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Ayurveda Day 2022 in British Parliament

Ayurveda Day 2022 in British Parliament

The message from the Ayurveda Day meeting in the UK Parliament on 7th November, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Indian Traditional Sciences, was that Ayurveda is rapidly expanding to meet the need of the time for an effective prevention-oriented approach to health, and at the same time many rigorous research projects are being conducted, for example the current high-profile study at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The meeting in Parliament was attended by nearly 100 people, including two MPs and three high commissioners (India, Uganda and Mauritius), distinguished academics and doctors. A further 150 were connected online via Zoom.

Meeting opened with a blessing in Sanskrit and prayers by Sukadevji, founder of Yoga-Vidya, a non-profit network of Yoga Ashrams, Yoga Centres, Yoga Teachers in Europe. ‘May auspiciousness, peace, fulfilment, happiness, freedom and concern for the welfare of others be with us. May we be saved from darkness and brought into immortality!’
The quote that inspires him most which he says is ‘ the theme of his life ‘ is that of Swami Sivananda: “Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize”
His four yoga seminar houses in Germany offer over 3,000 courses and further education every year on yoga, meditation, Ayurveda and the holistic lifestyle for beginners through to advanced levels.

Bob Blackman MP, co-chairman of the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences and moderator of the meeting, said that both allopathy and Ayurveda are necessary and need to coexist side by side, just as they do in India itself, even in the same hospital. ‘Modern medicine is there to fix sick people, while Yoga and Ayurveda are there to help people live a long and healthy life.’ The NHS should carry both systems, he said.

It is vital to come together as interest in Ayurveda is increasing and has a crucial place, but now Yoga is recognised as a means to well-being that can go hand in hand with other methods. Mr. Blackman has visited hospitals in India where the two strains of healthcare are in the same building. The use of natural resources is very important, but it’s going to be a big job to convince the NHS of the wisdom of the path we are on. He offered his gratitude to Amarjeet Bhamra Secretariat of the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences for his single-handed dedicated contribution for everything he has done and continue to do to bring Ayurveda, Yoga and other Indian Traditional Sciences to the Parliament.

Virendra Sharma MP co-chairman of the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences said we will work together to build strategies with India and Britain. He recognised that Amarjeet S Bhamra has been determined to bring Ayurveda and Indian Traditional Sciences to the fore of the attention of the UK-India Trade-Deal and confirmed that ‘we are behind this all the way. Bob Blackman and I are working together on these common issues.

H.E. Hon Vikram K. Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India in the UK, agreed and said he wanted to see whether we can jointly create a chair for Ayurveda at a British university or medical school, backed by hard science. Good work has already begun with research-study on Ayurveda for Long Covid now running in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Disease and thanked the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences to take.

H.E. Hon Girish Nunkoo, High Commissioner of Mauritius to the UK, expressed his joy to be present for Ayurveda Day at the Palace of Westminster and offered his special thanks to Amarjeet Bhamra APPG Indian Traditional Sciences and the High Commission of India for advancing the initiative of Ayurveda research in the UK. Traditional medicines complement allopathic treatments. In Mauritius we operate within our legal framework for the use of Indian Traditional Sciences and Traditional Chinese Medicine and are pioneering the promotion of Ayurveda in Mauritius. Our first convention for traditional medicines was held in March 1990 and a treaty was signed during Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s visit in 2014 that was followed in 2016 with an International Ayush Conference, which led my country to celebrate Ayurveda Day since 2017. Our Prime Minister has authorised an innovative study in April 2022.

Dr Manoj Nesari MD (Ayu), Advisor to the Ministry of AYUSH of the Indian Government, highlighted the clinical trial that is being conducted at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, looking at the effect of ashwagandha on long Covid, with a view to having the herb classed as a medicine not just as a herbal supplement – the first time that an indigenous medicine will have gone through the same regulatory procedure as modern medicines do. He added that during the pandemic the Indian government encouraged the use of common spices to bring immunity against Covid. He pointed out that plants available in temperate climates can also be used, i.e., not just plants grown in hot climates like India, according to the Ayurveda ahar tradition.

He said, I think the C-19 pandemic has taught us something where spices and nutrition can help us considerably. Our Prime Minister Mr. Modi is supporting the concept of the important role that nutrition can play, is important. He felt that the promotion in education is perhaps more authentic way in the UK and other parts of the world to establish policies for modern scientific basis of the Indian Sciences. He fully supports all the magnificent efforts made in the UK to promote Ayurveda, thanking Amarjeet Bhamra, The High Commissioner of India, Virendra Sharma MP and Bob Blackman MP.

