School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion


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Meet Your Practitioner: John Immel

Drawing on years of research and clinical experience specializing in digestive disorders, John Immel directs the Joyful Belly Institute’s Master of Ayurvedic Digestion 500 hour program. He is the founder of Joyful Belly, an educational Ayurvedic health care website, and oversees the Joyful Belly Clinic.

John studied Ayurveda under Dr. Vasant Lad and is specialized in the advanced treatment of digestive tract pathology. He holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University. He first discovered Ayurveda while working on a public health project in Bangladesh. John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel.

After witnessing Ayurveda's compelling efficiency and practical ease in treatment of his own digestive disorder, John was convinced others could benefit. He sought a way introduce Ayurveda to the broader American public and make it more culturally accessible. This was the genesis of Joyful Belly. Using ingredients familiar from his childhood, John created thousands of Ayurvedic recipes for the average American. Joyful Belly proves Ayurveda is practical way to improve everyday health & wellness. His simple, direct and familiar approach has helped thousands on their journey to health. John recently published, "Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food" with co-author Natalie Immel.

He is a member of NAMA, the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, and AAPNA, the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America.

John's Style

Unlike other traditions, Ayurveda practitioners have to be great teachers so that clients can learn how to self-heal. As a teacher, I strive not only to communicate the basic principles of Ayurveda, but to bring Ayurveda to life by sharing my personal healing journey, and the healing I have personally experienced as a practitioner. When I am at my best, you will find that my presentations are rich with anecdotes. Despite the seriousness of the topic, you will find I maintain a sense of humor as we discuss the blood and guts of health. This humor often comes at my own expense, which I hope you will enjoy!

On a more emotional level, I place a great deal of emphasis on empathy in every interaction I have with my students and my clients. The fundamental skill of empathy is the ability to walk in another's shoes. As a empathetic person, I always strive to appreciate and learn from your perspective and vantage point. I want to know you, and what makes you the person that you are.

Yet, the most important quality and teaching skill I possess is neither language nor empathy. Instead, it is my enthusiasm for Ayurveda, and for you. I am eager to give myself fully and passionately to your learning process. This enthusiasm is the true source of my confidence. Why am I so enthusiastic? Where does the boundless energy I offer to teach others how to heal come from? The bottomless well of energy I bring to our discussions springs from my great faith in each and every individual's capacity to learn and grow. Teaching is therefore a true celebration for me. This great hope I've invested in teaching is something I will never give up on, which means I will never give up on you!

Clinical Specialties While John's clinical practice spans the range from digestion to elimination, and weight loss, John's clinical focus is in:

  • Functional digestive disorders connected to stress
  • Improving enzyme production & absorption.

John's Personal Background

John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing.

As a Catholic, John brings a unique perspective to Ayurveda. Jesus' primary ministry was to feed and heal the sick. His ministry is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well. John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church.

He is fluent in Bengali and French, and enjoys studying Sanskrit, Arabic, and more recently, Swedish. In addition to his passion for Ayurveda, John enjoys spending time with his family and praying, two activities which he believes are essential to any health and wellness counselor. John grew up on the East End of Long Island, and spent much of his childhood on the bays of the South Shore of Long Island.

From John's Clients

I have tried several things over the years and am pleased to report that this is the first system that truly makes sense. People I haven't seen in 6 months are amazed at how my appearance has changed physically and energetically...I feel like I have come home again!

I was dubious about doing this online. You have made it comfortable and your wealth of information you share beyond just the foods required are priceless. You are a teacher as well as a consultant on a food system.

What is Joyful Belly?

Browse recipes and hundreds of other ingredients on this extensive educational website. Joyful Belly helps people confidently choose food that restores their healthy glow, using the ancient technique of Ayurveda. Our extensive collection of online recipes, ingredients, and articles makes health easy. To get started, take the free dosha quiz to find your Ayurvedic body type.

What is Ayurveda?

Learn about Ayurveda from the author of this article and founder of Joyful Belly,
John Immel.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information and products on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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