Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA) Inc.
Why Ayurveda Should Be Regulated and Licensed
Ayurvedic medicine, utilizing the unique mind-body-soul concept, has a time tested significant impact on a person’s overall health and well-being. In the last few years, there has been a heightened interest in ayurvedic medicine globally. In this case the public has a right to expect that ayurvedic professionals have adequate qualifications needed to practice effectively and safely. Therefore, legal recognition of the practice of ayurvedic medicine and clearly-stated requirements to practice are essential to promote the profession and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public.
Most practitioners in the USA & Canada using Ayurveda principles and philosophy in their work as counselors or health coaches operate under an ill-defined area of lifestyle management, nutrition, and health promotion, which is currently not controlled or regulated by any licensing as is allopathic medicine.
1. In the USA & Canada, anyone can promote anything that promotes health. Therefore, it is NOT illegal to recommend that someone rise early, drink hot water, exercise, pranayama (breathing techniques), or follow the cycles of nature and the environment, such as Dinacharya (daily routine) and Ritucharya (seasonal routine).
2. In the USA & Canada, it is also NOT illegal to use or recommend "dietary supplements" which include herbal products. Most Ayurveda herbs fall within the categories of either "dietary supplements," personal care, cosmetics, or food. Therefore, an Ayurveda practitioner can recommend these supplements for health promotion. Use of herbs grown in India is NOT Ayurveda medicine. Use of the herbs, or any substances, according to the principles of balancing the body using doshas, gunas, malas, aam/agni, dhatus, and Ayurveda concepts is Ayurveda treatment.
3. It is ILLEGAL to diagnose, treat, or cure diseases, unless you have a license to practice medicine in the state in which you are practicing. Each state has its own code and restrictions on what the practice of medicine entails. "Medicine" in the USA & Canada currently refers to allopathic and osteopathic modalities and philosophies.
4. Legal recognition of ayurvedic medicine in the form of state licensure creates standards of minimum competency. Competency is measured and enforced through formal education, training, and examination requirements.
5. Legal recognition of ayurvedic medicine ensures that individuals have met the eligibility requirements needed to practice ayurvedic medicine and that they are qualified to represent themselves to the public as state licensed ayurvedic professionals.
6. By providing a legal definition of the scope of practice of ayurvedic medicine, professional licensure helps consumers identify the responsibilities and services unique to an ayurvedic professional. It allows consumers to select the most appropriate ayurvedic professional for their needs and brings the benefit of open access to the selection process.
7. Legal recognition of ayurvedic medicine through licensure protects the public in several ways. It establishes a consistent standard of practice which is enforceable by a professional code of ethics. In addition, it establishes a formal grievance process for consumers that helps prevent unethical and/or non-compliant ayurvedic professionals from continuing to practice.
8. Both education and practice in the USA & Canada are governed by state-based laws. There are no national policies. Therefore, each state determines who can practice healthcare and how. Currently, there are NO states that have licensed Ayurveda as a healthcare profession. There are currently eight (10) US states with "Health Freedom Laws" that allow non-licensed healers to practice their arts providing they do not violate the law of another profession. They are Minnesota, Arizona, California, Colorado, Rhode Island, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Nevada and New Mexico. To learn more, and for the most up-to-date information, visit National Health Freedom Action www.nationalhealthfreedom.org.
9. Ayurveda physicians (doctors) extensively educated and trained in India receive the degree full time 5 years & 6 months training, BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery) and are licensed to practice Ayurveda Medicine in India. When they specialize their field of expertise, they receive the 3-year degree MD (Ayu) / MS (Ayu) - Doctor of Medicine in Ayurveda. Their curriculum is guided by the C.C.I.M. (Central Council of Indian Medicine) and Government of India - Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy) in India.