Professor Sanjay Kinra is Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Head of the Department of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. His primary research interest is in the application of digital technologies and artificial intelligence to improving the health of disadvantaged populations. He said, this is the first time ever western-style research is being conducted using Ayurveda medicine on British people. Four other researchers in this study from LSHTM were present at the meeting including Dr Mahesh Mathpati General Secretary British Ayurvedic Medical Council.

The meeting also heard from Professor Tanuja Nesari MD PhD (Ayu) Director of All India Institute of Ayurveda, which is collaborating in the Ayurveda study at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Confirming her position as partners of this very important clinical trial to satisfy the British as well as Indian regulators as medicine and not a supplement, evidence-based scientifically of the Ayurveda regimen and keen to develop further collaborations.

Dr Tony Nader, MD PhD, a Harvard-trained neuroscientist and medical doctor, and head of the international Transcendental Meditation organisations, reminded the audience that all problems start from the mind of the person. This includes conflicts and wars, accidents, and of course the poor lifestyle decisions that inevitably lead to ill-health. ‘In discussions on Ayurveda, the mind is often ignored; and that’s why I am highlighting it today. There are techniques such as Transcendental Meditation that broaden the vision of the person, making it more holistic and global. Hundreds of research studies have been conducted on its benefits for mind, body, behaviour and environment.’ Lifestyle guidance is available in Ayurveda, but for this to be effective we need to take care of the mind as well. Moreover, he said, research has shown that collective practice can alleviate international conflicts and reduce social violence. We would like to see more official funding of Ayurveda research, from governments and from bodies such as the American Heart Association (which already gave funds for research on Transcendental Meditation). With greater expansion of Ayurveda worldwide, we can create more opportunities. Transcendental meditations helps to settle the mind. It is necessary to research more Ayurvedic medicines and Amarjeet Bhamra is playing a central role but more funding is vital. It is time for the government to take decisive action.

Dr RaviShankar Polisetty, a cardiac surgeon and data scientist, described his translational scientific research to quantify the three Ayurvedic doshas on the molecular level, and then treat the patient according to Ayurveda. He considers Ayurveda as ‘advanced allopathy’. He gave an example of the cost reductions that could be obtained with Ayurveda: the £95 billion that will be spent on diabetes in the next ten years can be reduced to £5 billion, he said.

Dr Shantha Godagama, a leading pioneer of Ayurveda in the UK and Founder Patron of British Ayurvedic Medical Council reminded the meeting that King Charles was one of the earliest supporters of Ayurveda, with the ambition to introduce it in the NHS. It is very important for all practitioners to be registered at the British Ayurvedic Medical Council which has now been established to represent Ayurveda in the UK with one voice. We are close to recognition and one day Ayurveda will be available at a national level in the UK.

INTERLUDE – Indian Classical Dance presented by Preeti Mahenthran, from London who learns from her guru Usha Raghavan. She has been learning Bharathanatyam for 17 years. A seasoned dancer, Preeti has performed extensively including in her Guru’s major productions and a dance tour across Sri Lanka, USA and Canada. She has recently started work as a finance graduate. Preeti presented a rendition on Shri Rama by Saint Tulsidas.

Mahamandaleshwar Swami Suryananda Saraswati Yogacharya Amadio Bianchi Maharaj is the Founder of the World Yoga and Ayurveda Community, Honorary President of the World Movement for Yoga and Ayurveda, President of the European Yoga Federation, of the International School of Yoga and Ayurveda C.Y. Surya, Vice President of the International Yog Confederation of New Delhi. He thanked the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences for this global hybrid platform to celebrate this Ayurveda Day today at the historic British parliament. Thank you for invitation. Health is sacred. We have observed for years the priceless principles of Ayurveda.

Dr. Joaquim José da Costa Jorge is the President of Amayur – Portuguese Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, President of the Fiscal Council of the Portuguese Federation of Professional Phytotherapy, CEO of Ayurved Center Akisintasaude.
He said, the world is now aware of the importance of these traditional therapies. The most essential aspect is to spread awareness of Ayurveda through the media, TV, radio, magazines and to reach out to the population of every country. I am working hard to commit in the dissemination and promotion of Ayurvedic Medicine, both in Portugal and abroad.

