helping Ayurveda education grow
Council for Ayurveda Credentialing
For most health professions, the 'grandfathering process" is created alongside new standards or regulations and allow existing practitioners to practice with a different set of criteria, exempting them from standards that did not exist when they were trained.
The USA will most probably develop a set of "grandfather" rules when regulations are made, giving rights to practice to those with proof of competence in clinical settings, once it is determined that the government agrees that there are no safety concerns to patients.
The levels of training with greater clinical experience and lesser safety concerns to paitents will likely be approved for registration or licensure sooner.
Guidelines for Ayurveda Education
To unify needed standards for Ayurvedic education in programs outside India,
the CAC is developing a set of guidelines for training programs in Ayurveda.
We hope these guidelines will be examined and adapted by any program in the global community, especially in the Americas and Europe. The CAC has specifically invited education experts from around the globe to work together to ensure that the recommendations are adaptable and of quality standard for the safety and efficacy of patients who come to Ayurvedic practitioners.
These guidelines include specific recommendations for content of training programs, scope of practice, competence, and how to assess such issues in graduates.
The CAC has developed a resource list of Ayurvedic tools for education, soon to be released. The CAC has developed an application for graduates seeking a national certification. We have also begun the process of creating national competence examinations. The CAC is developing needed guidelines for teachers of Ayurveda. The CAC has created a referral checklist so that you can determine whether a practitioner/counselor/doctor or any expert in Ayurveda is really able to provide the education and counseling you seek.
Thank you for your interest in Ayurveda education.
Please consider supporting our work by adding your name to our list of endorsers on the home page.
Please send your feedback on the developed guidelines to cAyurvedac@gmail.com
There is considerable disagreement in the global Ayurvedic community about the definition of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. The CAC has therefore developed guidelines for education after deep consideration of the following issues.
This is how they apply to Ayurveda in the USA:
1. The vast majority of students graduating from private Ayurveda educational programs in the USA have completed approximately 500 hours of guided training. This includes at least 200 hours of in-class instruction and at least 100 hours of self-study. Therefore, the CAC is first developing a full set of practice guidelines for the Ayurvedic practitioner with 500 hours of training.
2. The CAC has proposed a Scope of Practice for graduates with 500 hours of Ayurveda training. Please send your feedback to email@example.com.
3. A higher level of training in the USA is under development. Bastyr University has recently announced their development of a 3500-hour course of education in ayurveda for students with a concurrent training or license in the health professions. In addition, several schools have programs that teach up to 3000 hours of training and offer academic degrees.
4. Since 2003, the NAMA Standards Committee in the USA has been developing a set of guidelines for their members in several categories of training in the USA. It is anticipated that they will release them when they are completed.
5. Most students trained in Ayurveda in the USA have little clinical experience, as Ayurveda is not licensed as a clinical discipline. The eight "Health Freedom Act" states allow some level of practice. Many students seek out clinical training opportunities in India, and some complete apprenticeships privately with Ayurvedic physicians in the USA.
Scope of Practice for an Ayurvedic Educator – LEVEL 1
with 500 hours of Ayurveda Training - developed 2/2/2012
Ayurvedic Educators practice self-healing, and guide individuals and groups through educational seminars on the traditional principles and practices of the Ayurvedic way of life. Their scope of practice emphasizes education on prevention of imbalances and the promotion of wellness on all levels of being, using the life-enhancing modalities and philosophy of Ayurveda. Approaches include appropriate dietary, lifestyle, yoga, meditation, and health- promoting herbal recommendations.
Ayurvedic Educators design preventive health routines for themselves, the client and audiences, according to Ayurvedic principles. Assessment tools used by Ayurvedic Educators enable them to determine the Prakriti of an individual’s body and mind; and the balanced and unbalanced states of the doshas, ama/agni, dhatus, and malas.
Ayurvedic Educators are the ideal Ayurvedic practitioner to visit if a person wants a regular coach to guide him/her through a general wellness routine. Ayurvedic Educators do not practice conventional medicine. They do not diagnose or treat diseases.
Training Programs in the USA today
Approximately 50 training programs educate on Ayurveda in the USA today.
Many Ayurveda schools in the USA train students using the structure of one weekend a month for a year-long course. This represents approximately 12 weekend sessions, comprised of 15-20 hours of training each weekend, and 200 hours of classroom training. In addition, there are supplemental activities, seminars, practicums, self-care, home study, and projects.
Most schools use a variety of modern and ancient educational tools. There is currently no prescribed syllabus, and no standard course reading.
Please see the Educational Resources tab at www.acharjya.com for additional information on schools around the world with training programs.
Gray Zones: Understanding the USA Regulations related to Ayurveda
Most practitioners in the USA using Ayurvedic principles and philosophy in their work as counselors or guides operate under an ill-defined area of lifestyle management, nutrition, and health promotion, which is currently not under license control the way that practice of medicine is.
1. Anyone can promote anything that is health-promoting, in the USA. Therefore, it is NOT illegal to recommend that someone rise early, drink hot water, exercise, breathe deeply, or flow the flows of nature and the environment.
