This research project explores the culture of Ayurveda in the United States. I used formal and informal interviews as well as participant observation to examine how Ayurveda has developed since its introduction to the U.S. in the 1980s. During my research period I visited an ashram with an Ayurvedic spa in Northern California. I had eight hour-long phone classes with the owner of an herb shop in Maryland. In this paper I use Arthur Kleinman’s theory of cultural systems; Hans Baer, Merrill Singer and John H. Johnsen’s theory of Critical Medical Anthropology; and finally Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Margaret Lock’s theory of the body politic to investigate how Ayurveda fits into the culture of the U.S. I discovered that Ayurveda in the U.S. is a lifestyle rather than just a medical system or spa treatment. Further, Ayurveda is growing and may begin to merge with the biomedical system of the U.S.


Craven, Christa


Sociology and Anthropology


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Medicine and Health | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Ayurveda, Medicine, United States, Anthropology, Ethnographic

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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