Pauline Müller is a freelance writer, author and novice meditation teacher, based in Southern Africa. Her path and belief in the healing power of nature makes her a strong advocate of Ayurveda in the future of pluralistic world healthcare. Pauline has been connected with the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences for 4 years. And, we are working towards meeting the objectives of establishing Ayurveda as a formally acknowledged, evidence-based healing modality in Africa. She remarked, I have been in contact with Amarjeet Bhamra for 4 years establishing Ayurveda in South Africa. The evidence-based research is ongoing in the UK and is an example to all. Ayurveda is accessible and affordable. At present, there are only ten Ayurveda practitioners in South Africa.

Dr Padma Coram specialises in solving modern day issues of Mind Body & Spirit by integration of Modern and Traditional sciences. Her passion in Holistic Wellness and Vedic Sciences has been studied and practised since birth. Having lived across the globe as a female, wife, mother and business woman she understands and works with people facing ‘city -living’ stresses. Thank you, Amarjeet Bhamra, for inviting me. Ayurveda is all encompassing and not just physical but mental. My work is with menopause and mental health issues, which is a huge problem. We need to work together to promote every facet of Ayurveda.

Since 2003, Peter van Straalen has been involved in health industry and has been attracted to traditional healing in general and Ayurveda in particular. Educated at the Academy of Ayurvedic Studies in the Netherlands and since then never stopped learning. He spoke of research in the health industry to look at the problems in the conventional sphere. We need to look at patients and the mind, look at ourselves, our education – we should also be able to help ourselves.

Dr Mauroof Athique, founder and director of the College of Ayurveda (UK) and President BAMC, described the progress made by the British Ayurvedic Medical Council, a newly established regulatory body designed to protect the British public by setting professional standards within Ayurveda, and designed also to present a unified voice when dealing with the government. In time, the Council will become a statutory body. Dr Mauroof Athique urged everyone to check that their own Ayurvedic practitioner is a member of the BAMC.
We are now ready to be recognised. The government needs to set up regulation NOW. We want a unified voice from the Government.
Training of Ayurvedic practitioners: the last 10 years have seen an integrated approach in the UK. Scientific-based reductional method of the west versus patient-centredness from the East- these have to be joined together by keeping the doshas in harmony.

Dr. Hans Rhyner is the founder Member of VSAMT (Swiss Association for Ayurveda Medicine and Therapy), founder-president of AAPWW (Association of Ayurveda Professionals World Wide), and contributed to the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation recognition and regulations of two professions for Ayurveda (Medicine and Therapy). He elaborated on a syllabus for Ayurveda that has been approved by the Swiss government. We have to invest in Ayurvedic professionals to be able to go into the stream of the general public and do their work. In this way, Ayurveda will gain recognition by its results. My wish is that many Ayurvedic therapists can start practising in the UK for the benefit of society in general. Switzerland is one of the countries where there has been least resistance.

Hon. Ramesh Klair. Entrepreneur and Indian community leader from West London spoke of the high value he holds for Ayurveda since his childhood in Punjab, India and his support for the Ayurveda Centre of Excellence (ACE), encouraging the public to donate generously to raise sufficient funds to acquire the building to facilitate the Ayurveda Centre of Excellence. He announced £1000 donation and admired the amazing selfless work of Amarjeet Bhamra to leave a lasting legacy for the Ayurveda fraternity.

Anna-Carla Jedras, Naturopath trained at the Institute for Natural Medicine, from Urbino Italy said, it’s time to put words into action. Amarjeet S Bhamra has been working like a Trojan. The ACE was blessed and authorised by the most prominent figures in the world, the ex-Prince of Wales and Mr. Modi and this three years ago! We must tap into abundance for there is much on the planet contrary to what they would lead us to believe! Where is the national media on all this? The NHS is overworked and needs to be redesigned. Ayurveda can be a profitable partner in saving the NHS millions of pounds! What do we really want for the health of the people on these islands?

Wayne Featherstone is a Dutch Ayurvedic chef, speaker and author of the book Happy, hyper or heavy? Which food makes you happy? He commented that his main goal is to bring the knowledge of Ayurveda to as many people as possible. It is simply amazing to see how we can actually influence our state of mind and mood by the food we choose to eat. When we cook with this approach, we create healthy meals that are not only good for us and delicious, but also contribute to a healthier and happier sustainable society.

