These Frequently Asked Questions contain general information only and do not take into account your personal health, fitness or wellbeing circumstances, needs or objectives. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement by Avaana and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare, fitness or wellbeing professional. All site users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their health, fitness and wellbeing questions.
What questions should I ask an Ayurvedic practitioner?
- Why did you become an Ayurvedic practitioner?
- What Ayurvedic credentials or certifications do you have?
- Are you registered with professional naturopathic associations, such as the Australasian Association of Ayurveda Inc?
- How many years have you been practicing Ayurveda?
- What other training and education do you have in Ayurveda?
- How long will our initial consultation take?
- How should I prepare for our first consultation?
- How often do you follow up with your clients? How do you monitor progress?
- Have you had experience treating someone with similar symptoms to my case before?
- What type of Ayurvedic treatments do you use? Which treatments do you believe are most effective?
What is Ayurvedic medicine recommended for?
The primary aim of Ayurveda is to maintain health, reduce stress, and improve wellbeing. Even healthy people may find Ayurveda useful for improving their flexibility, energy, and overall quality of life.
The secondary aim of Ayurveda is to relieve individuals from disease or ailments. These ailments range from acute health problems (like the common cold, cough, and ulcerative colitis) to chronic conditions (such as asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure). It may also reduce stress, cholesterol, pain, and loss of function in people with arthritis and osteoporosis.
What should I expect in my first consultation?
The first consultation with your Ayurveda doctor/practitioner will involve a holistic investigation into your physical and mental health. As a result, it may be lengthier than subsequent sessions and can range from 30 minutes to up to two hours.
This session is an important first step to ensuring that an accurate diagnosis of your condition is made. Many Ayurvedic institutions will ask you to first fill out forms to record your personal details and to outline the primary reason for your visit. You could be asked to fill out these forms prior to your first appointment.
During the first consultation, you can expect an assessment of your physical functions, such as your pulse, breathing, tongue, and eyes to gain insight into the function of your cell, endocrine, cardiac, and digestive systems. This also gives the Ayurvedic specialist the opportunity to assess the function of important organs and can highlight any nutrition deficiencies you may have in your system. The practitioner will also use techniques of touch such as palpation (sparshanam), auscultation (shrvanaa), and percussion or tapping (akotana) during the session. Laboratory testing may also be included. These assessments are essential to verify the current condition of the psychosomatic structure (doshas) of your body according to Ayurveda.
In addition to a physical examination, you can expect to answer detailed questions from the Ayurvedic practitioner to further establish your Ayurvedic constitution (prakriti) and relevant imbalances. These questions will include a discussion of:
- Your symptoms (when they originated and how they have progressed)
- Your medical history, family health history, lifestyle, routines, relationships, dietary habits, food preferences, significant life events, and any other physical or mental difficulties you have experienced in your past.
Since this part of the consultation has a significant influence on your treatment composition, it is best to be as honest and thorough as possible.
At the end of the examination, your Ayurvedic doctor will prescribe you a tailored Ayurvedic treatment according to your natural state and current health condition. This may include a variety of treatments in your daily (dincharya) and seasonal routine (ritucharya). Lastly, your Ayurvedic specialist will confirm the time and date for your follow-up consultation to track your progression and continue your care.
How should I prepare for my first Ayurvedic consultation?
We recommend that you arrive early to your Melbourne Ayurveda practitioner for your first consultation. Give yourself enough travel time to locate the institution, find parking, and relax in the waiting room before your appointment. This may help relieve any additional anxiety you might have in regard to the first session.
Many Ayurvedic institutions will ask you to first fill out forms to record your personal details and to outline the primary reason for your visit. You could be asked to fill out these forms prior to your first appointment.
It is advisable to wear loose and comfortable clothing so that your comfort is maximised and your Ayurvedic practitioner can freely perform a physical examination during your session.
If you are unsure about your familial medical history, it would be a good idea to research this before your session. Feel free to bring any important medical records with you to the appointment.
What sorts of qualifications should an Ayurvedic practitioner have?
Make sure you do your research before you settle on someone to help you. Find a practitioner that is registered, highly recommended, and with several years of experience.
In Australia, Ayurveda is recognised as a bona-fide system of medicine and qualified practitioners of Ayurvedic Medicine are members of professional naturopathic associations. These include the Australasian Association of Ayurveda Inc, Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association, Complementary Medicine Association, Australian Traditional Medicine Society, and Australian Natural Therapy Association. Many Ayurvedic practitioners are qualified with a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from India. In Australia, there are several private colleges that offer professional training courses in Ayurvedic medicine.
We’d recommend that your practitioner has completed the Australian Government approved Certificate in Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consulting (Level 4) or the New Zealand Government approved Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant (Level 5).
Does Ayurveda have any side effects?
Side effects in Ayurveda will depend on the type of treatment you receive. Some Ayurvedic practices have known side effects like many other medical practices are known to.
Herbal medicines may cause side effects, trigger allergic reactions, or interact with any other medications you are taking.
