“Nisha is a board-certified Internist who has been practicing medicine since 2005. Pursuing
further education in Ayurveda and Functional Medicine, today she runs her private practice in
Functional Ayurveda in Austin, TX. She works with the patient’s entire mind-body-spirit complex
and favors treatment plans that center on hormone balance and intestinal health. Her focus is
on patient education and empowerment. Dr. Khanna uses the breadth of her knowledge and
experience to treat her patients with a patient-centered approach and enjoys offering patient
education on prevention and treatment during her consults.
To learn more visit her website NishaKhannaMD.com and follow her on Instagram
“ACROSS SPACE AND TIME”
The popularization and acceptance of yoga in western countries has opened the door to and
created a thirst for Ayurveda in the west. Ayurveda makes intuitive sense and resonates as one
explores the doshas, daily routines, and seasonal guidelines. Doshic theory offers a deep
understanding of oneself, one’s emotions, and one’s imbalances. At once, we feel understood.
Life makes sense. We make sense.
I find that many westerners wish to deepen their Ayurvedic understanding and knowledge, but
are plagued with the absence of good guides and teachers, who can relay the authenticity and
complexity of the science. Many Ayurvedic herbal formulas and preparations are not readily
available outside of India, and this compounds the issue.
Therefore, the most popularized Ayurvedic guidelines rely heavily on dietary and lifestyle
guidance. These are helpful, but oversimplify the power and breadth of Ayurveda as a healing
discipline. The most popular western spokespeople for Ayurveda don’t have an understanding
and application of the srotamsi, samprapti, and pulse reading. In other words, most modern-day
western Ayurveda is but a sliver of Ayurveda in its true essence as found in India.
Despite these limitations, Ayurveda is growing in popularity each day. It is becoming trendy and
fashionable to know your dosha and do panchakarma. Just like yoga, Ayurveda will soon be an
American household name. This speaks to the power of Ayurveda to systematize, translate
across time and space, and make real sense and heal, even when not offered full-force.
Admittedly, the mainstream western palate may not yet be ready for Ayurveda in its full capacity
of foreign herbal preparations and strong tastes and smells. This has also had a discernable
impact on Ayurveda not being more popular in the west.
However, the curiosity for authenticity is growing. There is a real desire to learn, discover, heal,
Sanskrit Ayurvedic terminology has also posed a barrier in the west. However, what once was a
language barrier is now becoming intriguing and attractive because it speaks to authenticity. In
my practice and educational content, I toggle between Ayurvedic Sanskrit terminology and loose
English translations to meet the listener where they are, so that we can ultimately bypass the
words and reach a shared understanding.
There is growing research, specifically in the field of Functional Medicine, which corroborates
many ancient Ayurvedic principles. Modern western science is now illustrating the principle that
all disease begins in the gut, through the concept of leaky gut. Wrong food, poor elimination,
and a dulling of gut intelligence in its ability to discriminate appropriately are parallels that exist
in Ayurveda and Functional Medicine alike.
There is also a growing desire for whole body healing versus a segmented analysis and relief of
ailments. The current western medical system is broken on so many levels and fails in
prevention education and the management of chronic disease. Because western medicine
offers little in the way of addressing root cause and disease prevention, patients are willing to go
outside the insurance model for Ayurvedic and Functional Medicine assessment and treatment,
which unfortunately often only leaves true healing to the segments of society that can afford
In my personal medical practice, I offer an integration of Functional Medicine and Ayurveda,
which I brand Functional Ayurveda. I optimize agni and balance the nervous system with dietary
and lifestyle guidance, herbs, and supplements. In keeping with the principle, that even beyond
the gut, the very first roots of disease are held in the energetic bodies of the koshas, I often
weave in energetic Ayurvedic treatments such as marma, external basti, and mind-body
therapies which address the subconscious mind.
My passion is in meeting a patient where they are. I operate from Functional Ayurveda layers of
understanding, which informs my approach and treatment. However, I formulate and transmit
my insights and recommendations in the patients’ language of understanding and the patient’s
preference for treatment, as communication and communion are paramount to healing.
We are in an interesting era of time warp, where medicine is again becoming holistic and truly
healing. New is meeting old and everything in the middle is being discredited as false for its
shifting foundation. People are thirsty for truth. I think this is why so many people today are
drawn to Ayurveda. The wisdom is ancient and proven through time and experience. Ayurveda
is intriguing and increasingly sought after. I am confident that Ayurveda will indeed continue to
blossom in the west.