French osteopath Laugel Adrien hopes to open a full-ﬂedged Ayurveda centre in France
The desire to study plants and their medicinal properties has taken 26-year-old French osteopath Laugel Adrien to different parts of the world, from South America to South Asia. But what brings him to Kerala is his deep interest to learn Ayurveda.
“It is not to learn massage as many people do. I want to learn to diagnose and prescribe medicines under the Ayurveda system of medicine,” says Adrien, who has been working with city-based Ayurveda practitioner Satish for the last six months.
He was curious to know more about this indigenous system of medicine after his mother got relief from acute lower back pain following her trip to Kerala for Ayurveda treatment. “There are spas and massage centres in France that claim to offer Ayurveda treatment but not all of them treat patients or prescribe medicines. As far as I know there are only two centres that offer proper Ayurveda treatment,” explains Adrien who has completed a five-year course in osteopathy in France.
In association with Dr. Satish, he plans to open a holistic Ayurveda centre of his own at his hometown in Antibes. He hopes to export the necessary medicines and treatment tables from Kerala. “I have several patients in Europe who come to Kerala for treatment. Once we have this centre, travel becomes easy for them and, more importantly, they would have an Ayurveda expert on call in France itself. Unlike many Westerners who only skim through the procedures and treatment of Ayurveda, Adrien wants to make a thorough study of the system, including Panchakarma,” says Dr. Satish while Adrien also says all nice things about his “guru”.
His first trip to India was fuelled by his interest in Buddhism. Adrien spent a month in Leh, where he did voluntary work in a monastery there. “It was so pristine… in the lap of the mountains, a holy place,” recalls an awe-struck Adrien.
Prior to his tryst with Ayurveda, Adrien travelled to Amazonia in Peru to learn about the rare plants there. “It was a truly amazing one-month trip. Deep in the forest, you get the chance to immerse yourself in nature and shut out all sounds and sights of civilisation. The only sounds were those of the trees and the animals. Bird song was every where. But it would be almost impossible for a stranger to survive on his or her own in the forest,” he says.
At the fag end of his stay in the city, Adrien is bustling with observations about the people and their way of life. “I really like the food here, especially puttu, kadala, idli, ‘barotta’, paneer…,” says Adrien who is trying to become a vegetarian. He has picked up a smattering of Malayalam words that he peppers his conversation with. As we prepare to bid goodbye, he folds his hands in a graceful ‘namaste’ and says ‘pinnay kanaam’ (see you again).