Scope of Practice: Ayurvedic Doctor

SCOPES OF PRACTICE: Level I AWCLevel II AWPLevel III ADPanchakarma Technician

 

The scope of practice for graduates of our level III Ayurvedic Doctor (AD) certification program is determined by the standards set by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association.

The AD program is designed to train professionals of the highest caliber in Ayurveda for accomplishing the two goals of Ayurveda—Swasthasya Swasthya Rakshanam: to preserve the health of a healthy person, and Aturasya Vikara Prashamanam: to heal the imbalances of the sick. Students will gain the advanced Ayurvedic tools necessary to support healing of imbalances in the human mind-body systems and prevent future disease. These tools include a comprehensive nutritional education (Ahara), daily routines and practices to maximize health (Vihar), a clear understanding of the mind and thought processes (Vichara), plus their relationship to well-being, herbs and herbal formulation to facilitate healing, and personalized Ayurvedic detox and rejuvenation (Panchakarma and Rasayana) protocol.

The unique feature of this program is the specialty track to enable our Ayurvedic Doctors to specialize in their chosen clinical area of passion. Upon successful completion of the AD course you will be awarded an Ayurvedic Doctor Certificate.

 

Ayurvedic Doctors can:

  • Analyze mind-body constitution.
  • Do history taking.
  • Assess the imbalances of Agni, Dosha, and Strotas based on the Ayurvedic Principles.
  • Suggest food and lifestyle changes based on the Ayurvedic Constitution (Prakriti) and various imbalances in the mind/body systems (Vikriti).
  • Suggest Ayurvedic herbs, spices and Ayurvedic herbal supplements based on the Ayurvedic Constitution (Prakriti) and various imbalances in the mind/body systems (Vikriti).
  • Suggest Ayurvedic bodywork techniques based on the Ayurvedic Constitution (Prakriti) and
    various imbalances in the mind/body systems (Vikriti).
  • Explain about Ayurvedic concepts (related to Prakriti, Vikriti, qualities, etc.).
  • Explain the connection between Body and Mind and how diet and lifestyle, meditation, Pranayama, Ayurvedic herbs, Ayurvedic bodywork techniques and Yoga can help manage many
    physical, mental and emotional problems.
  • Offer talks/write articles on various concepts on Ayurveda.
  • Offer simple Ayurvedic bodywork techniques based on the Ayurvedic Constitution (Prakriti) and
    various imbalances in the mind/body systems (Vikriti).
  • Offer cooking classes giving simple cooking tips.

 

Ayurvedic Doctors cannot:

    • Diagnose diseases.
    • Treat diseases.
    • Prescribe treatments or medicines.
    • Perform Panchakarma (unless allowed in your scope of practice under other licensing).

 

Comparing the level II Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner and level III Ayurvedic Doctor scope of practice

The general scope of practice of the Ayurvedic Doctor is similar to the Practitioner, though Ayurvedic Doctors possess more extensive, in-depth education and relevant clinical experience in Ashtanga Ayurveda—all eight branches of Ayurvedic medicine. Additionally, they have more experience in teaching, demonstrations, practical Panchakarma training and research methods.

Ayurvedic Doctors understand disease from an Ayurvedic perspective, while possessing a working knowledge of Western medical pathology, pharmacology, diagnostic reports, and treatments, in order to interface with the Western medical community and modify the Ayurvedic management of cases accordingly. They are not required to order Western diagnostic tests and do not prescribe Western medicines. Ayurvedic Doctors have an informed awareness of public health and epidemiology (Janapadoddhvamsa) from the Western and Ayurvedic scope of practice for the Ayurvedic profession. They are informed consumers of research pertaining to the Ayurvedic field, and are able to evaluate, discuss, and apply contemporary research within the context of Ayurvedic knowledge. As the most highly skilled professionals in their industry, they are able to make significant contributions to the profession such as participating in research, review articles, conferences, teaching, or presentation of case studies.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Practice of Ayurveda in the U.S.

Our three levels of professional certification at Kerala Ayurveda Academy are aligned with the professional membership levels and their competencies set forth by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA).

1. Level I Ayurvedic Wellness Counselors (or AHC - NAMA) focus on guiding clients with Ayurvedic lifestyle techniques for disease prevention. For more detail, please see the complete Scope of Practice: Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor.

2. Level II Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioners (or AP - NAMA) are trained with the additional skill set of disease management for handling more advanced conditions; their scope of practice involves more diverse assessment tools and the ability to map complex imbalances and their treatment protocol. Practitioners also possess a more extensive knowledge of herbs, Ayurvedic formulations and Panchakarma therapies to recommend clients. For more detail, please see the complete Scope of Practice: Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner.

