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This article was first published 14 years ago

Lack of trained hands worries Ayurveda industry

Last updated on: April 30, 2010 08:38 IST

Image: A therapist waits for customers at the Taj Wellington Mews in Mumbai.
Photographs: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Reuters Usha Ram Manohar in Kochi

Mushrooming Ayurvedic spas and wellness clinics are attracting many people to Kerala but lack of adequate trained manpower is a cause of worry to the industry, say sources.

Beauty and wellness treatments, weight reduction, stress management and specialised treatments are among those offered at the spas and wellness clinics.

However, the Ayurveda industry is facing a shortage of qualified and trained personnel.

India alone needs 20,000 trained therapists while the mushrooming Ayurvedic spas in the US, Germany, Russia, Singapore and Malaysia and West Asian countries would need trained hands numbering several lakhs, Confederation of Indian Industry sources in Kochi said.

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Lack of trained hands worries Ayurveda industry

"For the next few years, the industry's annual requirement of trained therapists would exceed 20,000. The problems is of lack of quality hands. There is a huge gap between the demand and supply," says S Sajikumar, managing director, Dhathri Ayurveda Private Ltd.

Dhathri plans to recruit about 2000 personnel to meet its immediate expansion plans, he said.

The company, which would soon extend its clinics to various parts of India and West Asia, was hunting for 160 Ayurvedic physicians.

The spas and wellness clinics are mainly to attract the floating population, including tourists. Kerala Ayurveda has wellness clinics at Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Coimbatore and Hyderabad, which is mainly frequented by the IT crowd.

Globally the wellness industry is estimated at over $250 billion.

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Lack of trained hands worries Ayurveda industry

Image: Therapists prepare a traditional Ayurvedic massage room for a customer.
Photographs: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Reuters

There are about 75,000 standard spas world over that provide direct employment to about 1.5 million people, according to CII sources.

The spa industry has witnessed substantial growth in the last decade and the spa concept has become a significant part of the dynamic hospitality and leisure industry, the sources said.

In India, there are over 2300 spas that have created direct and indirect employment for about 400,000 people.

In the next four years, 700 new spas, both homegrown and international brands, will open in India to meet the growing demand, the sources said.

Hotel spas is another growing category where spas can contribute upto 15 per cent of a hotel's revenue.

At present, India has around 20-25 major spa centres, most of them spread in the southern states -- Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Besides there are 3400 AYUSH hosptials in the country and 12 yoga hosptials also, Saji Kumar said.

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Lack of trained hands worries Ayurveda industry

Image: Instructor Momoe Yamamoto demonstrates yoga.
Photographs: Kiyoshi Ota/Reuters

The wellness services market here was expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 30-35 per cent for the next five years.

There was increased demand for qualified staff with supervisory and management skills relevant to the management of spa facilities.

There were also international career prospects for students in resorts, spas, wellness centers, he said.

The demand for Ayruvedic doctors and Ayurvedic chemsits is skyrocketing. Presently, there are over 600,000 registered Ayurvedic practioners, he said.

But considering the growing popularity of the market, which comprises about 15,000 Ayurvedic and herbal products worth Rs 6,000 crore (Rs 60 billion) and over 20,000 ayurvedic drugs manufacturing pharmacies, there was acute requirement of trained manpower, he said.

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Lack of trained hands worries Ayurveda industry

Image: Ex-Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee (L) lights a lamp at an Ayurvedic conference.
Photographs: Sunil Malhotra/Reuters

Yash Birla group owned Birla Kerala Vaidhyashala also plans to open 200 new Ayurvedic treatment centres within five years across cities in India with a Rs 50-crore (Rs 500-million) investment.

The group would have its spa centres across Kerala, Goa, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai, Harshajeet Kuroop, Managing Director, said.

The BKV specialises in offering treatments for lifestyle and chronic health disorders with herbal medicines and oils prepared in-house.

Ayurvedic rejuvenation packages and day spa procedures will also be available.

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