Living in harmony is Ayurvedic message
Suzie Daggett interviews Dr. Marc Halpern, DC (doctor of chiropractic), the founder and director of the California College of Ayurveda in Grass Valley. He is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and recognized expert in the field of Ayurvedic medicine and a founding member of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine (C.A.A.M).
How did you get interested in Ayurvedic medicine? My original training was as a chiropractor and my desire was to understand the cause of disease. My journey lead me to Ayurvedic medicine which treats both the physical and energetic systems of the body. In addition, it looks at an individual’s lifestyle, and how that lifestyle contributes to the disease or symptoms they are having. It addresses the cause and not just the symptoms of the illness. This journey culminated in the development of the California College of Ayurveda in Grass Valley. Our school has now been open for 10 years. We serve students from around the world. Students receive certification as a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist. We also offer weekend classes and many special programs throughout the year. In addition, we have a clinic where our practitioners see patients.
What is Ayurvedic medicine? Ayurvedic medicine originated in India between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago. It is considered the oldest health care system in the world, influencing all other medical systems. It is a science of learning how to live in harmony with the world around us, how to slow down the mind and how to make healthy choices in our lives. It is an indigenous medical system based on mankind’s relationship to nature. When Ayurvedic medicine is practiced at its best, it is the medicine of consciousness. A practitioner will take a look at who you are and how you act in the world – what’s going on from deep within that makes you act in the way you do. We understand that ultimately, disease is caused by misusing our senses, making poor choices, and the stress of not living in the moment.
Can Ayurvedic medicine work with Western medicine? Integrated medicine is a very powerful approach – blending both Western and Ayurvedic medicine for the patient. We encourage and educate our patients to know enough of both so they can make choices for themselves. We ask if they want to follow an integrative, alternative, or a traditional model. Our job is to support our patients no matter which choice they make. We find that if they know enough, they are able to make wise choices for their own health.
How hard is it for someone to transition from a traditional medical model of healing to an Ayurvedic model? Ayurveda asks us to make personal change and it really becomes a question as to how much a person wants to be well. Real healing is a transformation of our way of being. This takes time. The Ayurvedic specialist is there to support and guide each person on their journey to becoming well. There is a commitment to live in greater and greater harmony as time goes on. With every small change we make in our lives toward harmony, our bodies and our minds respond with greater well-being.
What does a patient find when they come for a consultation? Consultations begin with a full health history and examination to help the practitioner understand who they are, and what they need for their treatment. We need to know everything about them emotionally, physically, and spiritually – and know all about how the various systems operate in their body. What are their lifestyle habits? How do they digest their food? What is their monthly cycle? They will then receive a report of findings detailing their ayurvedic constitution, the nature of any imbalances and the plan to restore health. In Ayurveda, there are three different energies that govern the functioning of the body, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Your constitution is the inherent balance of these three energies and is determined at the moment of conception for an individual. Our goal is help you understand your constitution – where your life tendencies exist, restore balance and teach you how to live in harmony with who you are as a unique individual.
What health changes do you see in your patients? We see enormous changes in both their physical and mental well-being. Patients who stay with the program often see their symptoms begin to dissipate within a few days or weeks. Those with chronic illness may take longer, but the changes are dramatic.
Halpern can be reached at The California College of Ayurveda, 530-274-9100 or http://www.ayurvedacollege.com. New classes begin on Oct. 18th.
Suzie Daggett is the TV host of Healing INsights on NCTV, and the publisher of INSIGHT, the Directory of Healing Arts Practitioners; she can be reached at 265-9255 or http://www.insightdirectory.com
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