2. In the USA, it is also NOT illegal to use or recommend "dietary supplements" which include herbal products. Most Ayurvedic herbs fall within the categories of either "dietary supplements," personal care, cosmetics, or food. Therefore, an Ayurvedic expert can recommend these things for health promotion. Use of herbs grown in India is NOT ayurvedic medicine. Use of the herbs, or any substances, according to the principles of balancing the body using doshas, gunas, malas, aam/agni, dhatus, and Ayurvedic concepts is Ayurvedic treatment.
3. It is ILLEGAL to diagnose, treat, or cure diseases, unless you have a license to practice medicine in the state of the USA in which you are practicing. Each state has its own code and restrictions on what the practice of medicine entails. "Medicine" in the USA currently refers to allopathic and osteopathic modalities and philosophies.
4. Both education and practice in the USA 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 eight (8) 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, Rhode Island, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. To learn more go to National Health Freedom Action.
5. If anyone tells you in the USA, that s/he is "licensed to practice ayurveda," that person is misleading you. The person may be using Ayurvedic principles and philosophy within the practice of another licensed or certified profession, but there is no license to practice Ayurvedic Medicine in the USA.
6. There is currently no board of specialists in Ayurveda who nationally certify a person's training and credentials to assure competence. There are no national exams. There are no nationally-accepted standards for scope of practice, competence, or assurance. There are organizations such as NAMA and AAPNA that provide a fee-based registration service for practitioners to self report their credentials and be recognized for their training. Several groups exist that provide support to the Ayurvedic community in the USA.
7. There is need for a reliable listing of Ayurvedic physicians worldwide outside of India, and especially in North America. This would be an excellent community-organizing project of global ayurveda.
8. Ayurvedic physicians educated and trained in India receive the degree BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) and are licensed to practice Ayurvedic Medicine in India. When they specialize their field of expertise, they receive the degree MD (Ayu) - Doctor of Medicine in Ayurveda. Their curriculum is guided by the CCIM in India.
9. To hear a live discussion on the topic of Licensing Ayurveda in the USA, please visit http://aapna.org/conferencecalls.php and download the slides for talk #73. You may listen to the recording of the lecture by dialing the AAPNA conference call archives, +1 712-451-6300, Access code: 656037#, then 41#.
Scope of Practice for an Ayurvedic Practitioner – LEVEL 2
with approx. 500+1000 hours of Ayurveda Training - developed 3/7/2012
Ayurvedic Practitioners provide guidance to individuals with imbalances. They construct health interventions through the traditional principles and practices of the Ayurvedic way of life. Their scope of practice emphasizes education on imbalances and on regaining wellness on all levels of being, using the modalities and philosophy of Ayurveda. They have completed the 500 hours of training as basic Ayurvedic Educators, and also have an additional 1000 hours of theory and practice in critical thinking about pathophysiology and imbalances of the body. They utilize ipersonalized diets, lifestyle coaching, yoga and meditation instruction, and the use of herbs and oils using an Ayurvedic approach.
Assessment tools used by Ayurvedic Practitioners enable them to determine the Vikriti (imbalances) of an individual’s body and mind; they work to realign unbalanced states of the doshas, ama/agni, dhatus, and malas. They have formal educational training as a BA/BS, and have developed critical thinking skills over several years of training and evaluation from Ayurvedic experts.
Ayurvedic Practitioners are the ideal Ayurvedic practitioner to visit to design tailored health routines and coach the client according to Ayurvedic principles. Ayurvedic Practitioners do not practice conventional medicine. They do not diagnose or treat diseases.
The CAC has developed DRAFTs of suggested Lesson Plans for
500-hour Ayurvedic Training Programs as an Ayurvedic Educator.
Each Lesson Plan also contains skills and competencies gained from completing the module.
These topics have been compiled by experts with extensive curriculum development experience. Rather than adopt a system-based allopathic model of education, the Lessons focus on templates created by the CCIM in India for modern Ayurveda education and adapted to practical, adaptable usage in the modern world.
Please review these documents and send your approval, input and/or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for helping our efforts!
Scope of Practice for an Ayurvedic Therapist - LEVEL 1A
with 500+500 hours of Ayurveda Training - revised 6/25/12
Ayurvedic Therapists are hands-on practitioners specialized to work in a focused modality of Ayurveda, such as Panchakarma, Nutrition, Yoga Therapy, or Herbalism/Ayurvedic Pharmacy. They function as assistants in the care of an individual, like Physician Assistants, Massage Therapists, or Physical Therapists in the USA, according to a plan set up by an Ayurvedic Practitioner or Ayurvedic Doctor. They have completed the 500 hours of training as basic Ayurvedic Educators, but have at least another 500 hours of theory and practice/hands-on experience specializing in the modality they practice. At this time, they are also encouraged to independently acquire the necessary health professional license or certification in their state, such as RN, RPh, eRYT, LMT, or RD. They are not yet developed in critical thinking on the theory of health intervention for imbalances.
