I applied to this fellowship for a few reasons: my friend Morgan did it last year and told me how amazing it was, I have never really travelled outside the country (I don’t think an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican really counts), with my engineering schedule I can’t travel abroad, and because I had recently become a yoga instructor. Now the yoga is what made the fact that it was India so enticing since it started there. Yoga is used as part of the healing process in Ayurvedic medicine (more on that later) and so I also got interested in Ayurveda- which is what I’ll be researching. Since Ayurveda (and therefore yoga) started in India thousands of years ago, what better place to study it?
So I’m not really sure what I’m going to be doing at my internship sight, they weren’t very specific. I’m nervous that they’re going to expect more out of me than my two years of introductory courses. I wanted to work with this organization because of their unique specialty in combining Western medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, very few places do that to the degree of the IAD. I’m not necessarily interested in the dermatology aspect of the institution, just their methods.
My final project is understanding what aspects of Western medicine and Ayurvedic medicine the IAD has taken from each to optimize the treatment of their patients. I find this so interesting because the two types of medicine are complete opposites. Western medicine sees symptoms and treats with a medication that was manufactured in a lab. Ayurvedic medicine tries to heal by balancing the body. People are seen as being composed of three doshas- fire, water/earth, and air. When any of these are out of balance the body gets sick. The doshas are very specific to each person, the doctor takes into account many aspects of the person’s body, life, and well-being, so the same symptoms from different people may not require the same treatment. Ayurvedic also treats with more natural remedies instead of manufactured drugs. So I’m very curious how IAD combined two medical practices that have such a different mindset and methodology.
IAD is located in Kasaragod, Kerala. Kerala is in the south west corner of India and Kasaragod is at the northern tip of the state, one hour south from Mangalore. I will being in Mumbai and Varanasi for the first week and a half, then I will go to my internship on August 1st for four weeks. I still don’t feel like this trip is happening, Everyone keeps asking me if I am excited and of course I said yes, but really it still feels like the trip is over a month away. I don’t feel like I’m going to be taking my first steps across the Atlantic any time soon, and yet I leave today. We will see when it hits me that I am going to be in a different country very far away.