Mamsa Dhatu-The muscular system of the body in Ayurvedic vision

What is Mamsa Dhatu?

The word mamsa literally means meat or flesh, but in Ayurveda, mamsa dhatu is the muscular system of the body, and also the ligamentsvitalitystrength, courage and the ``vehicle`` through which we express ourselves.

When the muscles are healthy, they work to express the needs and desires of the ego, and also they show the creative inspiration of the Divine. 

In other words, the body (our flesh) represent the ``vehicle`` of the Jivatman (Jiva - a living being, and Atman -the Being, the Innermost). Originated from the root jiv- 'to breathe,' Jivatman is used to mean the individual soul or essence, and the Paramatman (Paramatman or Paramātmā is the Absolute Atman or Supreme Self).

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In Ayurveda, mamsa is considered hot, dry, hard, unstable, rough, dense, gross, cloudy, heavy, and sharp is a combination of Pitta and Kapha Dosha.

Mamsa is the ``container``in which we live on this Earth, is the compression between the energies of the earth and those of the fire, the strength of the substance and the action, the physical strength and mobility.

When Mamsa is good developed, robust muscularity, endurance, self-confidence, and motivation are the predominant qualities.

When Mamsa is not in proper healthy state, weakness, inflexibility, lacking self-confidence, injury dominates the body.

Increased Mamsa causes stiff joints, tight muscles, rigid body, all being characteristics of Kapha.

Decreased Mamsa causes a tendency to injury, hypermobility, low muscles mass, weak joints which are related to Vata.

The excess of Mamsa is caused by excess protein diet, weight lifting and/or having Kapha or Pitta Prakriti and depletion is caused by inactivity, malnourishment and/or having Vata Prakriti.

Muscles are highly metabolic tissue, built from earth (the substance from which the massive structure of muscle is made) and fire (the source of focus and action) and motivated by air which represents the motion. grant physical strength and coordinated mobility

To create healthy mamsa dhatu, adequate earth foods should be consumed such as nuts, grains, root vegetables in which earth element is found in large amount.

It is recommended not to be eaten alone to build mamsa dhatu, the earth element should be properly digested through jatharagni (central digestive fire) and is required to be healthy, as well as the mamsagni which is affected directly by exercise (the more a person practices, the stronger mamsagni becomes).

A balanced Kapha provides for proper structure of the body and a balanced Pitta for proper metabolic function and a disturbance in those two leads to alterations of form and function.

The minimal formation of the muscles, thickness skin, and ligaments depend upon a person’s constitution. People with a Vata Prakruti have a minimum thickness of muscle, skin, and ligaments even when healthy and balanced.

Those with a Pitta nature have moderate muscle mass formation, an average thickness of the skin and ligaments. A Kapha has larger muscle mass, thicker skin, and ligaments.

Depends on the Dosha, the tissues are healthy if they are consistent in muscular formation with the Doshic balance of the person.

Excessive Kapha`s qualities result in a low mamsagni which leads in excessive mamsa dhatu formation but the tissue formed is hard, inflexible; the skin and ligaments of the body become thicker, tighter and more laborious.

Psychologically, self-confidence is quiet and strong, but the motivation and courage to take action are lacking.

Excessive qualities of Pitta results in high mamsagni which lead to less mamsa dhatu formation, the tissue formed is strong and lean; the skin and ligaments also become thinner, and all three are prone to inflammation and injury.

Psychologically, there is a strength of will, self-confidence is high along with the courage to take chances and move forward but is driven by the ego which often results in injury and inflammation within the mamsa dhatu if these desires are pushing too hard.

Excessive of Vata dosha results in a variable mamsagni, which means minimal and weak tissue formation with the skin and ligaments thin and prone to injury.

Psychologically, a minimum mamsa dhatu results in a lack of emotional strength, courage, and self-confidence, timidity, along with physical, and emotional fragility.

The health of the mamsa dhatu depends upon the flow of prana through Muladhara (quality of earth allowing us to feel grounded and anchored to the body), to Manipura and Vishuddha chakras increasing will and motivation.

Doshic disturbances of the body also disturb the mamsa dhatu and only when the dosha is healthy and balanced is it possible to utilize the mamsa dhatu at the highest level.

Healing the mamsa dhatu, it is necessary to restore the proper quantity and quality of earth and fire in the body and mind. The appropriate amount is based upon the constitutional tendency of the individual.

To know the health of the mamsa dhatu, the muscles, ligaments, and skin which tends to become dry, and red rashes qualities of Vata should be evaluated.

When Kapha qualities have entered in the mamsa dhatu the number of heavy foods (nuts, grains, meats, and legumes should be reduced, and lighter foods such as seed and vegetables are recommended) and increasing Agni to enhance muscle metabolism.

The pungent taste also reduces mamsa dhatu and increase Agni.
Aerobic exercise and yoga asanas are also recommended to improve flexibility and blood flow to the muscles.

When Pitta has entered the mamsa dhatu it is indicated to reduce the strength of jatharagni and mamsagni; Jatharagni is reduced through cooling foods such as milk, butter, bitter vegetables, wheat, and oats.

The best taste is the bitter one which helps quickly to reduce all the Agnis; the sweet taste nourishes mamsa, is better for the long-term management of high Agni, it is heavy with long-lasting and protection against the heat.

With each dhatus, the previous layer of tissue plays a crucial role in the nourishment of the current one.

The blood (rakta dhatu) energizes the muscle which provides warmth and fire for the muscles to grow. A protein diet, eggs, sesame seeds, almonds, adding hot spices to the cold, sweet foods above are useful to build mamsa.

Be aware of sweet, cold foods which build fat tissue instead of muscle growth.

Herbs such as mint, rosemary, and cloves, increase the circulation of blood and oxygen the muscles having an affinity for mamas as pain relieving formulas.