Ayurveda in Germany: the science of healthy living in the land of ideas

Four years of working experience in Germany as an Ayurveda research staff does not give complete power to write an article on such an important topic. Nevertheless, based on this short experience I just want to throw light on the present situation of the science of healthy living in the land of ideas. We can feel the growing popularity of Ayurveda globally apart from Tourism as an Alternative method, a part of Complementary Medicine or as a support in Integration of Medical systems. “Complementary medicine,” “Alternative medicine,” “Integrative medicine”—we have all seen these terms, but what do they really mean? While the terms are often used to mean an array of health care approaches with a history of use or origins outside the mainstream medicine (Conventional Medicine). “Complementary” generally refers to using Ayurveda approach together with conventional medicine. “Alternative” refers to using Ayurveda approach in place of conventional medicine.

Unfortunately, Integration and Complementary medicine are referred to the same thing. But the word meaning of Integration has a little more depth. Integration can also be done with respect to Basic Principles of sciences, Diet and Dietary Habits. There are many chronic degenerative diseases with an idiopathic aetiology (Unknown cause). Years have passed and various researches are still being done in many ways to find out the actual cause for what we state as Idiopathic. In Ayurveda Science, there are three main reasons, which are said to be the root cause for all the diseases. These three causes are Asathmendriyartha Samyoga (Heterogeneous or inappropriate correlation of the senses with the sense objects), Pranjaparadha (Misconduct or improper use of the Intelligence), Parinama (The climatic anomaly, or anomaly of transformation). The knowledge of these factors can be integrated in the researches being done to find out the cause of diseases with idiopathic aetiology. This can be stated as an example of integration of basic principles of sciences. There are lot more ancient Ayurveda wisdoms which will help in finding solution for today’s health problems. In the same way emphasis can be made on integration of diet and dietary habits. Eight different types of dietary habits known as Ashta, Ahara, Vidhi, Vishesha, Yathana explains the natural qualities of different food substances, the methods of preparation and processing of foods, different combinations of foods, the amount or quantity of food one should take, determination of quality of foods according to different geographical regions and with variation in soil, variation of food habits according to seasonal changes and rules specifying how to eat? when to eat? And where to eat?

“Integration of two systems is Formation or Creation of a new way”.

Twenty years before we could see that representatives of different Indigenous systems were trying to collaborate with different Conventional (Modern medicine) Hospitals or centres to establish their treatment methods and to prove themselves. But now the conditions have changed, even the Main stream hospitals are in search of partners who provide different alternative methods. There is no Win or Lose situation because the main focus is the Patient. Rogers and Sheaff remind us that the “justification for integrated delivery systems is to meet patients’ needs rather than providers’”. Organizations that fail to place the patient at the centre of their integration efforts are unlikely to succeed. Integrated health systems should be easy for patients to navigate and it may be a challenge for integrated systems to retain a patient focus.



Ayurveda in Germany

Ayurveda is still more popular in Germany as a wellness section in Hotels and as a massage technique. Here especially Abhyanga and Shirodhara are well renowned as relaxing and refreshing. The first medical association, as well as the first educational programs in Germany was linked with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the transcendental meditation movement. Due to this Ayurveda was also limited to a certain part of German population. Only during the last 15 to 20 years this is starting to change. Ayurveda as a traditional medical system has been appreciated and more and more, especially chronical ill patients are being treated in the so-called complementary or integrative way. This growth is seen to be steadily increasing. However, this growth is still less in comparison to the popularity of traditional Chinese or European medicine. A smaller but steadily growing number of patients perceive Ayurveda as a whole medical system and experience the benefits.


Around six public Allopathic hospitals in Berlin, Essen, Hattingen, Wattenscheid, HabichtswalsKlinik Kassel and Rotthalmuenster integrate Ayurveda. Besides that, there are different private hospitals like TrabenTrabach, Bad Ems, Birstein and others. The third group are hotels and medical practitioners that offer different Ayurveda Treatments.


Based on his knowledge and experience my colleague Neurologist Dr Marco Lebbing mentioned that up to today around 300 Allopathic doctors have finished their Ayurveda studies in Birstein. Another big group of doctors have been educated with Seva Acadamy in Munich. Another 300 might have had education with the Maharishi Movement. And still a lot of others under went smaller educational programs in Essen or with Ralph Steuernagel. There are also some doctors who went to India to learn Ayurveda in Universities or directly from Vaidyas (Popular name in Germany for Ayurveda Doctors in India). Still it is quite hard to give certain numbers because there are no official statistics. Many doctors say that it is difficult to include Ayurveda into their allopathic practice because you need space, therapist and the cost for the patient is quite high. This is important since public insurances yet do not cover Ayurveda treatment and the patients mostly have to pay extra.  An educated guess might be that there are around 1200 to 1500 Allopathic doctors who have had education in Ayurveda.

Different Researches are being carried under the Supervision of Professor Dr Med. H. Przuntek in Hattingen and Bochum along with their Indian AssociateMedantaMedcity in Delhi led by Dr NareshTrehan and Dr Geetha Krishnan. Berlin has a research institute focussing on Ayurveda and they are already publishing results on different pain disorders. One big research project was even financed by the CCRAS. Still there are some difficulties to create proper research programs. Funding, support of official departments or even acceptance within the scientific board of some universities are just a few points to mention. There are many research papers, mainly focusing on preventive, nutritional habits or on meditation and Yoga.

The propagation of wisdom of Ayurveda is an inevitable project for the Integration of these systems. Dr.V.G.Sunilkumar Senior Ayurveda Research doctor in Hattingen emphasises the importance of formation of a Group including Ayurveda and Allopathy doctors along with Pharmacologists, Physicists and Molecular Biologists.

When we look forward to an official study,first of all Ayurveda should be recognised as a Medical system. Unfortunately, in Germany Ayurveda is still not considered as a Medical System. I hope different Institutions as well as Organisationsshould carry efforts to make movements for the recognition of Ayurveda as a Medical system Worldwide.Great hopes awaits after the formation of new Ayush Ministry in India.

Despite the multitude of instructions, which include dietary restrictions and daily oil applications, patients do not feel pressured by their physician. Instead, they value the opportunity to actively cope with their disease by contributing toits cure or the alleviation of symptoms. The integrative approach opens large options for the patient. As I am working in such a department where the Neurologists and Ayurveda doctors go hand in hand to provide the optimum care for the patients, I can feel the positive wave among the patients towards complementary system that satisfy their health care needs.

One thought on “Ayurveda in Germany: the science of healthy living in the land of ideas

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