Ayurvedic Therapy for Healthy Bones, Joints and Muscles

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Bones, Joints and Muscles are part of the connective tissues inside the human body. Without these structures body does not exist. Imagine your body without them. You will then realize it has no solid existence.

 

Muscles, Bones & Joints are part of our musculoskeletal system. Let us understand this briefly. The structural and functional unit of human body is the Cell. Group of cells with similar characteristics are called Tissues. Within a simple single living cell the earth element predominates by giving a structure to the cell. A human being is a multi-cellular organism. According to Ayurveda, the earth manifests itself in the solid structures of the body like muscles, bones, cartilages, teeth, hair etc. Air is responsible for all the kinds of movement.

 

Human Brain is of no use without other parts of the body just as the reverse is true. Actions are impossible without muscles, bones, joints & their coordination with the brain.

According to Ayurveda Muscle and Bones are Dhatus

Dharanat Dhatavah means the body structures which support or hold the complete body are known as Dhatu. Bones & muscles are named as Asthi & Mamsa /Peshi respectively. There are paternal (Pitruja anga) & maternal (Matruj) parts in the body.

 

Both are like two sides of one coin. Therefore, the musculoskeletal system should be taken care of together. Vata resides in Asthi dhatu throughout the body. Two or more bones come together to form a joint. Joints exist in various shapes and sizes. 

Bones: According to Ayurveda there are 360 bones in our body while modern science says there are 206. 

Joints: 230 plus joints exist in the body.

Muscles: There are 500 muscles present in the body of which 400 muscles are present in our extremities and the rest are located in our trunk. 35 to 40% of our body mass consist of muscles.

It is therefore imperative for us to take care of this system. Failure to do so can result in various illnesses namely –

  • Arthritis – Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gouty Arthritis.
  • Osteoporosis. 
  • Spondylisis - Cervical, Thoracic & Lumbar. 
  • Ankylosing Spondylisis, Fibromyalgia, Tendonitis, Cramps, Mysositis, Myasthenia gravis, Hypertonia and Myopathy. 
  •       Frozen Shoulder.

Ayurveda advocates changes in diet and lifestyle and two important types of treatments to keep bones, joints and muscles healthy.

Samshodhan Therapy: This includes cleansing of toxins from muscle and bone tissues through loosening, aggravation and elimination from the body.

Panchkarma Therapy should be taken once or twice a year to keep the mind and body healthy.  

To keep our musculoskeletal system healthy Basti karma is strongly recommended because it's comes under Vata dosh dusthi.

Basti involves introduction of medicinal substances for e.g. herbal oils and decoctions, in a liquid medium, into the rectum of the person. This is because vata is predominantly located in the colon and bones. There are 80 types of Vata dosha disorders that can be cured by Basti treatment.

 It is the gem of all panchkarma therapies. Basti means to stay. In this medicated oil or decoction is allowed to stay at a particular place for a particular time. This way tissues can absorb the medication and circulates in the internal system. This helps to eliminate dosha-Dushti & enable healing of the tissues. 

According to Charaka along with proper analysis of strength of the patient and disease, predominant dosha, time, constitution and the drugs should be selected in Basti therapy to cure the particular illness. For example in Rheumatoid Arthritis Ama (Toxins) & Vat dosha is predominant but in kapha constitute patients can be treated with langhan & rukshan to reduce swelling of joints then use kshar basti. If patient is of pitta constitute then it can be treated with local cold packs - lepan therapy to reduce pain & inflammation of joints.  

 

Types of Basti 

Aasthapan Basti/Nirhua Basti (Decoction enema): This treatment is predominantly used to treat musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis, muscle stiffness and nervous disorders, constipation indigestion, flatulence; amenorrhoea and infertility etc.

Herbal decoction and small amounts of oil such as medicinal kashaya / honey etc can be used to treat the ailments. (Kashaya is a liquid that includes herbs, oils etc). It helps eliminate contaminated vayu or toxins from the body & increase lifespan. Hence, it is known as Niruha or Asthapana basti respectively.

Anuvasana Basti (Fat /Ghee enema): In this basti mainly medicated ghee or sneha is used & as per individual needs, allowed to stay for a longer period inside intestine, bladder or uterus.

Types of basti based on number of Basti are Karma Basti 30 enemas, Kaal Basti 16 enemas and Yoga Basti 8 enemas.  

Different types of basti have different benefits. According to Maharshi Sushruta the benefits of individual basti are - Shodhan basti is cleansing, Lekhan basti is scraping, Snehan is oletion (oil massage) and Bruhan is nourishments.

Samshamana Therapy: Snehan & Svedan etc comes under this therapy which is very effective in nourishment of bones tissues, deep relaxation to the muscles tissue, and makes the mind calm.

Abhyanga, Pottali massage, local massage & local basti like Janu basti, Kati basti etc treatments are considered effective to increase the strength & range of movements of selected joints or part of the body.

Sunbathing - Vitamin D received through sunbathing helps in calcium absorption in the small intestine.  

These therapies prevent wear & tear of body tissues and helps in systemic circulation. Problems like osteoporosis etc can be prevented if done on a regular basis.

Ayurveda medication for bones, joints & muscles health

1. Tonics preparations of Shatavari, Ashvagandha etc 

2. Calcium supplements - Praval pishti,Mukta vati etc

3. Guggul preparation - Mahayograj Guggul, Sinhanad Guggul, Triphala guggul, Lakshadi guggul, Kanchnar guggul etc. 

During my practice I found that Basti therapies have worked very well for patients suffering from musculoskeletal disorders. It has an amazing power to cure vata dushti.

Yoga when done alongside Ayurvedic therapy makes the treatment more effective. It nourishes each and every cell & tissue of the body, restores muscle strength & flexibility by preventing unnecessary & uneven strain on muscles & joints. Suggested asanas are Ustrasana, Shashankasana, Brahmamudra, Vrikshasana, Paschimottanasana, and Setubandhaasana.

In short, Yat Pinde tat brahmand, the whole world is inside us. It is up to us to nourish & maintain our musculoskeletal system for optimum lifelong performance.