Muscle Atropthy Ayurvedic Treatment

The thinning (wasting) of muscle mass is called muscle/ muscular atrophy. The common causes are muscle disuse (not using the muscle), malnutrition, lack of exercise, certain neurogenic disease etc. Disuse atrophy can be reversed by proper diet and exercises, but neurogenic atrophy is incurable. 

Signs and symptoms

 Reduced muscle bulk, one arm/ leg is small in size compared to other, muscle weakness, numbness, difficulty with walking/ balancing body/ swallowing and memory loss are the common signs/ symptoms. 

Ayurvedic analysis

 Mamsa dhatukshaya is the condition where the bulk of mamsadhatu (muscle tissue) is noticeably reduced with weakness. It is more visible at cheeks, neck, chest, abdomen, arms, legs and buttock region. 

Causative factors (Ayurveda)

Srotorodha (blocked channels of nourishment) in the mamsadhatu is the cause of dhatukshaya. Ayoga (reduced/ lack) of mamsakarma (functioning of muscles) leads to its kshaya. It can also be caused by ‘vyadhi karshana’ (debilitated due to certain diseases). 

Possible complications

 Chronic muscle atrophy will result in difficulty to perform day to day activities- like walking, standing, balancing the body, eat food, drink water; memory loss etc. 

Other systemic diseases and precautions to be taken

 Disuse muscle atrophy is usually seen among those who are- in a sedentary lifestyle, doing desk-job, malnourished, bed- ridden, lagging proper exercise, having genetic disorders (eg: Charcot Marie Tooth disease) or suffering from stroke. Neurogenic atrophy is associated with conditions like Guillain-Barre syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, injury to spinal cord etc. 


 Mamsa kshaya in vyadhikarshita cannot be cured, only symptomatic relief is assured. Proper diet and exercise are important in all types of mamsakshaya. The common line of treatment includes internal medication to remove the srotorodha and reduce the symptoms; snehana (eg: abhyanga/ external application of medicinal oil), swedana (mild- eg: njavara kizhi), nasya (nasal instillation of medicine), vasthi (with decoction, oil), lepana (external application of pasted medicine) etc. Physiotherapy, yoga and meditation are used as supportive therapies.  


 Whole grains, pulses, nuts, milk, meat soup, egg, curd and sweet fruits should be included in diet. Reduce the intake of spicy/ dry/ very hot or cold/ light food. Avoid skipping of meals. 


 Regular exercise is needed to enhance muscle health and power. Yoga is also beneficial along with pranayama (breathing exercises). Ensure functioning of every muscle in body. 

Preventive aspects

 Disuse atrophy: avoid sedentary habit, follow work-place yoga/ exercise protocol, exercise regularly, consume healthy nutritious diet and drink more water. 

 Due to other diseases: take proper care of the disease and prevent complications. 

Importance of diet

Healthy diet is very much important in disuse muscle atrophy. It nourishes the muscle tissues and increase bulk. Thus, enhances the strength of the muscles. 


Those who suffer from disuse atrophy should exercise regularly. Swimming is a good option. Take healthy nutritious diet. Avoid sedentary habit. Do cooling pranayama. Apply suitable oil (eg: Dhanwanthara taila/ kuzhambu) all over the body and bath in cold/ lukewarm water. 

  People with atrophy due to other causes are also recommended to do regular exercise even though it is an incurable condition. They can also use suitable oil for body (as per physician’s advice). 

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