India’s ayurvedic medicine must be practiced properly in Canada, says local clinic

Radhika Jenson (far right) next to husband Shaughn Jenson, of Salt Spring Island’s Samya Ayurveda at the AAPNA weekend conference in Vancouver. Submitted photo.


The owners of British Columbia’s first ayurveda clinic are warning the public to ensure their practitioners are fully registered and educated before they receive any holistic wellness treatment.

According to Shaughn Jenson, registered ayurvedic clinician (RAC) who established Samya Ayurveda at the Salt Springs Spa Resort on Salt Spring Island in 2002, “people pop up all over the place” claiming to be an RAC after taking a simple weekend course.

“They take a couple of days of training or even a week of training,” explained Jenson. “We’re trying to get some knowledge out there — this is a proper system of medicine that needs to be taken seriously and not just anybody should be saying that they’re practicing it.”

Jenson and his wife, Radhika (also an RAC at Samya Ayurveda), just returned from the landmark ayurveda conference in Vancouver this past weekend, which attempted to shed light on ayurveda as a legitimate and independent scientific system of medicine.

Jenson, who has more than 15 years experience as a RAC and underwent most of his training in India, is encouraging the public to make sure any ayurvedic clinic they attend is registered with the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA).

Fortunately AAPNA established its standards of practice just a few months ago, which helps weed out some illegitimate clinics as well, said Jenson.

“It’s like the difference of going to a registered massage therapist or going to some spa where you don’t really know the credentials of the person,” he said. “In India 80 per cent of the Indian population uses ayurvedic medicine as their primary health system – obstetrics, surgery, pediatrics – everything is done in there, but here it’s kind of seen as just spa therapy and some herbal pills.”

But the side effects of improper care can be severe.

New and less experienced practitioners may not be aware of drug interactions and possible reactions based on other pharmaceutical medicines, said Jenson. And the side effects become more severe with the recent health fad of detoxes and cleanses.

“We often see people who have gone through these crash cleanses through inexperienced practitioners who have all of these problems with their health because they’ve done too much natural cleansing,” said Jenson, adding that he’s seen people come in with liver damage or, in extreme cases, hepatitis as a result.

In order to ensure a legitimate clinic, Jenson suggests checking that it’s registered with AAPNA, where they received their training and how many hours they’ve put in (3,000 hours gives the highest level of certification).

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