Dr. Vinita Agarwal, Professor, Salisbury University, Md., USA (official website; Ph.D. Communication, Purdue University, 2009).

Agarwal, V. (2020). Medical humanism, chronic illness, and the body in pain: An ecology of wholeness. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books.


Publisher’s URL: Rowman & Littlefield: ISBN, Hardback: 978-1-4985-9645-9 • 2020 •

ISBN, eBook: 978-1-4985-9646-6 • August 2020

Book Review:

Kaminski, C. (2022). Book review: “Medical humanism, chronic illness, and the
body in pain: An ecology of wholeness.” Health Communication, 37(8),

How individuals feel whole, not as a binary between disease and health or being in pain or pain-free is central to being healthy. My research focuses on strategic health communication, often in the domain of patient-provider communication in therapeutic and integrative medicine settings. In this area, my interest is in conceptualizing whole-person-centered care that integrates the therapeutic relationship and healing communication approach of distinct but synergistic traditional global medical systems like Ayurveda and biomedical knowledge systems in chronic illness and chronic pain self-management, health promotion, and disease prevention.

International Congress for Integrative Medicine & Health, Global Advances in Health & Medicine, conference proceedings–1 [Reconceptualizing pain]

International Congress for Integrative Medicine & Health, Global Advances in Health & Medicine, conference proceedings–2 [Interdependence in Integrative Medicine]

By taking an interpretive methodological approach, my research seeks a patient-centered, narrative, and experiential mode to help individuals construct and achieve their health and healing outcomes.

[Research & publications sample] [An overview of my research agenda: NCA Inside Out]

[A recent methods article [SAGE Research Methods & Cases: Medicine and Health]

[Special acknowledgments: Relieving pain in America, at bottom]

Through my own embodied training and practice, I am interested in contributing to enhancing pragmatic and theoretical knowledge of how we achieve healing alongside health outcomes for CAM providers and patients addressing challenges in chronic care and long-term therapeutic pain management. In these and related contexts, I examine individual empowerment, provider understanding and communication, and the provider-patient relationship and in defining the patient’s quality of life [e.g., a talk at a care coordinators team workshop] My research (selected; below), seeks to contribute to provider-patient & health communication contexts: 

My early research was on women’s conceptualization of maternal health practices at the intersection of traditional Indian Ayurvedic approaches and the biomedical system in their practices as migrants in a temporary settlement community in New Delhi (basti/slum).

Taking care, bringing life: A poststructuralist feminist analysis of maternal health discourses of mothers and dai‘s in India. Health Communication, 33, 423-432. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2016.1278492

Basti 2011, India maternal health research field work album

2008. Trialectics of migrant and global representation: Real, imaginary, and online spaces of empowerment in Cybermohalla, Western Journal of Communication, 72, doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/10570310802445975

2013. I have a paper investigating the cross-validation of trust and behavior change research (2014, vaccination behaviors in young adults, Journal of American College Health) that illustrates this line of work.

As a part of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy), Ayurveda is one of India’s five recognized systems of medicine. Ayurveda is a 5000-year old whole-person system of medicine that originated in India and comprises eight branches (e.g., kaya chikitsa–internal medicine, shalya chikitsa-surgery, damstra chikitsa–toxicology, graha chikitsa–psychology). It is premised on the connections between the environment, food and nutrition, sustainable lifestyle, and mindfulness of the balance and circularity of all manifestation as centering our existence. In my research on traditional medicine approaches as they intersect with our present-day health, healing, and wellness models, most recently, I completed data gathering for a study to understand the Ayurvedic physician’s mind-body approach in chronic pain management and an Advanced Course in Ayurvedic Diet and Nutrition from India.

A recent article from this project:

Agarwal, V. (2020). Patient assessment and chronic pain self-management in ethnomedicine: Seasonal and ecosystemic embodiment in Ayurvedic patient-centered care. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(8), 2842. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082842. Published in the special issue: Beyond Conventional Medicine: Ethnomedical Approaches for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

An Encyclopedia Entry from this project:

Agarwal, V. (2022). Complementary and Integrative Healthcare: Ayurveda and yoga. International Encyclopedia of Health Communication (ISBN:
9781119678816). West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

During my research visit to India in 2019, I gained theoretical and practical knowledge of Ayurveda’s philosophical basis of evaluating and tailoring diet and nutrition as it informs the three physiological (panchbautic), energy (doshas, agni), and cognitive (chitta) aspects of the human body and mind through universal principles (e.g., rasa, dhatus, veerya, vipaka, prabhav) as they operate in each individual (prakriti). My Ayurveda Wellness Education Training certificate helps me better understand and communicate the potential and challenges underlying the integration of the philosophy and treatment approach of traditional healing systems (including provider-patient knowledge of and communication of preventive medicine). Likewise, my Ayurveda for Health Professionals training (70 hours) certificate provides me with a unique insight into the integrative potential of Ayurvedic protocols in the biomedical model for treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes, headaches, digestive concerns, and other lifestyle-based conditions.

International Academy of Ayurveda, Pune, India: Album

Ayurveda training, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA: album

I am interested in understanding the mind-body relationship in healing at multiple levels, including patient-centered care in domains such as cancer survivorship and chronic pain management. My research examines the aspect of healing constituted through communication–whether this is in therapeutic relationships or in mind-body self-reflexive communication.

Conference proceedings, Symposium on Yoga Research, Tailoring Patanjali’s sutra’s to empower, restore, and heal.

Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, MA album

I practice Vipassana meditation, every morning between 4 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. and early evenings. It is India’s most ancient and purist form of meditation, as taught in the present-day by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagi U Ba Khin following the Buddha’s teachings. I completed the 10-day meditation course at the Dhamma Giri center, one of the world’s largest Vipassana meditation centers located in Igatpuri, Nasik, Maharashtra, India. 

Dhamma Giri (full album) | Ayurveda Advanced Diet and Nutrition Course, IAA, Pune | Shirdi, Shani Shingnapur, Ashtavinayak Mahaganpati Ranjangaon temple | Countryside and Travel

**All Rights Reserved. (c) Vinita Agarwal. All content, photographs, and ideas expressed on this site and each of my sites linked from here belong to the author.