All of the schools of Vedic thought come from six schools of philosophy. Ayurveda draws from each of these six schools. It is possible to sum up Ayurvedic philosophy in a few words: With every bite, breath, and action cultivate health in your body and mind.
Align with nature: By aligning our activities with natural rhythms, we support the body to return to its natural cycles around digestion, sleep, and energy expense.
Bring consciousness to your choices: By increasing awareness of the impact of our choices, we begin to unravel the causative factors of the imbalances that have settled into the body and mind.
Commit to self-care: By placing importance on self-care we assure that we can withstand any stresses that we encounter during the day.
Detox when necessary: By recognizing signs of toxicity in our body and mind, we can take steps to remove this before it creates more imbalance in the tissues of the body.
In the USA, Ayurveda is practiced more often as a preventative practice than a curative one. As of yet, there is no licensure for Ayurvedic practitioners, so there is no codified scope of practice for Ayurvedic professionals.
An Ayurvedic Health Counselor (AHC) will utilize dietary and lifestyle recommendations to address any problematic practices that may be impacting the client’s state of health and well-being. This helps to uproot the cause of the client’s imbalances.
An Ayurvedic Practitioner (AP) will advise dietary and lifestyle recommendations in much the same way as the AHC. The AP will also work with Ayurvedic herbs and formulations to pacify the client’s symptoms of imbalance, may oversee detoxification therapies to remove toxicity, and apply rejuvenation therapies to recover vitality.
A visit with an Ayurvedic practitioner is unlike any other type of health care practitioner you may have visited. The Ayurvedic professional will interview the client and ask questions about their habits and patterns around digestion, sleep, energy patterns, and more. They listen to what is being said and observe what is left unsaid. They will use this information to assess the constitution, current state of imbalance, and identify any problematic dietary or lifestyle practices.
Following this collection of information, the practitioner will advise the client with dietary and lifestyle modifications to resolve the causative factors of their imbalance and advise them on practices to prevent future imbalance. They may advise Ayurvedic herbs or formulas to right imbalances or to pacify symptoms.
At subsequent visits the practitioner will support the client to develop strategies to integrate the Ayurvedic principles. They will help them to find affordable options that are accessible and adaptable to their daily life. Typically visits will include check in, education, and strategies for successful implementation of any dietary and lifestyle recommendations that have been given.
The Health Freedom Act is a protection offered by eleven states that assures residents may make decisions around their health care including seeking out the care of alternative health care providers. This is found in California as well as Oklahoma, Idaho, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Maine.
The Health Freedom Act in California (SB577) affords protection to alternative care providers to work with clients on their conditions without being deemed to be practicing medicine without a license. The bill requires that practitioners inform their clients of their training and scope of practice prior to treatment and that any advertisements that tout the conditions that the practitioners work with clearly indicate that they do not currently hold any state licensure.
Practitioners should realize that this protection is afforded when both the Practitioner and Client reside in a state that has adopted the Health Freedom Act. It is incumbent on the practitioner to identify any laws applicable when working with clients from other states.
The rates charged by Ayurvedic counselors and practitioners are determined solely at the discretion of the individual provider. Typically the practitioner considers the demographics of the local client base, competitive prices charged by other providers in their region, as well as their own training and services offered when determining their prices. Depending on the level of care being offered, the type of visit that is held, and the availability of discount packages you may find an individual practitioner to offer services within the following price range.
Ayurvedic Health Counselor:
Initial visit with assessment: a typical range of [$100-150]
Follow-up support: a typical range of [$75-100]
Initial visit with assessment: a typical range of [$150-250]
Follow-up support: a typical range of [$75-125]
Special therapies including detoxification & rejuvenation: [varies]
A CAAM recognized Ayurveda Professional will display a CAAM Logo in their Practice and website. Currently CAAM recognizes two Categories of Practitioners. All other designations are from other organizations or schools of graduations.
