Bones (and teeth) are referred to as asthi dhatu in Ayurveda. Asthi dhatu gives our body its structure and the ability to move around and perform multiple activities. This strong framework of our human body hence definitely needs a lot of care and attention. However, poor lifestyle and constant wear and tear tends to reduce the bone density. Moreover, as we age our body’s capability to form bone tissues reduces, leading to lowered bone density. During my decades of practice in Ayurveda treatment in Chennai, I have been seeing a consistently increasing number of people with complaints of bone weakness. A primary reason for this is definitely our today’s lifestyle. So let’s look at how Ayurveda looks at bone weaknesses and their solution.
Causes of bone density variations as per Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, bone density is connected to the balance between the vata, pitta, and kapha nature of the body. Any imbalance either reduces or increases the bone density. When the proportion of kapha is greater in the body the bones become denser, when the proportion of pitta is high the bones are not dense but they become weak, and when the proportion of vata is high the bone density becomes drastically low. Hence, different combinations of the vata, pitta, and kapha rogas lead to multiple bone conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and even bone cancer.
Here are some of the conditions that increase the propensity for bone conditions owing to varying bone densities:
- Menopause in women – which causes hormonal variances and hence affects production of bone tissues
- Heredity – genes definitely play a significant role in increasing the risk factor for bone diseases
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Thyroid hormone imbalances
- Corticosteroids and other medications that lead to loss of bone tissues
- Conditions that lead to loss of calcium from the blood through urine
- Increased tendency for fracture
- Elderly showing sudden decrease in weight
Ensuring healthy lifestyle with strong bones
Since Ayurveda categorizes poor bone density as a vata dosha, most treatments and lifestyle changes focus on overcoming this dosha.
- Abhyanga with sesame oil: Sesame oil is the most preferred oil for oil massages since they promote healthy bones.
- Increased calcium and vitamin D intake: Natural sources of calcium and vitamin D such as milk and other dairy products, beans, and grains help in protecting the bones
- Herbal medications: A wide range of herbal medications (e.g., ashwagandha and brahmi) protects the hormonal balance and prevents deterioration of the bone tissues
- Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are the best friends of healthy bones; hence add them more to your daily meals, starting with your glass of milk.
- Exposure to the sun: Now that’s not going to be tough for tropical countries! Make sure you go out in the sun every day for a brisk walk
- Reduce salt intake: Salt captures calcium and makes sure that it is removed from the body; hence watch the amount of salt you consume.
- Be active: Although we did mention that wear and tear reduces the bone density, a completely sedentary lifestyle too is quite dangerous. Hence include moderate physical activity as part of your daily routine. Yoga is extremely beneficial since many asanas specifically focus on improving bone quality.
- Panchakarma treatment: The complete detoxification procedure helps remove all the ama from the body and rejuvenate your bone tissues too
Conclusion – healthy you means healthy bones
Bone health is completely dependent on what you eat and how you live. Yes, heredity also matters, but with some strong support from Ayurveda treatment you can easily include a healthy regimen in your day-to-day life to eliminate most of the risks of reduced bone density.