In Ayurveda, there are seven tissues, or dhatus, that compose the body. Little do we think about these incredible tissues that regulate, organize and responsibly function out bodies. Below is a breakdown of the seven dhatus from an Ayurvedic perspective.
- Rasa : Is the primary liquid of the body including plasma, lymph, interstitial fluid and secretions of menstrual fluid and breast milk. Being characterized by cold, heavy, moist, stable and flowing qualities, rasa is a dhatu that resonates with kapha. When your nourishing fluid is low, you run into imbalance such as dryness of the skin, stool, mucosal areas. Basically, the fuids aren’t running which paves the way for infection. Overall you may feel unsatisfied. On the other hand, when kapha is imbalanced in excess, you may experience water retention, sluggishness of body and mind, swelling, heavy menstrual cycles and other abundantly moist qualities
- Rakta : Is physically the blood, red blood cells, tendons and bile. Rakta is characterized by hot, light, dry, unstable, hard, flowing, and sharp which aligns with the pitta dosha of fire and water. When pitta is low, the affect on the rakta dhatu is you may feel cold, dull, gray skinned, confused and having difficulty processing. Your inner fire and passion is not available for use. When pitta is in excess, your body will experience and excess of heat and in turn, an excess of heat relief: frequent urination or bowel movements, and increased sweat. In extreme excess, you body will experience rash, skin irritation, fever, and inflammation. Specifically, your body will experience vasodilation, which occurs to move heat from the center of the body towards the superficial skin. Think to when your body gets red when you run fast.
- Mamsa : Is muscle tissue and is the source of soul expression. A healthy muscular body can express the mind, body, and soul. Mamsa is characterized by hot, heavy, dry hard, rough, dense, cloudy and sharp. These characteristics align with kapha and pitta doshas. Excess of inexcess of mamsa causes change in physical form. Vitiation of a dosha will cause imbalances to mamsa dhatu. Excess pitta with muscular holding body type experience qualities such as over-confidence and are injury prone by way of ego, while inexcessive mamsa would exist in one who cannot gain weight muscularly and contains qualities of low self confidence, low courage and emotional fragility. Each doshic vitiation manifests differently.
- Medas : Is fat tissue and plays the role of causing sweat and sebum secretion and controlling body fat storage in the body. When in excess, the body will feel heavy, sluggish, and experience strong emotional attachments. When low, medas will not be present, leaving the body dry, depleted, fragile and hard. Each doshic vitiation will cause weight gain, weight loss or fatigue and depletion. Proper digestion, or balancing pitta, is key to managing medas tissue.
- Asthi : Is bone tissue and your emotional structure for standing up for yourself. When vata is vitaited, bones becomes brittle; think osteoporosis. When pitta is vitiated, bones can become agitated, inflammed and infected. When kapha is vitiated, bones become too dense and overgrown. The quality of hair, skin and nails gives information to quality of the bones.
- Majja : Is bone marrow and nerves. Majja translates to marrow and in Ayurveda, bone marrow and the nervous system are homologous. The nervous system is encapsulated in bone similarly to bone marrow. When kapha is in vitiation, the nervous system slows or becomes blocked. Prana does not flow well and the body becomes slow. When pitta is in excess, nerves become inflamed, excessive digestion and overall heat occur through the body. This causes protective tissue like myelin sheaths and neurological structures to disintegrate causes irreversible damage. When vata is imbalanced, prana will flow in excess or inexcess at any given time. Hyperactivity and hypoactivity plague the body. Tremors, spasm, and tics may be present.
- Shukra & Artava : Are reproductive tissue, semen and ovum. These two create life. Shukra can mean “the essence” and in balance displays as bright, luminous, confident, etc. Water must be present to nourish shukra, therefore vata imbalance decreases shukra and artava. Shukra and artava rule all things sexual: desire, dysfunction, and expression.