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Practitioner Profile – Dr. Siri Chand Khalsa: Ayurveda

Dr. Siri Chand Khalsa, MD, MS

Ayurvedic & Nutritional Instructor at the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine

Studied Ayurveda at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque and India having trained Under Master Teacher, Dr. Vasant Lad.

Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Integrative Medicine, and Hospice/Palliative Medicine

Certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor, Reiki Master

 

Dr. Siri Chand Khalsa’s Bio:

Dr. Khalsa has had a life-long interest in mindful living as the basis for long-term vitality of mind, body, and spirit. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at The Mayo Clinic in 2005 and is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Integrative Medicine, and Hospice/Palliative Medicine. Dr. Khalsa has deepened her studies on health and healing by becoming a Yoga Instructor, Reiki Master, and participating in a 2-year full-time program on Ayurveda at The Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque and India. Serving as an Integrative Medicine PCP, an instructor at the University of Arizona Integrative Medicine fellowship for physicians, and consultant to other medical practices, she has dedicated her career to promoting an increased understanding in clinical medicine of the link between long term vitality and the daily choices we make. She is currently focusing her energy to support physicians who want to expand their personal understanding of new ways of healing through an experiential process utilizing techniques in Ayurveda, yoga, mindfulness, and plant-based nutrition.

2. According to Dr. Siri Chand, why Ayurveda works to improve mental health 

 Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of healing that has been practiced for thousands of years. Ayurvedic principles developed through extensive observation of how we stay healthy and heal when disease is present.

Ayurvedic medicine sees no separation between body, mind, and spirit. When there are changes in any one of these states, the other two are impacted. For example, if there is an alteration in the body’s physiologic functions, Ayurvedic practitioners also expect these changes to shift our thinking and feeling.

When mental health issues are present, an Ayurvedic practitioner approaches a patient holistically. One of the first steps is to review how digestion is functioning. In modern scientific research, we have begun to see the links between digestion, microbiome, stress, sleep, inflammation, and mood. Interestingly, because all the modern tools were unavailable to the original Ayurvedic practitioners, they were excellent at observing patterns. For example, for someone who experiences anxiety, there can be a recommendation to learn deep belly breathing exercises to support relaxation.

In an Ayurvedic evaluation, digestive patterns are reviewed and explored along with your daily habits. The assessment can include abstract ideas such as how long you sleep, your energy level when you wake up, manage stressors, creativity, and food cravings. In Ayurvedic philosophy, these imbalances exist in all the body systems, from the cellular level to tissues. Once this intake is complete, the practitioner creates a plan that reduces areas of imbalance and promotes optimal health.

Diverse aspects of our lifestyle are known to contribute to mental health from an Ayurvedic standpoint. For example, if someone is experiencing sadness, anxiety, or irritability, an assessment of sleep patterns, digestion, stress levels, and inflammation can generate a road map around the best lifestyle measures to be introduced. Each person will be different.  Then steadily looking at various aspects of our lives, changes are recommended to restore balance to the body, improving our thoughts and feelings.

Fortunately, Ayurveda has had a relationship to these principles for thousands of years and has simple and easy to implement changes that support overall health. Simple shifts in diet, adding a morning routine, yoga, meditation, movement, and evening wind-down routines are vital elements. Generally, Ayurvedic treatment options can be safely introduced in connection with the allopathic recommendations though it is always ideal to review with your provider. In some cases, massage and other bodywork are added to support the body even further.

Early Ayurvedic doctors developed insight into how we heal from disease derived from observing and interacting with nature through time. By assessing our unique constitution connected to the world around us, Ayurvedic principles identify nearly every aspect of our life as a source that brings us better health or contributes to staying out of balance on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level. A visit to an Ayurvedic practitioner will surely provide a novel way to view health and vitality.

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