What constitutes an excellent ayurvedic education?
An excellent Ayurvedic education should be authentic, comprehensive, and clear while providing students with a model for practicing Ayurveda successfully within the Western Culture. CCA teaches the authentic knowledge as it was written in the six most important classical textbooks written between 1500 BCE and 1500 CE. The curriculum at the College offers the most comprehensive education incorporating both the promotion of health and the management of disease. Students also learn a model of practice supporting them to bring Ayurveda into their communities. The internship is an essential part of this training.
Should I be concerned about cultural appropriation by the west?
While CCA can’t comment on other schools in the “West”, we can say that at the California College of Ayurveda, students receive the knowledge within the context of the Indian culture. Students study the traditional knowledge as it was expressed in the six classical textbooks of Ayurveda. To fully understand the knowledge, it is beneficial to study the root philosophical system which is Sankhya philosophy. Students study this in their first course; Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine. In addition, students study India’s history to better understand the impact of the major invasions of India, including by the British. And finally, students study Indian mythology and learn the classical stories as they related to Ayurveda. All of this adds appropriate context to the knowledge they study.
Cultural appropriation occurs when outsiders disrespect the knowledge, its history, context, culture, and traditions – taking knowledge and customs without regard for its traditional origins. At the California College of Ayurveda, we make every effort to honor and show appropriate respect to the origins of Ayurveda while also making it relevant to those who live within Western culture. The feedback we’ve received from those at the highest levels within India has been very positive. The College is highly regarded for both its authenticity and for how we have helped make this knowledge accessible to the Western mind.
How much herbalism will I learn?
Herbalism is essential to the practice of Ayurveda. Ayurvedic Health Counselors learn how to utilize herbs and spices to improve digestion and balance the mind. Clinical Ayurvedic Specialists go much deeper and learn to utilize herbs to treat many common conditions. In addition, they learn how to design their own formulations. Medical Ayurvedic Specialists have the most experience utilizing herbs in clinical practice. All of our students have the opportunity to participate in an herbal apprenticeship and learn how to take herbs from seed to medicine by working in the College’s herbal medicine teaching garden.
What can I do when I graduate?
Regardless of their level of education, all of our practitioners are trained to go into private practice though some may partner with other types of healthcare providers and organizations. In this way, graduating from an Ayurvedic College is much like graduating from a Chiropractic and Acupuncture school.
Ayurvedic Health Counselors provide preventative health care with a focus on diet and lifestyle.
Clinical Ayurvedic Specialists care for patients with disease as well as provide preventative health care.
Medial Ayurvedic Specialists have the highest level of training and are best prepared to integrate with other healthcare professionals in other fields.
Is it legal to practice Ayurveda?
The practice of Ayurveda has not been determined to be illegal in any of the 50 states. In addition, some states like California have passed health freedom laws that formally legalize the practice of alternative medicine. CCA has graduates practicing in most of the 50 states and no graduate has ever had their right to practice questioned.
Where did the titles "Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist” and “Medical Ayurvedic Specialist” originate?
The title “Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist (C.A.S.)” was first utilized in 1995 to designate graduates of the California College of Ayurveda. At that time there were no other professional schools of Ayurveda in the United States.
The title “Medical Ayurvedic Specialist (M.A.S.)” was first utilized in 2023. Prior to this time, the College offered an Ayurvedic Doctor program. However, the State of California discontinued allowing schools to provide the title to its highest-level graduates. The College then created the title “Medical Ayurvedic Specialist” to honor their accomplishments, and this was accepted by the State of California.
At this time, there are no universal standards for titles among the various Ayurvedic schools.
What about state licensing?
Right now, there are no licensing requirements in any of the 50 states. Licensing is a State-by State process. When a State passes a licensing law, which we hope will occur, the process of becoming licensed will be determined by the State and not by an Association or College. Instead, all business interests, including associations and colleges, will have a say in the process. The usual outcome historically is as follows.
- Practitioners who graduated from State-Approved schools prior to licensing are grandfathered into the license.
- New graduates are given an exam administered by the State – not by an association. The State forms a board that administers the exam. The exam will have the support of all interested parties.
- Those who take a State-licensing exam DO NOT need to be a member of any organization. They simply need to graduate from a State Approved College.
How does accreditation play into this?
Schools may choose to be State-Approved or Accredited by an outside Agency such as the Western Association of Ayurvedic Schools and Colleges. There are many such agencies. The advantage of a school becoming accredited by Federally Recognized outside agency is the possibility that their students may attain federal student loans. California College of Ayurveda is State-Approved. We have chosen not to go through the federal accreditation process at this time. Instead of tying students down to student debt, CCA has chosen to keep high quality education affordable, offer partial scholarships to those in need, and offer payment programs so that students graduate without debt.
What is the NAMA Accreditation Council (NAMAC) and how does it affect schools and students?
NAMAC is a new accrediting organization that is not accepted by most Ayurvedic Schools and Colleges. It is also not federally recognized. Hence, it is a private organization that is acting based on its own interests and ideas and hopes to become more relevant over time.
Although most of the standards NAMAC utilizes for Ayurvedic education were initially created by Dr. Halpern (one of the founders of NAMA), he does not support their current process. If a school’s program is accepted, the school can then advertise that they are NAMAC approved and pay to be listed on the NAMA / NAMAC websites.
The California College of Ayurveda has no intention at this time of requesting accreditation through their organization or supporting them financially. Accreditation through NAMAC, while sounding official, is entirely inconsequential as it is not a government organization and provides no substantial benefit to schools other than marketing and advertising.