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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 952432, 11 pages
Research Article

Ayurveda: Between Religion, Spirituality, and Medicine

1Department of Internal and Complementary Medicine, Immanuel Hospital and Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology & Health Economics, Charité-University Medical Center, Research Coordination, Königstraße 63, 14109 Berlin, Germany
2eScience Center, University of Bremen, Universitätsallee, 28359 Bremen, Germany
3Graduate School in History and Sociology, Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
4Institute of Complementary Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland
5Department for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Königin-Elisabeth-Herzberge Hospital, 10365 Berlin, Germany

Received 6 June 2013; Revised 5 September 2013; Accepted 3 October 2013

Academic Editor: Arndt Büssing

Copyright © 2013 C. Kessler et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ayurveda is playing a growing part in Europe. Questions regarding the role of religion and spirituality within Ayurveda are discussed widely. Yet, there is little data on the influence of religious and spiritual aspects on its European diffusion. Methods. A survey was conducted with a new questionnaire. It was analysed by calculating frequency variables and testing differences in distributions with the χ2-Test. Principal Component Analyses with Varimax Rotation were performed. Results. 140 questionnaires were analysed. Researchers found that individual religious and spiritual backgrounds influence attitudes and expectations towards Ayurveda. Statistical relationships were found between religious/spiritual backgrounds and decisions to offer/access Ayurveda. Accessing Ayurveda did not exclude the simultaneous use of modern medicine and CAM. From the majority’s perspective Ayurveda is simultaneously a science, medicine, and a spiritual approach. Conclusion. Ayurveda seems to be able to satisfy the individual needs of therapists and patients, despite worldview differences. Ayurvedic concepts are based on anthropologic assumptions including different levels of existence in healing approaches. Thereby, Ayurveda can be seen in accordance with the prerequisites for a Whole Medical System. As a result of this, intimate and individual therapist-patient relationships can emerge. Larger surveys involving bigger participant numbers with fully validated questionnaires are warranted to support these results.