In 1996 Dr. Simone Hunziker creates in Lausanne a multidisciplinary therapy centre called “L'Essens”, an avant-garde initiative in integrative medicine where, between 1998 and 2003, practitioners and therapists will offer care in a dozen of disciplines, including acupuncture, chromopuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, kinesiology, manual lymph drainage, reflexology, nutrition and psychology.
In 2001, the centre integrates ayurvedic medicine. Dr. Simone Hunziker finds the answer to her quest for a complete and powerful traditional medical system and decides to devote herself entirely to the promotion of Ayurveda.
In 2003, L'Essens merges with the Ayurveda therapy centre Kalaguna based in Vevey, and becomes Kalaguna-Sadhana. It is in this new pioneer centre for Ayurveda that a certified training program for Ayurveda therapists is launched, thus becoming the first centre for Ayurveda therapy and training in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
Having become a professional school for Ayurveda in 2004, Kalaguna-Sadhana will train more than 140 therapists until 2018. That training is then put on hold in order to set up a wider academic team, allowing to meet the long term demand of therapists for the training towards the Swiss federal diploma.
Since 2005, Dr. Simone Hunziker, working as a recognized expert and running a pilot school that serves as a reference, has been a militant and major player in the process of regulating Ayurveda in Switzerland. Under her presidency from 2008 to 2014, VSAMT regulates Ayurveda under the aegis of SEFRI, within the framework of the new professions in complementary therapy and alternative medicine.
In 2009, a new entity is created to consolidate the development of training, under the name of SAMA - Swiss Ayurvedic Medical Academy, which takes over all the activities of the Kalaguna-Sadhana centre. From then on, working part-time in India, Dr. Simone Hunziker will launch several close partnerships with major Indian institutions in order to develop clinical practice and training in Ayurvedic medicine at a high level. Since then, SAMA also proposes training seminars in partner institutions in India.
In early 2012, Dr. U. Indulal joins Dr. Simone Hunziker in designing a training program in Ayurvedic medicine. Their vision is to contribute to the promotion of Ayurveda as a medical system by an elite trained according to authentic principles and having the tools to work in contemporary health systems. In order to give Swiss and international students access to high-level training, they have based their work on Swiss regulations, WHO guidelines on the one hand, and on collaboration with reference partners in India on the other.
After being appointed in 2009 member of the steering committee of the International Working Groups for Ayurveda (IWGA) by AYUSH, Dr. Simone Hunziker and the ISA Foundation, created in 2013, are promoting the Swiss regulatory model for the institutionalization of Ayurveda on the international level. The latter is recognized by the Indian government in 2016. In 2018, Dr. Simone Hunziker is been appointed as a WHO expert for the development of benchmarks for Ayurveda.
In 2015, after three years of preparation, the first promotion of pioneering students in Ayurvedic medicine starts under the title of MedVaidya, a professional training program preparing for the federal diploma allowing them to officially practice Ayurvedic medicine in Switzerland and be reimbursed by health insurances. This program already distinguishes itself from other training courses in Europe by its density and volume, by its content inspired by the university syllabus for Ayurveda medicine (CCIM) in India, as well as by its quest for authenticity.
In autumn 2018, while the first promotion reaches the end of the training, a review of the pilot phase of MedVaidya training program is carried out. On its basis, an important work is initiated to improve the structure of the academic concept and enrich its content. A didactic and pedagogical approach, including notably the introduction of assistance to students through mentoring and coaching or the use of state-of-the-art technological and IT tools do characterise the two new MedVaidya training paths for practitioners and physicians. Together they sum up to a total of 24 modules covering Ayurveda and modern medicine.
The official recognition of Ayurveda as a medical system, being now acquired, is marking for SAMA the passage from the pioneer era to the one of maturity. The need and demand for care and training in Ayurveda medicine and therapy is growing rapidly. A new Board of Directors is constituted, surrounding Dr. Simone Hunziker and providing the institution with new resources to prepare for the future. Under the chairmanship of Charles Elie Nicollerat, this Board is working on revamping, on consolidating and developing the structure of the Academy, both at the school and therapy centre level.