1. AHC: Ayurveda Health Counselor. An AHC is trained to accurately evaluate the constitution and the current imbalance and to utilize the best practices to bring the person back into balance. The AHC has responsibly studied diet and lifestyle and can counsel and support their patients to make the necessary changes needed to enjoy optimal health. They will also suggest preventive measures both in diet and lifestyle. AHC is a good place to start your Ayurvedic healing journey.
2. AP: Ayurveda Practitioner. An AP is trained in all the skills necessary for an AHC and has further training in treating symptoms and conditions using Ayurvedic herbs and other therapeutic measures. Advanced therapeutics, beyond preventive care, fall under the scope of practice of an Ayurvedic Practitioners. If the professional uses initials other than AP, these are titles given by the educational institutions they have graduated from. Since the titles are not licenced, CAAM membership is under the broad category of AP. The initials can vary from C.A.S., BAMS, DA etc. BAMS is a title awarded to one who studied Ayurveda in India.
A Visit to an Ayurvedic Practitioner could involve one or many of the following:
Giving your contact information and medical history
Discussing your current diet, lifestyle, and complaints
Assessing your constitution and mental/emotional dosha.
Dietary recommendations to restore balance in the body’s systems
Recommendations for lifestyle tools to offset the daily stress from work and home
Advising the use of herbs to address digestion, elimination, mind, or other symptoms
Recommendations for a health supporting diet & lifestyle
Detox therapies: detoxing from the toxicity of our environment and lifestyle situations.
Rejuvenative therapies to restore health and vitality
Ayurveda recognizes that human health depends on an intricate balance between our body, mental/emotional state, and our consciousness. It is impacted by our interactions with our environment and our relationships with others. It uses education, diet, lifestyle, herbs and both preventive and rejuvenative measures to bring back balance in a natural way to the individual.
The Practitioner supports the individual in applying any recommendations in a way that is affordable, accessible, and adaptable to their life.
Ayurvedic professionals may provide many different types of services.
Initial consultations: This is an office visit in which an Ayurvedic Health Counselor or Practitioner will gather information about and assess the client’s basic constitution, current state of balance/imbalance, the state of the mind and emotions, level of stress, and dietary and lifestyle habits that may be contributing to the client’s imbalance. This will enable the practitioner to devise an effective Ayurvedic protocol for supporting the client’s return to balance.
Follow-up visits: This is an office visit held after an Initial Consultation at which the practitioner will check in on the progress with adoption of the previous recommendations, the current state of the client’s indicators of imbalance, and the effectiveness of any herbal recommendations that have been given. During this visit, the Ayurvedic professional will work with the client to support them to make positive change on their journey towards improved health.
CAAM maintains a database of Ayurvedic Health Counselors and Ayurvedic Professionals in California. You will find those providers here.
You may also check with the websites of Ayurvedic schools where they may maintain a list of their graduates and their contact information. You will find a list of CAAM-affiliated schools here.
If you reside outside of California, you may want to seek out the help of the NAMA website to find a local practitioner.
There are many considerations you may have when finding just the right Ayurvedic professional. Your current state of health, your commitment to change, and your goals in working with a counselor/practitioner all come into consideration when you are making this choice. Any professional will guide you with understanding your current state of health from an Ayurvedic perspective, provide you with recommendations to create optimal health in your life and support you to make lasting change that enables you to reach your goals.
Ayurvedic Health Counselor (AHC): This is the best professional when you seek to cultivate health to prevent any future disease manifestation. They are skilled in assessing and addressing imbalances in digestion, elimination, sleep, energy levels, and the physical/mental/emotional impacts of stress. They recommend dietary and lifestyle modifications to address these imbalances by uprooting the causative factors of imbalance. They may employ culinary herbs for regulation of digestion and some
Ayurvedic herbs and formulas for addressing other imbalances.
Ayurvedic Practitioner (AP): This is the preferred professional when you have moved beyond experience of symptoms to identifiable disease manifestation. Like the AHC above, they are skilled in assessing and addressing imbalances in many body systems. They have further training in identifying and understanding the disease process and how to address both the causative factors and the symptomatic expression of the disease utilizing diet, lifestyle, herbal, and other therapeutic approaches.