Do I Have a Problem with Ama?

Violations of the laws of nature can cause disease via imbalance or damage to the Doshas, via disturbance of Agni (the digestive fire) or the Srotas (channels), or via injury. Faulty digestion and metabolism of food results in the formation of toxins known as Ama. Environmental toxins (pollutants, pesticides, preservatives, synthetic fabrics, cleaners, etc.) also promote Ama and accelerate its conversion to Amavisha, its most damaging form.

Ama results from faulty eating habits, poor food choices/combinations, and/or disturbed digestion. The formation of Ama can by itself unsettle digestion potentially leading to more Ama buildup. Ama clogs the body and interferes with healthy functioning. Not surprisingly, as levels of Ama increase, one tends to feel clogged, unnaturally heavy and lethargic.

Ama is sticky and will accumulate preferentially in locations where the Srotas have been vitiated. As Ama accumulates it begins to attract Doshas. As the imbalance progresses, the pathologic Dosha will begin to vitiate the Dhatu (tissue) eventually leading to disease.

The cholesterol plaques of atherosclerosis are a gross example of Ama. Rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer's are examples of diseases due to Ama accumulation at a more subtle level.

I routinely ask all clients to complete this brief questionnaire.

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Item   Please indicate the degree to which the following statements apply to you Rarely
2 3 4 Almost
1. I feel a sense of blockage or obstruction in the body
2. In the morning, I do not feel clear - it takes me quite some time to feel really awake
3. I feel tired or exhausted mentally and physically
4. I easily catch colds, sinus infections, bronchitis, etc.
5. I feel heaviness in the body
6. I feel that something is not working right in my body
7. I feel lazy, without inclination to work, even though I am capable
8. I suffer from indigestion
9. I have a need to spit
10. I have no real appetite or taste for food
11. My tongue is coated, especially in the morning

Item   Please indicate the degree to which the following statements apply to you Rarely
2 3 4 Almost
1. I feel nauseated for no particular reason
2. I have hyper-acidity or a burning sensation in my stomach
3. My skin suffers from breakouts
4. I feel pain or weakness in my legs or calves
5. I have acquired sensitivity and intolerance to foods, flowers, pets or other new things in my environment
6. I lack mental and emotional energy
7. I feel feverish or physically fatigued in the evening

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Questionnaire adapted with permission from Maharishi Ayurveda Products International, Inc.