The First International Research Seminar on Ayurveda (2014), Birstein, Germany : Ancient Science of Life

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The First International Research Seminar on Ayurveda (2014), Birstein, Germany

Morandi, Antonio

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Ancient Science of Life 34(4):p 238-244, Apr–Jun 2015. | DOI: 10.4103/0257-7941.160872
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The International Ayurveda Research Seminar (IRSA) aims at establishing Ayurveda as an acknowledged medical system on a global scale. In addition, it intends to conduct systematic research activities to promote the comprehension of Ayurvedic concepts and therapies, so as to encourage the integration of Ayurveda into modern medical practice.

A total of 150 delegates representing 19 countries attended the IRSA which was held on 14th and 15th of September 2014. A major outcome of IRSA 2014 has been the establishment of an IRSA Research Network of individuals and institutions across the globe to promote, initiate and coordinate research activities in line with the White Paper for Ayurveda Research, which is being finalized for publication. About 50 researchers along with at least 10 major international institutions agreed to participate in the IRSA Network. The members of the network formed interest groups in order to develop research projects on selected topics.

In order to encourage the development of integrative medicine, the European Academy of Ayurveda hosted the 1st IRSA. Following an initiative by Ram Manohar MD (Ayu) (India) and Antonio Morandi MD (Italy), 50 renowned doctors and scientists formed a think tank for setting future directions in Ayurvedic research on a global scale. Among them were Prof. Martin Mittwede PhD. (European Academy of Ayurveda, Germany), Prof. Horst Przuntek MD (Ruhr University of Bochum/EvK Hospital Hattingen, Germany), Prof. Paolo Robert di Sarsina MD (Director of the Committee for Coordination and Consensus in CAM, Italy), Prof. Antonella delle Fave MD (University of Milan, Italy), Prof. Valdis Pirags (University of Latvia/Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital, Latvia), Prof. Torkel Falkenberg MD (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden).

However, the seminar is not merely a platform for professional exchange. It also intends to create new strategies for the successful treatment of chronic diseases, which are constantly on the rise in Western countries. Below, we intend to capture the highlights of the conference.

The thematic discussion on “Mental Health in Ayurveda” explored the Western and Indian approaches to mental health. Several meeting points of these two approaches were identified in the course of the deliberations, to initiate dialogues between practitioners of the two systems and to integrate perspectives on Mental Health in Ayurveda and Indian tradition into the mainstream. Prof. Antonella delle Fave (University of Milan, Italy), Dr. Matthijs Cornellison (Indian Psychology Institute, Puducherry, India), Dr. Abhimanyu Kumar (Director of Central Council for Research in Ayurveda, India) delivered talks in this session chaired by Dr. Antonio Morandi (Director, Ayurvedic Point, Italy). This session was made lively by intense discussions.

Thought provoking lectures were given by Prof. Torkel Falkenberg (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden), Prof. Bernard Uehleke (Charite Medical University, Berlin, Germany) and Prof. Martin Mittwede (Rosenberg European Academy of Ayurveda, Germany) during the special IRSA evening session on “Discovering Ayurveda and Traditional Systems of Medicine – Intercultural Perspectives” chaired by Dr. Vanitha Muralikumar (President, Central Council of Indian Medicine, India).

The assembly of renowned scientists was supported by representatives of the Indian Government, Dr. Vanitha Muralikumar and Dr. Manoj Nesari (Advisor, Department of AYUSH, Ministry for Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, India). The experts agreed to intensify research activities for proving the effectiveness of the Ayurvedic medicine. More than 50,000 scientific studies on Ayurvedic medicine already exist. Another common objective is to increase the knowledge on concepts of alternative medicine such as Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Traditional European Medicine, in order to apply it for the well-being of patients.

Modern Biomedicine is both technology oriented and reductionist in outlook. Hence, there is a risk of losing the holistic view of the body system. For this reason, naturopathy is well accepted by patients (83% according to a survey from the Allensbach Institute). More than 48% of the German population have already experienced treatments involving alternative medicine.

At the closure of the conference, junior scientist Sriranjini Jaideep was awarded a research prize for her study “Effect of Ayurveda on recovery in pakṣaghāta (stroke) - a clinical and electrophysiological assessment.” Out of 150 abstracts submitted, a committee of experts assessed her study to be the best. Authors of six abstracts were shortlisted to make a presentation during IRSA 2014 of which the best paper was awarded. All the six authors were fully sponsored to attend IRSA 2014 to present the results of their research.

The 17th International Ayurveda Symposium and IRSA will be held again from 18th to 21st September 2015 in Birstein, Germany along with the Second International Research Seminar on Ayurveda (IRSA 2015). IRSA 2015 will bring together the IRSA Network members as well as interested scientists and medical professionals. They will discuss the first steps taken during the past year and initiate further activities.

Researchers from India, Europe and other parts of the world are invited to submit abstracts of their trials on Ayurvedic medicine. The most promising approaches will be selected for an oral presentation to an audience of international peers in IRSA 2015. This year, travel grant will be offered for the authors of the best three abstracts. There will also be an opportunity for other authors to present their work as posters during the seminar.

The IRSA is organized by European Academy of Ayurveda with the academic partnership of AVP Research Foundation, India; Ayurvedic Point, Italy, Unnimooss Foundation, India; Associazione per la Medicina Centrata sulia Persona, Italy; University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA; University of Milan, Bicocca, Italy; Fundacion de Salud Ayurveda Prema, Argentina; Gujarat Ayurved University, Gujarat, India; VEAT, Europe and OSMESA, Italy.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

© 2015 Ancient Science of Life | Published by Wolters Kluwer – Medknow