US & Canada Regulations & Ayurveda Practice
Most practitioners in the USA & Canada using Ayurveda principles and philosophy in their work as counselors or health coaches operate under an ill-defined area of lifestyle management, nutrition, and health promotion, which is currently not controlled or regulated by any licensing as is allopathic medicine.
1. In the US & Canada, anyone can promote anything that promotes health. Therefore, it is NOT illegal to recommend that someone rise early, drink hot water, exercise, breathe deeply, or follow the cycles of nature and the environment.
2. In the USA & Canada, it is also NOT illegal to use or recommend "dietary supplements" which include herbal products. Most Ayurveda herbs fall within the categories of either "dietary supplements," personal care, cosmetics, or food. Therefore, an Ayurveda practitioner can recommend these supplements for health promotion. Use of herbs grown in India is NOT Ayurveda medicine. Use of the herbs, or any substances, according to the principles of balancing the body using doshas, gunas, malas, aam/agni, dhatus, and Ayurveda concepts is Ayurveda treatment.
3. It is ILLEGAL to diagnose, treat, or cure diseases, unless you have a license to practice medicine in the state in which you are practicing. Each state has its own code and restrictions on what the practice of medicine entails. "Medicine" in the USA & Canada currently refers to allopathic and osteopathic modalities and philosophies.
4. Both education and practice in the USA & Canada are governed by state-based laws. There are no national policies. Therefore, each state determines who can practice healthcare and how. Currently, there are NO states that have licensed Ayurveda as a healthcare profession. There are currently eight (10) US states with "Health Freedom Laws" that allow non-licensed healers to practice their arts providing they do not violate the law of another profession. They are Minnesota, Arizona, California, Colorado, Rhode Island, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Nevada and New Mexico. To learn more, and for the most up-to-date information, visit National Health Freedom Action www.nationalhealthfreedom.org/nhfa.
5. If anyone tells you in the US or Canada, that s/he is "licensed to practice Ayurveda," that person is misleading you. The person may be using Ayurveda principles and philosophy within the practice of another licensed or certified profession, but there is no license to practice Ayurveda Medicine in the USA.
6. The Council of Ayurveda Credentialing (CAC) is the first accrediting body dedicated to accrediting Ayurveda programs. There are organizations such as NAMA and AAPNA that provide a fee-based registration service for practitioners to self-report their credentials and be recognized for their training; however, these are not substitutes for accreditation. Several groups exist that provide support to the Ayurveda community in the USA & Canada.
7. Ayurveda physicians educated and trained in India receive the degree BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery) and are licensed to practice Ayurveda Medicine in India. When they specialize their field of expertise, they receive the degree MD (Ayu) - Doctor of Medicine in Ayurveda. Their curriculum is guided by the CCIM in India.