Hon. Bhupinder Singh Kandra, owner of the ancient system of well-being Ayurveda clinic in Austria said he was delighted to be invited to the Ayurveda Day in the British parliament and supports the concept of Ayurveda Centre of Excellence in UK by the APPG Indian Traditional Sciences and has been discussing also the possibility of Ayurveda Centre of Excellence with Amarjeet Bhamra in continental Europe.

Hon. Gayatri Puranik, comes from a traditional Indian family steeped in the practice of Ayurvedic products manufacturing. She has been living in Germany since 1989 and importing her brand since the last 20 years. Her continuing Indo-European intercontinental experience is the source for insights in the commonalities and differences between the eastern and western sciences and their practice. This proves to be very useful for practical application of the holistic sciences in a down-to-earth manner all over the world.
She was thrilled to be invited to this historic meeting the House of Commons and suggested let us observe this in a different way as how are we connected to nature? Science has no boundaries just as Ayurveda and how can we advance in a more innovative manner. She thanked Amarjeet Bhamra for creating this communication platform.

Leyla El Moudden, representing the British Ayurvedic Medical Association, pointed out that while the causes of ill-health are mainly unbalanced lifestyle are condoned and even celebrated, the solutions to ill-health – Ayurvedic and other natural therapies – are not yet accepted. This has to change. She said ‘where are our representatives? Get them on national TV. If the cause of an illness is ‘allowed’ why shouldn’t the cure be?

Concluding, Amarjeet S. Bhamra, Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group – Indian Traditional Sciences and the organiser of the meeting, gave a call to action. ‘Whilst thanking the participation of the audience in the parliament as well as on the zoom platform and that of the contributions made by the eminent speakers, regarding the progress in the Ayurveda world, he emphasised, we need to move forward, work towards acceptance by the government, and focus on the establishment the Ayurvedic Centre of Excellence. Continuing promotion of the Indian Traditional Sciences through the APPG has contributed to creating momentum for the 2021 UK/India Trade Agreement. This important 2030 Roadmap for India-UK future relations is: to Explore cooperation on research into Ayurveda and promote yoga in the UK; to increase opportunities for the generic medicine supply from India to the UK by seeking access for Indian medicinal products to the NHS; and recognition of Indian generic and Ayurvedic medicines that meet UK regulatory standards.’

Special awards of recognition were offered to: Dr Manoj Nesari, Dr RamManohar, Dr Unnikrishnan, Dr Alvarez Roset, Dr Ravishankar Polisetty, Dr Peter Warburton, Dr Vikas Neelakandan, Dr Andrew Foss, Acharya Navinderpal Singh, Swami Suryananda Amadio Bianchi, Hon. Pornthep SriNarula.

Early Day Motion (EDM) 515
Celebrating 7th Annual Ayurveda Day on 7th November 2022 an Early Day Motion (515) was tabled by Bob Blackman MP. Kindly ask your member of parliament to sign this EDM.

That this House celebrates the 7th Annual Ayurveda Day and acknowledges that the covid-19 pandemic underlined the urgent need for cost-effective measures to improve health; notes that only a comprehensive prevention-oriented approach can meet this challenge; further notes that Ayurveda, the ancient and complete system of natural healthcare, offers a timeless tradition of holistic and multi-dimensional approaches to health and well-being; recognises the importance of research on Ayurveda is now demonstrated by unique collaboration between the UK and India in which researchers will test whether a well-known Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha, can help improve the quality of life and aid people with long covid; notes that the WHO recognises Ayurveda’s ethos and value to humanity as preventative and curative for a wide range of health conditions; further notes that Ayurveda addresses well-being through a wide range of strategies including consciousness-based programmes, personalised dietary advice, lifestyle management approaches unique to physical and psychological constitution, profound procedures to remove toxins from the physiology, and natural herbal formulas; and urges the Government to commit to prevention of ill-health and promotion of good health, fulfilled through integrating Ayurveda into the NHS, establishing a Department of Natural and Integrative Healthcare, providing freedom of choice in healthcare, introducing a Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine Chair in Medical Schools so that students gain a thorough grounding in this ancient science, encouraging research into Ayurveda, supporting the Ayurveda Centre of Excellence, promoting best practice, research and collaboration between the NHS and Indian Ministry of AYUSH and providing natural healthcare education in schools as a basis for improving the social and emotional well-being of all.