Why are Ayurvedic doctors not real doctors
Ayurveda - traditional Indian medicine is becoming more and more popular in Germany. Many travel to India specifically for treatment.
Scientific studies prove its effectiveness: Ayurveda can help especially with chronic diseases of the muscles and joints - such as rheumatism or osteoarthritis. The same applies to inflammatory bowel disease and ailments that are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle - from diabetes to exhaustion.
Ayurveda at the Essen University Hospital
The Indian doctor Dr. Syal Kumar studied conventional medicine and Ayurvedic medicine in his home country for eight years, worked there as an Ayurveda doctor for a few years and then came to Germany. Now he heads the Ayurveda department in the Essen clinic. The typical therapy looks like this:
- At the beginning of the therapy, each patient receives herbal medication tailored to their individual case as well as recommendations for nutrition and regular activities such as yoga, tai chi or endurance sports.
- Syal Kumar will re-examine the patient two to four weeks after starting this therapy. Until then, the metabolism was treated first. This outpatient therapy usually lasts a month.
- This is followed by the intensive three to four-week Panchakarma cure - inpatient or in the day clinic. During this time, the patient continues to take herbal medication and additional external treatments. Depending on the diagnosis, this can be different types of massages with medicinal herbal oils, oil pourings, packs or sweating cures.
Activation of the self-healing powers
These treatments alleviate the symptoms and activate the self-healing powers. But they also serve to rid the body of toxic substances that arise as by-products of constant metabolic processes. Although the body naturally excretes most of the harmful substances, some are deposited in the body's tissues and can promote disease.
The medicinal herbs used internally and externally are intended to loosen such harmful substances from the tissues and discharge them via the digestive tract but also via the nose. Herbal preparations for purging, enemas and nasal rinsing help here.
3000 different medicinal plants
Syal Kumar opens one of the metal cupboards in the small, air-conditioned room. In the cupboard compartments there are plastic parcels with different herbal mixtures. Syal Kumar points to the contents of one of the parcels: A Long List of Herbs.
Ayurveda doctors use a total of around 3000 medicinal plants. They use up to 80 different herbs for one treatment. Next to the herb packs are small bottles with oil in brownish tones.
Again, there is a long list of herbs on the label. The oils are standardized. Each oil contains very specific medicinal plants and works with certain symptoms.
Be careful when shopping for Ayurvedic herbs
The fatty acids in the oils serve as a transport vehicle to smuggle the active ingredients into the body through the skin. For forehead oil pourings or oil massages that are offered in wellness hotels, on the other hand, the masseurs often use simple edible oils such as sesame or sunflower oil. Syal Kumar warns that this is not an Ayurvedic treatment and could even be harmful because some people cannot tolerate these oils.
Doctors warn against buying Ayurvedic medicinal herbs or herbal-oil mixtures from any sellers on the Internet. Studies by researchers at Boston University a few years ago showed that some of these products contained high residues of pesticides or heavy metals.
Especially for chronic diseases
The Ayurveda department is part of the Center for Naturopathy at the Essen Clinic. Its head Dr. Thomas Rampp and his colleagues have been working with European naturopathic methods and Chinese medicine for more than 15 years.
Thomas Rampp came up with the idea of studying Ayurveda while traveling in India. He visited Ayurveda clinics and was impressed by the success of the treatment. Finally he tries it out himself and is thrilled.
Thomas Rampp decided to offer Ayurveda in his naturopathic clinic. Especially chronically ill people seek help here, whom conventional medicine can hardly help or only with strong medication.
More quality of life
Natural remedies, which generally mobilize the self-healing powers, often work better. But every naturopathic treatment also has its limits. Ayurveda seems to be a way of expanding this spectrum of activity.
Particularly serious illnesses such as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis - which are still considered incurable today - cannot be cured with Ayurveda. But Ayurveda often leads to an improvement in the patient's symptoms and thus to a better quality of life.
According to the experience of the doctors, Ayurveda often helps even with chronic back pain, intestinal diseases and migraines.
Not every patient needs a complete Panchakarma regimen. If the symptoms have not existed for many years or are less severe, lifestyle changes, medicinal herbs and some external applications can help.
Outpatient Ayurveda in Berlin
The doctors at the Naturopathy Center at Berlin's Immanuel Hospital have specialized in such outpatient Ayurveda therapies. Andreas Michalsen, professor for clinical naturopathy at the Charité and head of the naturopathic clinic, established the Ayurveda department in Berlin.
Ayurveda also piqued his scientific curiosity. The Ayurveda departments in Berlin and Essen are the only ones in Germany that belong to university clinics and in which doctors not only use Ayurveda, but also research it. Ayurveda is based on thousands of years of experience, but until recently was hardly scientifically researched.
Ayurveda means "the knowledge of life" and is based on a differentiated theory. It differentiates between three biological functional principles of the human organism, the "doshas": Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Ayurveda doctors adjust the respective therapy depending on the constitution type.
- Vata controls the nervous system, breathing and all movements in the body.
- Pitta regulates metabolism and digestion.
- Kapha stands for calm, endurance and immune strength. Each person has an individual composition of the three doshas, with one or two doshas often predominating.
If this individual Dosha combination is out of balance, mental disorders and illnesses develop. Which these are depends on which Dosha is disturbed. Ayurveda doctors record these relationships with a detailed anamnesis. In this respect, it is an individualized therapy.
Effect of Ayurveda proven
Some scientific studies now prove the effectiveness of Ayurveda. In certain cases, herbs and spices can be used to achieve effects similar to those of conventional medicinal therapy.
The doctors at the Immanuel Hospital in Berlin are also researching Ayurveda. You have just completed a study with patients with knee osteoarthritis. Result: Ayurveda was more effective than Western medicine. The therapeutic effects on other diseases cannot yet be clearly assessed, says Andreas Michalsen, because the patient groups examined so far are too small.
No coverage by health insurance
Nevertheless, the statutory health insurances do not pay for any of these treatments: The effects have not yet been sufficiently researched.
But because of the increasing interest, the need for therapists is also growing. Corresponding advanced training courses for doctors are now available in India and also in Germany - Syal Kumar, for example, leads such additional training in Essen. But unfortunately not everyone who calls themselves Ayurveda therapist has completed a serious training.
Ayurveda doesn't just help the sick. Ayurveda can also benefit those who want to preserve their health. Regular stress reduction - for example with the help of yoga or mindfulness exercises - and diet are important for this.
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