3. Level II Ayurvedic Doctors (AD) use the same assessment and protocol development skills as Practitioners, though with richer clinical training, deeper knowledge and a higher awareness of contemporary medical research and conditions. For more detail, please see the complete Scope of Practice: Ayurvedic Wellness Doctor.
In the U.S., Ayurvedic professionals are certified at three levels according to the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) - see above question. Our Panchakarma Technician (PKT) certification can be taken on its own or as an add-on to the primary three levels of Ayurvedic practice. Our PKT certification's primary purpose is to provide education and hands-on training in the traditional Ayurvedic bodywork methodologies, going into more detail than the level I, II and III Counselor, Practitioner and Doctor certifications. The primary role of a Panchakarma Technician is to implement and perform the Panchakarma therapies. Depending on the Panchakarma Tehcnician's other certifications in Ayurveda, the scope of practice will vary in terms of breadth and the ability to design Panchakarma programs. As with general Ayurvedic practice, Panchakarma must be performed in compliance with local and state guidelines. For more detail, please see the complete Scope of Practice: Panchakarma Technician.
The level I Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor (AWC) program will provide you with enough training to setup a private practice as an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, and the last weekend intensive will cover the business of running a practice. You can also use your Ayurvedic knowledge base to supplement an existing healing practice or help you create a niche in any industry. If you plan to work as a health practitioner, you can run your own business, or align with existing businesses, such as integrative health centers, alternative health practices and yoga studios. Our team is always happy to answer your questions to help you plan your professional future.
Possibly, depending on your location and how you wish to practice. A license to touch refers to regulations for professions which involve physical contact with clients. These regulations are governed by each individual state in the U.S. Panchakarma involves a variety of bodywork therapies, some of which involve physical contact and some which do not. It is important for the student to check in with local state guidelines to understand which aspects of Panchakarma are compliant and which are not, and either adjust one’s practice accordingly, or pursue the required licensure.
Shamana includes therapies to balance the mind-body system energetics, or Doshas, without internal cleansing. All Panchakarma techniques which do not involve internal cleansing are called Shamana therapies, including various types of external oil applications e.g. Shirodhara, Kati Vasti, Udvarthana. Shodhana includes therapies for deep internal cleansing, requiring clinical knowledge of the disease process and body systems. In additional to individual U.S. state regulations, an individual’s training level in general Ayurvedic wellness will determine the scope of practice. In the U.S., Ayurvedic professionals are certified at three levels according to the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA): level I Ayurvedic Health Counselor (AHC) equivalent to KAA’s Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor (AWC); level II Ayurvedic Practitioner (AP) equivalent to KAA’s Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner (AWP) and level III Ayurvedic Doctor (AD). The Panchakarma Technician (PKT) certification can be taken on its own or as an add-on to the primary three levels of Ayurvedic practice. As Panchakarma Technicians, all graduates of this program are qualified to design and implement Panchakarma plans including all Shamana therapies (abiding by local state regulations). To design and implement a Panchakarma plan including both Shamana and Shodhana, a level II or III Ayurvedic Practitioner or Ayurvedic Doctor is required for conducting a clinical assessment. The Ayurvedic Practitioner or Ayurvedic Doctor is capable of mapping the Samprapti, or disease process for the individual client, for customizing the Shodhana therapies. With this plan, the Panchakarma Technician may support, assist and perform the Shodhana procedures under the guidance of the Ayurvedic Practitioner or Ayurvedic Doctor (abiding by local state regulations).
Ayurveda is currently unlicensed in the U.S., which means the practice as a whole is not governed by the U.S.; instead, aspects of Ayurvedic practice are indirectly regulated by each state. Ayurveda is legal to practice, so long as practitioners are following their local state guidelines.
No. Ayurvedic practitioners are not licensed in the United States, and its practice is not regulated by state or federal agencies. Standards of competency are set by individual schools that have received state approval. Ayurvedic practitioners in the United States are advised on how to practice legally within a limited scope of practice so they are not viewed as practicing medicine without a license.

We might say that Ayurveda’s current status in the U.S. is analogous to the Chinese medical profession during its early years in the 1970s. While each state does not regulate the practice of Ayurvedic medicine itself, some aspects of Ayurvedic practice may fall within the scope of professions that are regulated. Students and graduates of the academy should be careful not to allow their practice to overlap one of those regulated professions unless they are licensed in that particular profession. Please contact your local state representative for more information about regulations in your area.
A bill has been passed in 11 states (California, Nevada, Maine, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Idaho, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico) allowing the residents of those states to approach non-licensed healing practitioners with informed consent.
Yes, Ayurveda is currently practiced all over the United States.

While none of the U.S. states currently have Ayurvedic practitioners or physicians as primary care physicians, many of these well-trained professionals utilize their education and skills in combination with other healthcare related credentials.

Yoga Instructors, Massage Therapists, Registered Nurses, Nutritionists/Dietitians, Acupuncturists, Chiropractors, Medical Doctors and other healthcare professionals are recognizing and utilizing the benefits of educational training in Ayurveda.

The National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA) is currently working on developing educational standards, scope of practice, and related materials to support future licensing initiatives throughout the US.

Many Academy graduates use their Ayurvedic education to enhance pre-existing professional careers.
All of our graduates are able to practice Ayurveda in their everyday lives for personal health. An understanding of Ayurvedic principles enriches the quality of life in all aspects, not just physical well-being. The study of Ayurveda is truly a healing transformation during which students find a new level of emotional, mental and spiritual wellness. Additionally, graduates often change career paths or discover novel ways to apply their new Ayurvedic knowledge to their existing profession.

There are many ways our students utilize their Ayurvedic education. Some of our students launch a practice as Ayurvedic Counselors or Practitioners.

Many of our graduates incorporate Ayurvedic knowledge in their current practice as healers, such physicians, nurses, yoga teachers and massage therapists. Ayurveda complements all other healing modalities.

Some of our graduates launch Ayurvedic product lines or combine Ayurveda with their existing business.