017). Revival, modernization and integration of Indian traditional herbal medicine in clinical practice: Importance, challenges and Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 7(2), 234–244. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.05.006
- Ravishankar, B., & Shukla, V. (2007). Indian Systems of Medicine: A Brief Profile. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines, 4(3), 319–337.
- Schedule 1 certificates, Therapeutic Goods Administration, Department of Health, Australian Government, https://www.tga.gov.au/schedule-1-certificates
- Membership Guidelines, Australasian Association of Ayurveda (AAA), http://www.ayurved.org.au/membership-guidelines/
- Charaka Samhita, Chapter 1, Deergham Jeeviteeya Adhyaya, Verse 120 to 124.
- Charaka Samhita, Chapter 9, Khuddakachatushpada Adhyaya, Verse 3 to 6.
- Gavali, Jyoti. (2016). Professional and Legal Duties of Ayurvedic Physician. Ayurpub.com. volume 1. Page 122-125.