How your digestion is connected to your muscle pain
“Mamsa” is the Sanskrit word for ‘muscular tissue’. According to Ayurveda, “Mamsagata Vata” is a condition that causes heaviness in the limbs, throbbing pain, swelling that becomes hard and discolored, nodule formation and more. It is caused when the aggravated Vata affects the muscle tissue.
An increase in Vata affects the muscle tissue
The Mansadhatu [i.e. muscles] is the third Dhatu in the sequence of the seven tissues. Its function is “Lepana”, which means ‘to protect or to cover the various organs of the human body’.
According to Ayurveda, most of the activities of the body are carried out with the contraction and the relaxation of the Mansdhatu (muscles). These activities are controlled by Vata Dosha.
Ayurveda believes that low digestive fire (Mandagni) plays an important role in the manifestation of most diseases, and its sluggishness results in the production of Ama. This leads to improper production of nutritional juices.
Ama starts to travel in the circulatory system along with these juices to target certain sites. Proper nutrition is not provided to the entire tissue system, resulting in the loss of successive tissues which further vitiates Vata and thus leads to production of more Ama.
In case of fibromyalgia, this Ama & Vata get lodged in the plasma-like fluids, blood tissues, muscles and bony tissues but due to weakened muscles, this is where the symptoms are seen most pronounced.
Factors that cause increase of Vata
- Incompatible food
- Exercising after consuming oily foods
- Exposure to excessive worry, fear, grief etc.
In cases like these, Vata becomes aggravated and decreases tissue quality (prime tissue made after digestion, blood, muscles, ligaments, tendons etc.), while the digestive fire (Agni) is vitiated.
A state of poor digestion ensues and results in the formation of toxins. The fermentation of this Ama brings about sourness, transforming it to a sort of ‘Ama poison’. With the help of the vitiated Vata, it starts to travel around the body.
What happens after that?
Ama starts spreading in the body, and in this case, causing pain and stiffness to the muscles.
How to deal with it (subject to AMA involvement)
Fasting is the first line of treatment in such conditions. The Charaka advises fasting and related therapies in conditions like muscle stiffening etc. In the Yogratnakara too, fasting and related therapies have been specified as the best measure for the treatment of Ama. (The Charaka and Yogratnakara are ancient texts of Ayurveda).
It has been described that Sama Dosha (dosha along with the tenacious Ama association) cannot be eliminated from the body unless and until Ama attains the “Pakva” or the fully digested form, and for this purpose, fasting is the best therapy. Fasting is contraindicated in a Vata aggravation, but is indicated in a Sama vata condition.
Therefore, it is imperative to stop fasting as soon as the Ama has been dealt with.
Steam therapy (Swedana) is well recognized in the management of stiffness and pains in the body.
In the management of conditions like these, dry fomentation has been advocated in the form of a ‘sand bag’ heat pack, owing to the presence of Ama. In the chronic stage of the disease, when there is excessive dryness, other methods of fomentation can be employed. This process has been specially indicated if you experience stiffness, heaviness and pain, and these manifest as the predominant features of fibromyalgia. In this disease, sipping on hot water – a kind of internal fomentation – is also indicated. This helps digest and eliminate toxins. The process also helps in liquefying doshas and aids in their transportation from the peripheries to the gastro intestinal tract, so that they can be eliminated by cleansing therapies.
Rasna Erandadi kashayam, a herbal preparation in liquid form helps increase Agni, digest Ama, remove excessive Kapha and prevent further production of these digestive toxins. Elim Tox-o may also help.
In Mansagata vata, the management can include herbal purgation therapy due to the involvement of muscle and blood tissue.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this document may be viewed as the diagnosis or treatment of any medical disease whatsoever. The contents of this document are the opinions of the author based on his/her learning and experience. This document is meant only for educational purposes. The Ayurveda Experience is not liable or responsible for the suggestions made herein.
Please consult your primary care physician before implementing any change in your diet or lifestyle.