Many Ayurvedic herbal medicines are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). However, products from other countries that are sold over the Internet or brought into Australia from overseas are not subject to the same laws or regulations as those sold in Australia and are therefore considered experimental. No assurance can be given regarding the quality, safety or effectiveness of remedies that have not been approved by the TGA (particularly if they have been imported for personal use). Some of these have been found to contain heavy metals, which may be harmful to your body.
Before buying or taking a complementary medicine, check the label for an ‘AUST L’ (listed) or ‘AUST R’ (registered) code. This means they meet Australian safety standards designed to protect your health.
It is always best to tell your doctor about any complementary health practices that you would like to try, are already using, or are thinking of combining with your conventional medical treatment. Likewise, it is important to disclose any conventional medical treatments or allergies with your Ayurvedic practitioner.
What could an Ayurveda treatment plan involve?
Ayurveda treatment typically starts with an internal purification process, followed by a treatment plan tailored to your constitution, health goals, and the expertise of your Ayurvedic practitioner. Treatments may include:
- Dietary changes
- Herbal medicine, including combining herbs with metals or minerals
- Ayurvedic massage
- Sound therapy
- Panchakarma (detox therapy)
- Acupuncture (some practitioners)
Individualised Ayurvedic herbal remedies can exist in the forms of powders, capsules, and decoctions.
Follow-up visits are commonly used to track your progress and to make any necessary changes to your prescriptions.
Is Ayurveda covered by private healthcare insurance?
Yes, Ayurveda may still be covered by some private healthcare insurance companies in Australia. In April 2019, 17 reviewed natural therapies were excluded from the definition of private health insurance general treatment by the Australian government. These therapies no longer receive private health insurance rebate as part of a general treatment policy. That being said, Ayurvedic medicine was not fully reviewed in this process. Therefore, its fate is still unclear at this stage.
Currently, the Australasian Association of Ayurveda (AAA) lists four private health funds that may currently provide coverage:
- Australian Health Management (AHM)
- Australian Unity
- GU Health
- Medibank Private
If you are planning a treatment for which you anticipate a private health cover, contact your private health insurance company in advance to confirm your benefit entitlement. If they do not, you are still able to access Ayurvedic therapies outside the private health insurance system.
Do I need a doctor’s referral to see an Ayurvedic practitioner?
No referral from your doctor is needed to see an Ayurvedic practitioner. That being said, it is recommended to tell your current conventional health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
How long does an Ayurvedic session typically last?
A typical Ayurvedic session lasts for 30 to 50 minutes. However, the first consultation with your Ayurvedic practitioner can range from 30 minutes to two hours. This is because it involves a holistic and thorough investigation into your physical and mental health.
How often should I see an Ayurveda practitioner?
The frequency of Ayurvedic appointments are typically one month apart. Follow up consultations are used to track your progress, continue your education, and to make any necessary changes or additions to your treatment plan. The time and date of your follow-up will be arranged at the end of each consultation and may vary depending on your condition.
Even if you are perfectly healthy and balanced, your Ayurvedic practitioner may request that you come back to see them once a year, with every season change, or whichever schedule they feel would be best for you.
Can you see an Ayurvedic practitioner when you’re pregnant?
Ayurveda is holistic in nature and therefore makes use of a wide range of treatments. If you’re pregnant or nursing, it is important to consult your (or your child’s) conventional health care provider to discuss the use of Ayurvedic treatments. This is because some Ayurvedic products may contain ingredients that could be harmful and some physical therapies may not be suitable for you. Also, be sure to disclose your pregnancy to your Ayurvedic health practitioner.
Many Ayurvedic herbal medicines are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). However, certain medicines do not come under the control of the TGA and those that are not approved for supply in Australia are considered experimental. No assurance can be given regarding their quality, safety or effectiveness (particularly if they have been imported for personal use).
Some yoga poses and other strenuous exercises are not appropriate during pregnancy.
Ayurvedic massage for pregnancy is safe, if done with caution. Some experts advise no massage during the first trimester of pregnancy and only light Abhyanga (gentle application of warm oil on the body) is considered safe for most women.
Can you see an Ayurvedic professional when recovering from an injury?
Yes, you can visit your Ayurvedic practitioner post-injury. Ayurvedic medicine can be used to reduce inflammation in the body by addressing many factors including stress, individual food intolerances, overstimulation, or a nutrient deficiency. This is used to regulate the heart, circulatory system, and digestive tract which in turn lower levels of inflammation in the body and increases energy and healing.
What could an Ayurveda treatment plan involve?
Ayurveda treatment typically starts with an internal purification process, followed by a special diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation. Individualised Ayurvedic herbal remedies can exist in the forms of powders, capsules, and decoctions.
What does Ayurveda teach?
Ayurveda teaches that everything in the universe (including each person) is made up of the five elements: Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Space. Each individual possesses a unique combination of all of these elements which manifest in three fundamental doshas: vata, pitta and kapha:
- Vata– dosha responsible for movement
- Pitta– dosha responsible for metabolism
- Kapha– dosha responsible for growth and maintenance
All three doshas exist in every person to varying degrees. They define your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states and therefore create your constitution (prakruti).