Ayurvedic Therapists are the ideal Ayurvedic practitioner to visit if a person is recommended for treatment using a particular modality of Ayurveda, such as panchakarma, nutrition, yoga therapy, or herbal treatments. Ayurvedic Therapists do not practice conventional medicine. They do not diagnose or treat diseases.
Scope of Practice for an Ayurvedic Doctor - LEVEL 3
with approx. 500+1000+3000=4500 hours of Ayurveda Training - revised 7/16/2012
Ayurvedic Doctors provide in-depth guidance to individuals with imbalances using the modalities and philosophy of Ayurveda. Their scope of practice includes constructing health interventions and providing education about imbalances using the traditional principles and practices of the Ayurvedic way of life. Ayurvedic Doctors understand pathophysiology and are able to work alongside modern medical practitioners. They have formal education at a college bachelor level, and have developed critical thinking skills over several additional years of training and evaluation in clinical Ayurveda. They have completed the 500 hours of training as basic Ayurvedic Educators, an additional 1000 hours of theory and practice in critical thinking about pathophysiology and imbalances of the body, and then an additional 3000 hours of theory and clinical experience for understanding how to manage imbalances. They are able to manage diseases, and understand the USA-based laws needed to adapt their practice to providing care legally using only the modalities available in their locale.
Individuals trained as Ayurvedic Doctors will be competent to perform comprehensive assessment of health and disease of both body and mind, including both pulse diagnosis and tongue diagnosis. Based on their assessment, they are able to structure, plan, and administer herbal formulations, personalized diet, lifestyle modification, yoga, meditation, and panchakarma. They also have tools to understand imbalanced states of mind, and are able to use various modalities to guide rebalance. They are advanced clinicians, with more diagnostic and treatment experience than Ayurvedic Practitioners.
Ayurvedic Doctors are the ideal practitioners to visit for individuals seeking advanced, tailored Ayurvedic regimens alongside treatments by their primary medical provider. Ayurvedic Doctors do not practice conventional medicine, according to the USA-based laws. They do not diagnose or treat diseases based on modern medicine practice.
Scope of Practice for an Ayurvedic Doctorate - LEVEL 4
with 10,000+ hours of Ayurveda Training – DRAFT 8/19/12
The Ayurvedic Doctorate is the highest level of academic education in Ayurvedic Medicine. Doctorates in Ayurvedic medicine are previously trained as clinical doctors in Ayurveda, with additional training in research. In addition to Ayurvedic Doctor training at Level 3, or a BAMS, the scholar has a formal MD or PhD in Ayurveda, in which s/he has completed an in-depth curriculum and become expert in the development of new information about the science of Ayurveda. They are able to present and evaluate the current knowledge base of Ayurveda. They have the ability to compare and contrast clinical findings with present research methods and publish data in conventional journals and at conferences.
Ayurvedic Doctorates are specialists in the Ayurvedic medical system of thought and practice and are not authorized to practice conventional medicine. They have learned the USA-based laws needed to adapt their research and practice to providing care legally in the USA using only the modalities available in their locale.
National Examination Process – coming soon
The credentialing process in most health professions requires a multi-component process that verifies and cross-checks a person's academic education and training, other forms of education, character, the psychological readiness, the academic aptitude, the critical thinking capacity, interactive skills, and the practical aspects of working as a Practitioner.
The national examination process that is proposed will be flexible and mulit-tiered to allow for the variety of trainings and levels that Ayurvedic practitioners have today.
Components will include -
Academic Study & Proof of Aptitude
Commmunications and Counseling/Coaching/Consultation Skills
Written Exam/ Oral Exam
The grandfathering process will allow senior practitioners to complete the examination process with aptitude assessment done via case-based skills assessment, chart summaries, and character references.
Council for Ayurveda Credentialing ® 2011-2015.
Self-Study on Ayurvedic Education and Credentialing work
In our commitment to moving Ayurvedic education forward, we encourage you to read about issues related to Ayurvedic education and standards for credentialing in the USA. We have gathered some background reading and provide these documents and links in goodwill for your edification and awareness about our amazing Ayurveda community. If you have questions, please write to us.
1. Self-Study on Scope of Practice - added 8/13/12
Several websites offer well-written pieces on Scope of Practice (SOP) in health professions in the USA. Here are some links to open-source documents that will help you to understand the relevant issues as they relate to Ayurveda.
2. Self-Study on Health Profession Licensure - added 8/27/12
A good overview on Credentialing of CAM Providers in the USA can be found on the NCCAM website -
Health Freedom Laws
Global Work on Ayurvedic Education
Several groups have tried to set standards for Ayurvedic education. Some components are relevant to USA-based evolution of Ayurveda.
The WHO met for years and created a compendium of guidelines for education of Ayurveda outside India's CCIM-mandated syllabus. Most relevant to the USA-based programs is Table 6 (core syllabus 250 hours).
The Department of AYUSH, Government of India created a guidelines document for education of Ayurveda. Most relevant to USA-based programs is Annexure 7, p18.
call 1 - August 22, 2012 LINK
Theme: Scopes of Practice
call 2 - September 5, 2012
Theme: Credentialing vs. Licensure of the Ayurvedic Profession
call 3 - October 2012