There can be different reasons for physical emaciation–
1. Babies produced from weak or sickly spermatozoa or ova will naturally be weak and emaciated.
2. If the baby does not get sufficient mother’s milk it generally remains emaciated.
3. When due to poverty parents are unable to provide enough milk for their children and consequently they are fed rice and pulse or plain barley from their early childhood, their digestive organs and livers in particular become very weak, and such children normally turn out emaciated.
4. If out of misguided love parents treat their children lavishly by feeding them ghee, butter, fish, meat and eggs right from baby-hood, or if due to poverty or due to some belief they feed their children non-vegetarian foods or spicy vegetable preparations instead of milk, fruits, roots, and other foods appropriate for children, then the livers and other digestive organs of their children, being overworked, lose their vitality and the children become thin.
In adults emaciation usually comes about for the following reasons: 1. Too much mental exertion;
2. Weakness of the genital organs;
5. Any prolonged chyle- and blood-wasting disease;
6. Male or female diseases.
Treatment: For children–
Early morning – Karmásana, Bhújauṋgásana, Shalabhásana, Garud́ásana, and Ágneyii Mudrá.
Evening – Dvisamakonásana, Cakrásana and Granthimuktásana.
If proper treatment is undertaken to rectify the root cause of the disease, adults will automatically develop fat and muscle. Patients must also drink a sufficient quantity of water (about four or five seers but not much at a time) and should take sun-baths. Patients should also spend sufficient time in the open air and in natural surroundings.
Emaciated children are also to be encouraged to take part in sports.
Diet: In the case of children under five, milk, fruits and roots should be their main food. The less starches, carbohydrates and fatty foods the better, because such foods weaken the undeveloped liver and digestive organs of children. Under no circumstances should children under five years be fed non-vegetarian food. From that age on, starches, carbohydrates and fatty foods may be given in gradually increasing amounts. But fruits and roots and all kinds of alkaline food are always the best diet for children. Due to poverty many parents cannot provide much milk for their children, though they require at least three-fourths seer to one seer every day.
Dos and don’ts: If children get enough fruits and roots, vegetable soup and milk to eat, their emaciation will be cured. But it is a pity that in spite of being well-off, some gluttonous meat-eating parents and guardians deprive their offspring of their proper diet and feed them items like fish, meat, eggs, ghee and butter. Such a mentality is very injurious to their children.
With adults, when the root cause of emaciation is cured, the disease automatically disappears. If depending upon the condition of the liver and the other digestive organs, adults take enough nutritious food, do plenty of physical labour, drink water as directed and do Sikta Mardana after each bath, they can become fat and happy within a short time.