First guest professorship for Ayurveda in Germany

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First guest professorship for Ayurveda in Germany A visiting professorship for Ayurveda (or: Ayurveda) is established at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). With financial support from the Indian government, the first chair in Germany for the millennia-old art of naturopathy was created. In addition to the historical development, students should also learn different application methods of the complementary medical treatment approach here in the future.

Ayurveda chair unique in all of Europe Different methods of the Indian healing art Ayurveda are already offered in numerous wellness facilities all over Germany and also in complementary medicine the methods have many fields of application in this country due to their often convincing success. So far, however, there has been no corresponding chair that ensures training at a correspondingly high level. "I think this is a unique thing even in all of Europe," said the President of the European University, Gunter Pleuger, when the Indian government handed over the official commitment to finance the visiting professorship for Ayurveda over a period of five years. Starting next year, the chair will be located at the Institute for Transcultural Health Sciences (IntraG) of the Faculty of Cultural Studies.

Supplement to conventional medicine Rambabu R. Dwivedi from Gujarat Ayurved University came to Frankfurt (Oder) with a large delegation of compatriots to hand over the acceptance. The recognized expert and editor of numerous Ayurveda studies presented the project and the principle of Indian healing in detail. According to Dwivedi, an unhealthy way of life and “suboptimal food” contribute to the fact that many people often suffer from health problems. This is where Ayurveda comes in with the central elements of Ayurveda massage and cleansing techniques, in-depth nutrition, spiritual yoga practice and extensive herbal medicine. Often extremely successful, as the studies by Rambabu R. Dwivedi show, even with patients who could not be helped with conventional medical treatment approaches. In particular, with chronic diseases such as diabetes and mental disorders, Ayurveda has already achieved considerable treatment successes. Indian naturopathy “is not a competition to medicine, but a complement”, emphasized Dwivedi.

Promoting health and well-being The head of the IntraG, Prof. Harald Walach said: "We hope that in cooperation with the future professor (...) we can offer an interesting teaching for our students who want to broaden their horizons and their practical possibilities." the experts “make Ayurveda usable for some medical problem children in our modern society by researching them intensively”, explained Wallach. On the one hand, the students will scientifically research the Ayurveda method and its contribution as a supplement to conventional medicine, on the other hand, they will also learn the basics of traditional medicine. The aim of Ayurveda treatments is clear: promote the health and well-being of the patient. As a possible field of treatment in combination with conventional medical methods, Dwivedi mentioned, for example, the reduction of the side effects of modern drugs, which many chronically ill people in particular have to take, through Ayurveda treatments. Prof. Wallach also emphasized that there are already promising initial research results for some clinical pictures, but that much remains to be done to bring Ayurveda, which has so far mostly been based on empirical values, to the state of a scientifically founded form of therapy.

Complementary medicine in great demand One of the initiators of the IntraG, Hartmut Schröder, pointed out when setting up an Ayurveda chair that many people consider complementary treatment approaches in addition to conventional medicine as a supplement to treatment. Various studies have shown that around 60 percent of men and 80 percent of women resort to treatment methods from the field of complementary medicine. So far, however, there are no clear standards, so the number of black sheep is relatively large, explained the expert. Schröder can therefore imagine developing clear standards at the Viadrina European University in the future, which determine the quality of products and services related to Ayurveda.

Visiting professorship from 2011 - India pays 400,000 euros The previous plans provide for the establishment of the visiting professorship in spring 2011. As part of the postgraduate master’s course “Complementary Medicine, Cultural Studies, Medicine”, teaching modules for the introduction to Ayurveda are to be developed. One of three Indian professors still available for selection will take on the teaching assignment, explained Ashutosh Agrawal from the Indian embassy in Berlin. The position is initially set to run for five years and the Indian government will provide 200,000 euros each for two years as funding. "The relationship with Germany is very important to us," said the Indian embassy as a reason for the first financial commitment at a German university for the establishment of an Ayurveda chair. In this country, however, those responsible are already dreaming of bigger things. The initiators at the European University have in mind to become the leading university in the field of Ayurveda, "in the German context and possibly beyond".

Indian healing art Ayurveda The ancient Indian healing art of Ayurveda is an expression of a holistic knowledge of humans and nature, so the information of the German Society for Ayurveda. Massages, tea, oils, meditation and exercise have always been part of the healing methods. But these were almost forgotten in the modern world until Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, representative of the yoga tradition, gathered experts from East and West around him in the early 1980s and began the renaissance of Ayurveda. In 1984 the first Ayurvedic health center in a western country was established in the USA. In India, however, Ayurveda has always remained an indispensable part of the health system, not least because most Indians cannot afford conventional medical treatment and many diseases can be treated successfully and inexpensively with the ancient art of healing. (fp, 10/22/2010)

Also read:
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Photo credits: Jürg Krämer,, foot massage, usually done naked, with GIMP swimming trunks attached.

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