India

Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Practices

Gain a deep understanding of how India nurtures its vibrant, traditional medicine systems while experiencing economic growth and modernization.

At a Glance

Credits

8

Prerequisites

None

Courses taught in

English

Dates

Jun 14 ‎– Jul 26

Program Countries

India

Program Base

New Delhi

Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being

Global Health & Well-being Icon

Climate & Environment

Climate & Environment Icon

Overview

Why study traditional healthcare in India?

From bustling New Delhi to the quiet grandeur of the Himalaya, explore India’s ancient and traditional health systems. These include the vitally important practices of Ayurveda, traditional Tibetan (Amchi), folk medicine, yoga, and naturopathy. On this journey, learn about the social, economic, and cultural paradigms that provide a context for healthcare in India. During a 10-day stay in the Himalaya, home to many of India’s rich botanical resources, see how mountain communities’ healthcare systems are affected by climate change, globalization, development and sustainability efforts. Compare traditional and allopathic systems, gaining a multidimensional view into healthcare and health delivery among diverse groups including marginalized and indigenous populations. Visit centers of traditional medicine in Delhi and in rural and urban areas in the Himalaya and meet practitioners of traditional and holistic Indian medicine. Travel to Dharamsala, headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and where His Holiness the Dalai Lama lives, and receive Tibetan medicine lessons.

Highlights

  • Live with fellow students and a host family in the lakeside town of Nainital.
  • Learn concepts of life, death, and treatment in Buddhism and Tibetan medicine.
  • Study ancient medicine in Delhi and rural communities of the Indian Himalaya.
  • Explore health practices in Dharamsala’s McLeod Ganj, home of the Dalai Lama.

Prerequisites

None

Excursions

Health, Yoga, and Meditation in Nainital and Rishikesh

Learn about holistic approaches to healthcare in multiple Indian health systems. Understand the body, mind, and soul connection and the philosophy and principles of yoga, and different yoga postures in the holy town Rishikesh, considered a global center for yoga and meditation.

Ayurveda and Naturopathy in Palampur

Take classes on Ayurveda and naturopathy from a specialist. Observe various Ayurvedic therapies, and eat organic meals at Kayakalp healing center.

Tibetan Medicine in Dharamsala

Travel to McLeod Ganj in Dharamsala, home to the headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Receive Tibetan medicine lessons and observe the Amchi clinic associated with the Men-Tsee-Khang Medical and Astrology School. Study the concept of life and death in Buddhism and health, disease, diagnosis, and treatment in Tibetan medicine. Visit a Tibetan clinic to observe an Amchi examination of patients and participate in an interactive Amchi session.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Academics

Coursework

Access virtual library guide.

The India: Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Practices program aims to acquaint students with socioeconomic, cultural, spiritual, and institutional dimensions and paradigms of healthcare in India. By observing and learning about the institutions, methodologies, and practitioners of traditional medicine, students compare and contrast India’s traditional and modern healthcare systems. The structure of the program enhances students’ capacity to critically engage multidimensional perspectives on healthcare and health delivery systems.

Students on this program enroll in two separate seminar courses: Traditional Indian Medicine: Theory and Context and Field Study of Traditional Indian Healthcare Practices.

Lecturers are drawn from institutions such as Ministry of AYUSH, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, and the Himalayan Research Institute of Yoga and Naturopathy in Kayakalp; Delhi University; and Men-Tsee-Khang Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute, Dharamsala.

The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Investigate the Himalayas’ repository of medicinal plants and herbs.
  • Visit Rishikesh, considered the mecca for yoga and meditation.
  • Learn health practices through mind-body-soul connections.
  • Explore yoga as a spiritual preventative and curative medicine.
  • Witness how climate change and globalization affect health outcomes.

Traditional Indian Medicine: Theory and Context

Traditional Indian Medicine: Theory and Context – syllabus
(ASIA3010 / 5 credits)

This six-week seminar provides a framework for the investigation of several traditional healthcare systems in India by examining some of the country’s basic social, economic, cultural, and legal paradigms. It considers India’s rich and ancient philosophical traditions pertaining to theories of health, healing, and medicine. These traditional healthcare systems are both widely practiced and receive government support today. The course introduces students to the origins of these wellness theories and systems through lectures, discussions, readings, and field visits designed to facilitate direct observation. The primary focus is on the systems of Ayurveda, yoga, Unani, Siddha, Amchi, folk medicine, and ethnic-traditional healing in the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

Field Study of Traditional Indian Healthcare Practices

Field Study of Traditional Indian Healthcare Practices – syllabus
(ASIA3020 / 3 credits)

This six-week course complements the Traditional Indian Medicine: Theory and Context seminar. The course emphasizes field study methods that give students a foundation for engaging in basic ethnographic approaches to studying and understanding the practice of traditional medicine. Through visits to and interaction with organizations and individuals working in India’s traditional healthcare system, students gain firsthand exposure to the practices and environments social contexts of these alternative methods of wellness. Though observation, note-taking, and interviewing, students gain experience with primary sources, thereby increasing their knowledge of traditional medicine in India.

Homestays

Nainital, Uttarakhand

Spend approximately 10 days with a host family in rural Nainital. Typically, two or three students are placed with one family. Most families have lived in the same place for generations and, in some cases, for centuries. They are typically lower middle class, but vary in size and caste background. Most host families have members of multiple generations under one roof and typically live in small villages.

In addition to language practice, the homestay offers a chance to participate in the daily life of rural communities in the Himalaya and to experience religious ceremonies or weddings, and share in memorable meals.

During the orientation and concluding periods of the program, accommodations will be provided at a hotel in New Delhi, as well as in guesthouses in the mountainous Palampur, Rishikesh, and the hillside city of Dharamsala, surrounded by cedar forests on the edge of Himalaya.

Faculty & Staff

India: Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Practices

Azim Khan, PhD
Academic Director
Abid Siraj, MSW
Academic Coordinator
Bhavna Singh
Homestay and Student Affairs Coordinator
Goutam Merh, MA
Faculty and Excursion Coordinator
Vivek Badoni
Academic Coordinator
Ashutosh Guleri, MD
Faculty

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