At this time, there is no state or federal regulation of Ayurveda training or licensing of Ayurvedic practitioners in the United States.
While there is no regulation, there is a professional association, the National Ayurvedic Medical Association or NAMA, which represents the Ayurvedic profession in the United States and helps to establish and maintain standards of education, ethics, professional competency, and licensing.
Currently, per NAMA, the minimum standards to practice as a Ayurvedic practitioner are 500 hours, either through a NAMA Recognized 500-hour Practitioner Level Program or by being able to demonstrate and document such hours and scope of training. Physicians trained in India at Ayurvedic medical schools as well as individuals trained at accredited US schools as a certified practitioner or clinical Ayurvedic specialist all fall into this category.
A practitioner should be competent not only in health promotion and the prevention of disease by guiding clients in their diet and lifestyle changes in harmony with their prakriti or vikriti, but is also competent in Ayurvedic disease management and treatment (kaya chikitsa) including management of Panchakarma.
In addition to a certified practitioner designation, there is also an Ayurvedic Educator or Lifestyle Specialist designation. Educators or lifestyle specialists are qualified to work with the general promotion of health and disease prevention through lifestyle modifications or to educate about the overall practices of Ayurveda. Educators are not qualified in specific disease treatment or the management of Panchakarma, the primary cleansing protocol in Ayurveda.
There are also Panchakarma (PK) technicians or Ayurvedic Body Therapists who are trained to perform the various body therapies, such as shirodara, abhyanga, marma massage or five sense treatments, used within panchakarma. These therapies can also be beneficial outside of panchakarma to support Ayurvedic treatment protocols. PK technicians usually work alongside a practitioner as on their own do not have the training to educate, consult with or treat clients in their healthcare.
In choosing an Ayurvedic practitioner, ask about their education and training as well as their experience.
Most qualified practitioners will list their training and education on their website or marketing materials. You can evaluate whether they have been trained at accredited schools by going to the NAMA website. And as with any practitioner, have a conversation ahead of time to inquire about how they practice, what to expect, and see if you feel compatible from a personality perspective.