Saturday, June 8, 2024

The Secret and Essence of Ayurvedic Marma Therapy


Marma Point Therapy is an energy healing practice that emerged within the 5000-year-old Ayurvedic system of healing. It is based upon an elaborate energetic matrix that is commonly believed to have been the foundation for later point therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure, and reflexology. Traditional Indian Medicine Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are the oldest systems of health care: the former mastering 5,000 years of documentations, the latter at least 3,000 years.

Marma Chikitsa or Marma Therapy, has origins in the martial arts traditions of Kerala, India. Ancient Kalari warriors used their knowledge of Marma for both healing and battle purposes. They were also trained in Ayurvedic medicine and Yoga to strengthen their bodies and eliminate obstacles.

From the perspective of etymology, the word Marma is derived from the root mri with suffix manin, meaning seat of life, meeting place, secret or essence in Sanskrit. Marma Therapy is the most subtle of all the Ayurvedic interventions, and the most powerful. Manipulation of the vital points in the body which are the meeting junctions of two or more types of tissues like ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones, they can both heal and harm, and for this reason, the knowledge of Marma was kept sacred and reserved only for the initiates who could be trusted with this knowledge.

Within the body there are 107  “energy points” called Marma Points or Marmani (plural). These points are tasked with being used as a diagnostic and healing mechanism that works to integrate the mind, body, and soul for deeper consciousness. They are located at anatomical sites where tissues intersect and are classified by the dominant physical regions muscle, vessel, ligament, and joint/ bony regions. These points connect through physical channels called srotas and energetic channels called nadis, which transmit to the tissues and organs (dhatus) and energy centers (chakras), where they become refined, opening the path for clear perception. This principle or role of Marmani can be found in raja or higher yogic practices, that involve spontaneous meditation with a focus on attuning to prana and yoga nidra on the 18 Yogic Marma Points.

Marmani have numerous similarities to principal acupoints in Chinese medicine, specifically having 75 corresponding points. Both fields focus on energy points that are utilized to restore harmony within the autonomic nervous system to provide therapeutic benefits to the body.

Marma Points have a correlation to the internal and external features, doshas (constitution) and subdoshas governing all of the bodily systems via the nervous system. According to Sushrut, a pioneer within Indian surgical practices, there are six regions based on major body parts: the four extremities, trunk, head, and neck. Which are then divided according to the five tissue structures: muscle, veins, ligaments, bone, and joints. From this basis we get the Marma Point classifications.

A few key points:

3 Maha (major) Marma Points: Staphani/ajna (third eye), Hridayam (heart), Nabi (navel)

8 Sadyah (great)  Marma Points:

            Adhipati/Murdhni (crown)

            Brahmarandhra (anterior to crown)

            Shivarandhra (posterior to crown)

            Ajna/Stahpani (third eye)

            Shanka (right and left temple)

            Hridayam (heart)

            Nabhi (umbilicus/navel)

            Guda (anus)


5 Special or extra vital Marmani, those that can cause death or serious injury when traumatized:

            Kantha (trachea)

            Griva (back of the neck)

            Basti (bladder)

            Vrushana (testicles)

            Yoni Jihva (clitoris)


Comparison of West/East:

Marma as a practice is described to have derived from battlefield culture, as in Vedic times it was realized that attacking enemies at Marma Points resulted in serious injury or fatality. This knowledge was only preliminary until the Susruta Samhita, an Ayurvedic classic, provided systematic knowledge of Marma. It provided 107 locations of Marma Points and their different classifications with detailed anatomical information. From this point Marma found its way into the medical realm and into Ayurvedic texts.

Coming from Ayurvedic practices and being born in Southeastern Asia there are some confusions to the practice in the Western realm. In the west there is the belief that there are 107 fixed points on the physical anatomy and due to limited understanding of how Marma functions there are few controlled trials on their mechanism. In comparison Ayurvedic practices believe that Marma Points are flexible and adapt depending upon the individual. Since Marma has been a key aspect of Ayurvedic healing there are studies and implantations of it as a diagnostic tool and healing modality. From this view Marma is said to be used for pain relief, calming the mind and balancing emotions, balancing the doshas, channel disturbances, organ dysfunction, enhances awareness, preventative care, and rejuvenation.

To activate Marma Points:

  •       Use the tips of your fingers to gently or firmly stimulate each Marma Point.
  •       Massage each point in a clockwise or counterclockwise circular motion for up to 5 minutes with holdings.
  •       Optionally, use herb-infused massage oils, small hand stones and/or a tuning fork to stimulate or relax each point of the treatment.
  •       Motion direction, pressure and products used are chosen according to the constitution and condition of the patient and the desired outcomes
Schedule a Marma Chikitsa treatment or 
Register for our Marma Chikitsa Course on June 21-22, 2024:  In Person or Online


Chayaveda Ayurvedic Massage & Bodywork Specialist Training Manual 


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