Popularising Ayurveda in Germany
Updated: May 21, 2019
Online edition of India's National Newspaper, Tuesday, Aug 10, 2004
The doctor talks to Radhakrishnan Kuttoor about the prospects of Ayurveda in Germany
THE MUSHROOMING massage centres under the guise of Ayurveda have been earning a bad name for this age-old system of Indian medicine in Germany and other Western countries, according to E.P.Jeevan, consultant physician and teacher in Ayurveda in Germany.
In an exclusive interview to The Hindu , Dr. Jeevan from Vadakara, who has been running an Ayurvedic health care centre at Nuremberg in Germany, says that Ayurveda is yet to be a recognised branch of medicine in Germany.
According to him, Germans can practice Ayurveda provided they are either `Heilpraktikers' who have passed an examination to practice other alternative systems of medicine like Homoeopathy, herbal medicine, bach flower remedies, acupuncture, Ayurveda, etc., or they have a degree in modern medicine and are trained in Germany. Such persons can practice any system of medicine for the benefit of their patients.
An Indian doctor, whether qualified in modern medicine or Ayurveda, are not allowed to practice in Germany before undergoing a few semesters of study at a German medical university, says Dr. Jeevan. Or else, the he must undergo a Heilprakticker course to practice Ayurveda in Germany.
``In spite of all the rules and regulations, Indians, Sri Lankans, and Germans who are not qualified in any of the medical streams have been practicing Ayurveda in Germany. A good number of them are engineers, businessmen, yoga teachers, spiritual masters, etc. They make money by running Aurvedic massage centres, Ayurvedic cooking centres and work as diet counsellors, pulse readers and even as Ayrvedic cosmeticians, giving rise to the popular notion that Ayurveda is a mere massage system, a cosmetic system, a religion or sect,'' laments Dr. Jeevan.
``Going to India for a Panchakarma treatment, sitting on the beaches of Goa or Kovalam, visiting some spiritual centres or ashrams, etc., will not make Ayurvedic practitioners. But, unfortunately, this is what most of the German people, who do not have any medical background, follows nowadays.''
Dr. Jeevan stressed the need for strict regulation of Auyurveda-related courses at tourist places.
According to him, Germany has got a great herbal tradition with real knowledge about potency, taste, properties, etc. Germans believe that they got this tradition from the gypsies who came from the Indian sub-continent in the days of yore.
Dr Jeevan is married to Heike alias Hyma, a German whom he met while working as a teacher at an Ayurvedic college in Coimbatore.
Recently, Dr Jeevan was at the Sudarshanam Netra Chikitsalayam in Thiruvalla to collect details on native ophthalmology from the noted Ayurvedic ophthalmologist, B.G.Gokulan, as part of his project to prepare a modern database on Ayuvedic treatment.
He also stresses the need to retain the traditional values and principles of Ayurveda by imparting this knowledge to the West. Any misuse of Ayurveda should be checked and the Government should launch a distance education programme in Ayurveda and ensure recognition for the same by the German Government, he added.
Dr. Jeevan says that educating the medical practitioners of Germany is the best way for Ayurveda to be accepted as a system of medicine in the West. The Government should launch an awareness programme on Ayurveda for the public as well as the medical practitioners in Germany.
``There should be a body that can represent Ayurveda in the European Health Ministry, besides a council where Ayurvedic practitioners can register,'' says Dr. Jeevan.