In November 2019, a Russian citizen Monika Kruse suffered a knee injury while descending the Thorung La Pass, the world’s highest mountain pass situated in Manang district. She returned to Kathmandu and visited a hospital where an x-ray scan revealed she had a joint injury and the doctor recommended surgery.
However, Kruse, reluctant to undergo surgery, searched for an alternative and discovered ayurvedic treatment at the Ayurveda Health Home (AHH) situated at Dhapasi, Kathmandu, where Dr Rishi Ram Koirala performed the treatment to heal Kruse’s knee injury. After going through cycles of treatment, Kruse began to recover and began to walk with crutches. After recovering from her injury, she then returned to Russia.
Established in 1995, many foreigners and Nepalis have benefitted from AHH for treatments of different ailments over the years. “So far, foreigners of 122 nations including high-ranking officials have visited us. We have also provided services to Nobel laureates from Russia and the Middle East,” says Dr Koirala who is the Medical Director of the health centre.
AHH has been providing a range of treatments for multiple ailments related to skin, digestion, joints and lungs problems. However, the Ayurvedic healthcare institution does not provide treatment for patients of communicable and infectious diseases, emergency/ambulatory cases, and individuals who need continuous medical attention.
“We are the pioneering Panchakarma centre in Nepal operating since 1995. Our centre is one of a kind in the whole of South Asia, providing quality service delivered by experienced professionals and practitioners,” says Dr Koirala, who has been an ayurvedic medical practitioner for over three decades.
Panchakarma is considered to be the essence of ayurveda. It is a holistic process designed for maintaining and supporting inner harmony to get more in-tune with the life process. It mostly consists of cleansing, detoxifying, and immune-enhancing, rejuvenating, and also taking curative measures against diseases. According to Dr Koirala, the main objective of Panchakarma is to restore harmony and balance to the mind, emotions and senses through treatment programmes that include imparting the subtle knowledge of the benefits of Panchakarma, natural products and traditional healing techniques.
AHH began to rise in fame after 2001 when it became a Nepal-German joint venture in healthcare.
“In 1993 when I was doing some research on the use of medicinal plants in treatments related to mental health issues, I realised the importance of Ayurvedic treatment. During that time there were hardly any Ayurvedic clinics in Kathmandu,” recalls Dr Koirala. According to him, foreigners had started to come to Nepal seeking Panchakarma treatment at that time. In the meantime, his brother Badri Koirala, who now heads AHH as the Managing Director, had returned to Nepal from the UK and was looking to start an ayurvedic clinic. Soon they started an ayurvedic treatment centre in Thamel in 1995.
In 2000, Dr Koirala was in Germany for a seminar where he met Marlies Foster, a retired German nurse and a graduate in hospital management. After attending Dr Koirala's presentation session, she approached him to join his team. “To ensure that our services meet international standards, I requested her to visit our centre and she stayed with us for six months and thus agreed to join the team. This way we registered AHH in 2001,” informs Dr Koirala. Foster is working as Director of Quality Management at AHH.
All the centre’s treatments are designed by Dr Koirala. A specialist in Panchakarma therapy and a skilled diagnostician, he is widely consulted for ayurvedic based treatment and healing in Nepal and abroad. He has also served as Chairman of National Ayurveda Research and Training Center, Executive Vice-chairman of Nepal Health Research Council and Member of the High Level Health Policy Advisor Committee formed by the Ministry of Health.
“The primary requisites of living an ayurveda-inspired healthy life include wholesome food, meditation, and yoga; if you are indulging in these three, you can prevent a lot of diseases, lead a happy life and perform optimally every day,” says Dr Koirala, adding, “With the ayurvedic way of life, we can beat stress, which is one of the underlying causes of an array of health troubles that people suffer from in this modern world.”
Dr. Koirala and his team of 12 doctors and 33 therapists offer treatments for imbalances caused by stress, muscles, joints, ligaments, and vertebral disorders caused by traumas, degenerations, or autoimmune reactions, respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, liver disorders, skin disorders, endocrine & metabolic disorders, gynecological disorders, neurological and immunological disorders, urogenital disorders, psychosexual disorders, anorectal disorders, pediatric disorder, eye disorder. AHH also treats these disorders using Abhyanga technique.
Abhyanga is a healing practice in ayurveda which, according to Dr Koirala, includes oil massage for complete treatment for the mind, senses and body. AHH offers various Abhyanga packages, including whole body cleansing and whole body synchronised cleansing. Likewise, AHH also provides Anorectal OPD service for various problems like hemorrhoids, anal fissures, Anal Fistula, Pilonidal Sinus and Perianal Abscess. “We have been providing treatment to patients of such ailments for the last 25 years,” informs Dr Koirla.
Many people also visit AHH for Ayurveda Consultation. According to Dr Koirala, this consultation offers the most profound insights into all aspects of life that impact the health and well-being of people. “In this, our emphasis is on the behavioural, sensorial, psycho-emotional and spiritual dimensions of holistic health,” he shares.
Besides, consultation for prevention of disorders, health improvement and Yoga sessions are also available at AHH. “We also offer therapies related to cellular cleansing, body detoxification and reduction of mental stress and boosting of sensory organs,” shares Dr Koirala.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, AHH used to operate two centres, one in Kathmandu and another in Pokhara. The Pokhara centre was closed following the outbreak of coronavirus in July 2020. Soon, AHH is coming up with a new centre at Nagarjuna hills amidst the lush green forest. It will probably be the biggest private sector operated Ayurveda institution in the country. According to Dr Koirala, it will be a state-of-the-art Ayurvedic health resort located just 10 kms from Thamel.
Already Rs 150 million has been invested in the construction of the centre which will open from around mid-March. “We will provide several treatments such as Kayakalpa, Jalauka Karma (leech therapy), Agni Karma (burn therapy), Marma Chikitsa (pressure therapy), Mantra Chikitsa (mantra therapy), sand, mud, soil and grass walking therapies, Uttar Basti, crystal, colour and stone healing and healing with potent medicinal herbs,” informs Dr Koirala. There will be ample space (huts and caves) for yoga and meditation, a medicinal plant garden, an organic vegetable farm, a vocational training centre and an ayurvedic medicine factory.
In the future, AHH plans to focus on diversifying their services with improved quality and standards. They also aim to develop a multidisciplinary approach for the treatment of new and emerging diseases. “Besides, we will also extend our counselling services and introduce special packages for pregnant single mothers,” says Dr Koirala.