One of my favorite things about Amy is her calming presence. I’ve known Amy for about four years now, and she makes you feel so at ease in her presence. Like you could tell her anything, free of judgement or embarrassment. This sort of intimacy she builds with those in her life make her great at her work, which is Ayurveda. In Cincinnati, Amy runs her own Ayurvedic practice called Dosha Know.
Ayurveda is an ancient form of holistic healing, originating from Tibet/India region in the Himalayan Mountains. It is said to be the most ancient form of medicine. It’s at least 5-10,000 years old. A group of rishis (meditators) in the Himalayas sort of founded Ayurveda together through their visions. They realized in their attempts to reach Nirvana in their meditations that their success was only as strong as their body. They thus began to then ask themselves how to reach optimal health. Through their meditations, they began to get amazing insight on how the human body worked. All of these insights have actually checked out with modern-day science.
“If you think about it, it’s quite amazing,” said Amy. “They could see the insides of the human body through their meditations without any labs, without any equipment and without anything, because it didn’t exist yet.”
Many of the texts of Ayurveda were burnt and lost during the time that the French and British controlled India. To them, Ayurveda was threatening. However Ayurveda was still kept alive orally. Once India re-gained it’s freedom, Ayurveda came back to life.
Amy discovered Ayurveda during her time spent in California. Amy left her hometown of Cincinnati when she was 18 to attend college at the University of Southern California and ended up spending about 5-6 years out there. During her time out West, she became interested in all sorts of holistic things such as yoga and meditation. While she got a degree in film, she knew she probably would not pursue that as a career and thus was looking elsewhere. Instead of obsessing about figuring out exactly what she was to do, she found the American University of Complementary Medicine through a google search, and set up an appointment with an advisor there. He suggested she look into Ayurveda. This was back in 2007, so Ayurveda was very much un-heard of in the Western world. It intrigued her because it touches on everything from yoga to psychology to nutrition and more.
“It seemed like a practice that would draw on all of my strengths and it wouldn’t confine me to just doing one thing,” she said. “So I decided to go for it and I studied for several years.”
Amy studied at AUCM for three years and earned two certificates, one in Ayurvedic Medicine and one is Advanced Ayurvedic Medicine. She’s also Reiki level one and two certified. A majority of her training was spent working with clients, which is where you best learn, she says.
“I’ve always been really grateful for my mentor for pushing me to actually work with actual human bodies,” she said. “That made me feel more equipped to go out and actually do this.”
Now spends her time seeing clients in the Cincinnati area in her College Hill space and teaching others interested in Ayurveda. Many in the Midwest have an interest in Ayurveda but no program for them to learn like Amy had in California. So she’s looking to starting one here. She hopes to create a certificate program like the one she studied with in California.
A lot of her job is taking Ayurveda, which is an ancient form of medicine coming from an Eastern culture far different than the United States, and making it relevant for Americans in 2015. Starting off, this is what she first goes over with her clients during their first meeting. Often times, that means translating Ayurvedic texts to make them relatable and workable in our culture.
“The beautiful thing about Ayurveda is that it speaks in essences,” she said. “It doesn’t speak in absolutes. It gives you essences, which is cool because you can take the essence of what the text book is trying to tell you and it’s very translatable. You just have to put everything in context all the time.”
Defining it in literal terms has been hard at times. Over the years, she’s developed a handbook that she goes over with her first time clients, because her first appointment with a client is the most important. The more trust she can gain, the more the client will open up about what they are dealing with and the easier it will be for the two of them to work towards a long-term solution.
After this initial meeting, the next meeting is the Ayurvedic evaluation, which has several facets including a psychological evaluation, a pulse examination and other similar things. Often times, the body will resist because the body naturally protects itself, she said. Often, conditions exist because they are protecting the body. This can be challenging and at first, this often means they simply treat the symptoms. However they treat the symptoms as they dig deeper to find the root of what is going on. Once they get to the bottom of it, they can start being aggressive in treatment.
“We really do have to work with the body’s pace and we have to work with the psyche’s pace as well, because those two forces are working together,” she said. “They do what they do because they’re protecting the body. So it’s my job to read and understand the pace at which this body and this psyche is willing to be pushed.”
Bodywork and nutrition are places where she often starts. Nutrition, she says, is something that is always a good starting point because everyone benefits from good nutrition. Also, it can take a month or two to really see the positive affects of nutrition, so it’s best to start on it in the beginning. Ayurvedic nutrition focuses on proper digestion, first and foremost. So it’s more about how you eat than what you eat.
Amy finds her work to be incredibly rewarding. She loves helping people to heal and better their health. For example, she had a woman who was having trouble conceiving a child. Through their work together, she was able to successfully get pregnant. She wouldn’t trade these feelings of helping people for the world, she says. It makes her really want to spread the word.
“It’s the only health approach that I’ve seen that creates real long term results,” she said. “In Ayurvedic medicine, we don’t treat symptoms. We treat the disease and it’s a long process doing the detective work figuring out where the disease stems from. But for a client who is dedicated to their health and is willing to put in the time, it’s perfect.”