Dr. Padma Bajracharya graduated as an Ayurveda Doctor from Nepal’s Trivuwan University and holds a postgraduate diploma in Panchakarma (PGDPK) from Hardiwar, India. Four years ago—despite challenges resulting from the devastating 2015 earthquake—Dr. Padma co-founded Moksha Ayurveda & Panchakarma Center in Patan, just across the river from Kathmandu. As the center’s Medical Director, Dr. Padma now uses her specialized knowledge of local medicinal plants and ancient healing modalities to provide a unique, holistic Ayurvedic wellness program that serves foreign tourists and local patients alike.
Unearth Women (UW): What first inspired you to study Ayurveda?
Dr. Padma Bajracharya (PB): I was always interested in botany, and when I thought about studying plants, I thought it would be better to do it focused on medicine. It was actually my father who always pushed me to study it—he knew there was a college where you could study Ayurveda. He gave me a choice and then I decided to explore it. I took the exam and luckily I got in, because there used to be only fifteen scholarship seats. At that time there was only one Ayurveda college in the whole of Nepal.
Ayurveda is a holistic approach and it’s been around for 5,000 years—these things were practiced at that time, and so many are still applicable today. It may seem like outdated thing, but when you practice it you see the results. You can feel that something is there. We need Ayurveda for both the physical body and mind.
UW: What are some of the challenges you faced on your career path?
PB: It’s difficult to convince people [about the benefits of Ayurveda]. The allopathic medicine system has been the go-to, and so Ayurveda still needs to find its place. Sometimes Ayurvedic medicine needs a little more time to take effect compared to the often immediate results of allopathic medicine.
Also, many people don’t know that there’s a college of Ayurveda, or that the opportunity to become an Ayurveda doctor exists. People assume it’s traditional practitioners, who they see as very limited—so they think that the knowledge (in Ayurveda) is very limited as well.
UW: Tell me about how you founded the Moksha Ayurvedic and Panchakarma Center in Nepal?
PB: It was 2015, the year that we had the earthquake. The day that we had the earthquake, that was the day that we thought ‘OK, now we’re going to initiate the work.’ We’d registered, and on that day we had interviews with potential employees who came from the nearby village. While en route to their interviews, the earthquake happened. Everything was shut down as a result of the earthquake, and other companies were cutting off their employees, but that was the time that we started our business. The therapists returned back home for a while, and then after that we began work.
UW: What is your advice to women keen to follow your career path?
PB: In every profession there are challenges, but you need to be confident in yourself, believe in yourself, and never hesitate to learn new things. I think you learn by experiencing things, so believe in yourself and just do your work with determination and everything will go well.
UW: Is there a woman in your life who has been a significant role model for you?
PB: I would say my mom, because we’re five sisters and she used to be just a housewife taking care of us. Later on, she started working in her 40s. She learned to carve stone sculptures and hasn’t stopped since. She founded a company that’s a factory and generated more work for other women in Nepal. She has such courage to learn new things, while also taking good care of her home and family.
UW: What is the hope behind establishing the Moksha Ayurvedic and Panchakarma Center?
PB: Our motto is “Journey to blissful health,” and that has two parts—the preventative and the curative. We’re working on promoting the preventative aspect as well, and creating a healthier environment in our country. This is not only related to bodily health, but to the four dimensions of health, as we say in Ayurveda—body, mental, spiritual and sensory health all go together. We’re also contributing to tourism, because we’re focusing not only on local people but on foreign clients as well. We have many clients from Nepal, but slightly more from the foreign sector—it’s probably about a 60/40 split right now. We’re also looking to increase employment here in Nepal, especially following the 2015 earthquake.
UW: What are some ways women can benefit from Ayurvedic treatments?
PB: Because women—especially in Asian countries—are most often the ones handling their houses, if they’re trained in knowledge about health then they can help the whole family to be healthier. We say that healing starts in the kitchen and so much of the medicine that we use can be found in our food, from spices to vegetables. By learning about Ayurveda, women are not only helping themselves, but also their families.
Spiritually, women are very sensitive, because they’re often not only working, but then coming home from their job and also doing the housework. They’re more sensitive and they need more pampering, which Ayurveda promotes with its holistic approach to health.
UW: How has your business changed over the years? What does the future look like for your business?
PB: We are seeing our yearly data and the number of clients we receive growing. The number of clients we receive from different countries has also been growing. We have clients from around 92 different countries.
In the future, we’d like to keep promoting health—especially now, with all of the stress, and how people’s lifestyles have been impacting their health. We’d like to advocate for a healthier lifestyle—not only using medicine, but also with other aspects that could be done naturally. We’d like to have a healing center very near to nature. I think that this is what people need— so they can just get away from the busy life of the city, cut off all of the technology and feel more peaceful.