Our Academy and European Ayurveda Congress 2024

Ayurveda Conference in Berlin

On January 20, 2024, Berlin hosted a significant Ayurveda conference centered around the theme of “Ayurveda Education and an Integrated Health Model.” This gathering proved instrumental in highlighting the dynamism within the Ayurveda field, particularly in Berlin, where noteworthy developments are taking place.

In particular, a distinguished hospital in the city has been at the forefront of clinical research on Ayurveda and rheumatism for an impressive 15 years, led by the esteemed Dr. Christian Kessler. The outcomes of this research have been documented in leading medical scientific journals, showcasing positive findings that underscore the efficacy of Ayurvedic interventions. With a primary focus on nutrition and lifestyle, this research has progressively evolved to incorporate more targeted medicinal approaches, recognizing the necessity of multi-modality treatment for effective outcomes in addressing chronic diseases.

This commitment to a multi-faceted approach is a cornerstone of modern Ayurveda education. The emphasis is not only on the traditional practitioner model but extends to collaborative integration with other medical systems, enhancing the potential for holistic client/patient care. The active pursuit of collaboration not only enriches the practitioner’s skill set but also expands professional opportunities, ranging from traditional one-on-one practices to roles as nutrition and lifestyle consultants for commercial entities or collaborations with insurance companies to mitigate collective health costs through preventative measures.

Our academy faculty Dr. Rao speaking at this conference

Dr. Alaknanda Rao, a respected faculty member at the Ayurveda Academy in the Netherlands, shared insights during the conference on the evolving practice of Ayurveda in Europe. Her contribution, along with that of other speakers, added depth to the discussions surrounding the development of Ayurveda practices in the European context.

Simultaneously, Coen van der Kroon, the program director of our academy, engaged in various networking activities during the conference. Berlin’s Ayurveda scene, particularly the hospital led by Dr. Christian Kessler, emerged as a vibrant hub for clinical research. The positive publications resulting from this research highlight the significance of nutrition and lifestyle considerations, gradually incorporating more targeted medicinal interventions—a reflection of the indispensable multi-modality approach crucial for managing chronic diseases.

The conference venue, the Indian Embassy in Berlin, served as a fitting backdrop to discussions regarding the collaboration of different systems of medicine. The ambassador emphasized the World Health Organization’s recent establishment of an institute in Gujarat, India, to support traditional health systems, citing Ayurveda as a notable example of an effective traditional health system. The need for Ayurveda to transition from being primarily perceived as a wellness system in the West to being acknowledged for its potential in effective medical interventions was underscored. The ambassador advocated for a shift toward “Public Health Delivery,” positioning Ayurveda as a key player in addressing contemporary health challenges.

German Association of Ayurvedic Physicians of India

Dr. Sandeep Nair, an organizer of the conference and a member of the German Association of Ayurvedic Physicians of India (IFAD), brought valuable insights into the integration of Ayurvedic and Western medicine. Drawing from decades of experience in a German hospital treating Parkinson’s patients with a combination of both modalities, Dr. Nair highlighted the crucial role of nutrition and lifestyle interventions alongside medicinal treatments. This successful integration arose from a necessity, addressing the optimal treatment of Parkinson’s patients comprehensively.

Dr. Nair coined the term “Necessity is the mother of new inventions,” emphasizing the strong societal demand for integrated healthcare solutions. This demand is also acknowledged in modern Ayurveda education in the Netherlands, where students are not only immersed in Ayurvedic principles but are also trained in the integration of multiple medical systems. The goal is to equip future practitioners to navigate the diverse challenges presented by modern pathological and societal complexities.

The longstanding Ayurvedic understanding of the interplay between nutrition, behavior, and health has gained increased recognition in contemporary medicine. Modern physicians are increasingly acknowledging the pivotal role of nutrition and behavior, not just in individual health improvement but also as key factors in collective societal health. Behavioral changes, though challenging, are deemed essential, offering significant preventive benefits both in terms of individual health and the escalating societal health costs.

Ayurveda education and better health perspectives

Education plays a central role in fostering this understanding, guiding students in discerning what constitutes ‘truly healthy food’ and how it can be personalized for optimal health outcomes. Additionally, the focus extends to supporting positive behavior changes, often through gradual, step-by-step approaches. Ayurveda, with its intelligent ‘bio-engineering’ concepts and practices, offers valuable insights into personalized nutrition, emphasizing local dietary considerations and delving into the intricacies of digestive systems and the microbiome.

The holistic approach of Ayurveda encompasses a comprehensive scientific system with its own paradigms, yet it is not exclusive. The integration of Ayurveda with other sciences is encouraged, especially when centered around the well-being and healing process of the patient. This approach, characterized by integration, simultaneous use of multiple modalities, and an individualized contextual approach, forms the essence of Ayurveda. By moving away from an isolated evidence-based approach, a more focused and realistic understanding of the effectiveness of Ayurvedic treatments, whether standalone or in combination with other medical systems, can be achieved. This modern approach to Ayurveda is a subject integrated into Western Ayurveda education, enriching students’ perspectives and expanding their future professional horizons.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the European Ayurveda Congress 2024 served as a comprehensive platform for exploring the current landscape and future possibilities within the field of Ayurveda. The discussions and insights shared by prominent speakers, including Dr. Alaknanda Rao and Dr. Sandeep Nair, underscored the evolving nature of Ayurvedic practices in Europe and the critical role of education in shaping a new generation of practitioners equipped to address the complexities of modern healthcare. The emphasis on integration, multi-modality treatment, and personalized approaches highlighted the adaptability of Ayurveda in meeting the diverse health challenges of the contemporary world.