Taking his place as Victoria’s well-known Ayurvedic doctor

By Indira Laisram
Dr Santosh Kumar Yadav

When Dr Santosh Kumar Yadav migrated to Australia in December 2007, he was told he would probably have to leave his profession as an Ayurvedic doctor by friends and others. They saw little future in Ayurveda, which was then a very niche-focussed area here. But within few months, Yadav was already practising from a room in his house, he knew this traditional Indian knowledge as having an enormous potential to improve health care. Today, as President of the Australasian Association of Ayurveda and coordinator of India’s AYUSH Information Cell, Australia, Yadav is enjoying a level of success in his chosen field.

“When I migrated in Australia in 2007, there was not a lot of demand for Ayurveda as people were not aware. My heart and soul were in Ayurveda because I had studied it and practised in India. People told me that when you migrate it will be hard to continue this practice, that you have to find other jobs but I didn’t do any other job in Australia, I didn’t listen to anyone,” says Yadav, who completed his Bachelor Of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery from the State Ayurvedic College, Lucknow and Post Graduate Diploma in Ayurvedic Drug Standardisation from the Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, India.

After completing his studies, Yadav went on to work with Dabur India Ltd, one of the best Ayurvedic and natural health care companies in India, as their new drug developer. At the same time, he ran a Panchkarma (Ayurvedic journey to wellness) centre in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, for two years when the move to Australia happened.

Fortunately for him, Ayurveda falls under the ‘complementary medicines’ category in Australia, so Yadav didn’t have to go through accreditation process under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and could start practice right away. “The main stream of medical system in Australia is recognised by AHPRA but there is a parallel system of medicine called Naturotherapy and that comes under the complementary health therapy. So complementary health practitioners are non-registered AHPRA practitioners,” explains Yadav, who was born and brought up in Varanasi.

Yadav began his first practice from his Glen Waverly home. Then he moved to Dandenong where he operated out of a room again in his house. In his consulting sessions, he describes the Dosha diagnosis, pulse diagnosis, body constitution, and provide a systematic examination before making a diagnosis according to Ayurvedic literature, corresponding with modern approaches.

Yadav’s practice grew slowly and gradually and by 2011 he had to convert his whole home into a clinic and named it the Ayurveda Yoga Wellness Clinic (AYWC), specialising in treating chronic illness and the Kareli Panchkarma treatments. Panchkarma, he says, is a complete detox treatment which has three stages of treatment to it.

Yadav correlates his diagnosis with conventional western medical methods and prescribes Ayurvedic treatments and medicine accordingly. He says where Ayurveda and yoga help a lot is in treating chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, obesity, high blood pressure and other lifestyle related ailments. “We offer therapeutic yoga, say, someone coming with the problem of insomnia will be guided with mediation, yoga asanas and other herbal products.”

Along the way, Yadav also introduced acupuncture. His clients, who were primarily Asians, have expanded. Today, he says 60 per cent of his clients are white Australians who really believe in the Ayurvedic system. “They are getting good results in all diseases – chronic or non-chronic. Now Ayurveda is spreading very well in Australia,” he says, adding, “People are looking at Ayurveda and the whole wellness issue seriously especially after COVID 19.”

Some of the common ailments that people come for treatment are around arthritis, skin disorders, digestive disorders, etc., says Yadav, adding, “Ayurveda is successful even in cases of infertility. The Panchkarma treatment is the hottest department in Ayurveda, it is a complex detox treatment. Our therapies are totally safe with no side effects”

Last year, Yadav was appointed coordinator of the AYUSH information cell in Australia. AYUSH, which stands for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy is a government of India initiative to promote the traditional medical sciences. “The objective of this AYUSH Cell to increase the awareness about Ayurvedic medicine in the community in Australia,” said Yadav.

“It’s the vision of Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi to advance Ayurveda in over 100 countries within the next decade. The Ministry of AYUSH is helping to achieve this goal by collaborating with different countries all over the world. The main aim is to globally promote awareness, education, and advance research in the AYUSH modalities of health system,” he says, adding “Ayurveda is now part of a multibillion-dollar industry in India and it is looking at MoUs with Australian universities on research and education.”

Also, as president of the Australasian Association of Ayurveda (AAA) since 2016, Yadav is hopeful of the future. Interestingly, the AAA has a 30-year history and is linked with the development of Ayurveda in Australia. It all began in 1979 with the first International Congress on Traditional Asian Medicine, known as ICTAM, organised by the renowned Indologist and Head of the Department of Asian Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra, Prof A. L. Basham, the author of A Wonder That Was India, Prof Acharya Manfred Junius and Dr Krishna Kumar.

At this stage, all Ayurvedic products come as herbal and food supplements from India but there is some good news with few Australian companies developing products Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) listed products here, says Yadav, as the demands are increasing day by day.

Yadav also says it is easy for people to access Ayurveda treatment as the cost is reasonable.

Above all this, a core tenet of Yadav is to make his business accessible to everyone, which is why he has recently started accepting Qoin, Australia’s new digital currency. “I have already started receiving a few enquiries,” he says.

Built on blockchain, Qoin offers merchants and consumers an innovative and secure alternative to connect and interact. Qoin has had huge take up in Australia with more than 13,500 validated merchants joining the Qoin community in the first nine months. With Qoin launching into New Zealand and further global expansion planned in 2021, Qoin is confident that this success can be replicated in other countries.

Clearly, for Yadav, it has been the most satisfying career and one that leads to the betterment of our lives!

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