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

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10382659/

Chayaveda Ayurvedic Massage & Bodywork Specialist Training Manual 

 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Ayurveda; Life Beyond Ordinary


 “Ayurveda is more than the absence of disease, it defines health as one who is established in one’s natural state, with balanced constitution and digestion, proper  elimination, well-formed tissues, and enthusiastic, with integrated body, senses, mind, and consciousness.”

AYURVEDA: CARING FOR YOUR WHOLE SELF

Ayurveda is the oldest continuously practiced healthcare system in the world. It originated in India over 5,000 years ago, and is a global medical system based upon the “Five Great Elements” of nature, that includes understanding nature’s rhythms and laws. 

Human beings are natural beings, governed by all the rules and laws that other natural beings are governed by, and if we choose to ignore these laws then imbalances will begin to appear. These imbalances are the precursor to disharmony and disease in the body, mind, and consciousness.

Ayurveda is a Quantum Mechanical Science, where, we are considered a “microcosm” of the “macrocosm”, whereby we are a mirror of the external universe, and the layers that make up our human experience, which includes the total integration; physically, energetically, psycho emotionally, intuitively, and spiritually or consciously, also considered blissfully. The psycho emotional level includes the level of the mind and emotions, that are made up of our conditioning and reactions.

This system of medicine understands our deepest connections with the whole universe and the influences of the energies that make up this universe and continue its evolution.

Ayurvedic health principles and practices contain the benefit of thousands of years of experience in understanding how we are integrated into the world around us, with a view of "holism" as compared to the view of "reductionism" that is provided within the modern medical system.

While Ayurveda focuses on the health of the whole individual, including lifestyle and lived experience, western medicine focuses on the management of disease.

The ancients didn't know of molecules, atoms, cells, micro biomes and the like, in those terms, because they did not have microscopes or external technology, as we know them today.  However, they honed their personal internal technology, their senses and mind, through which they observed the same relationships and referred to them by different names.

The science of physics explains how energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object, to perform, work on, or to heat, the object. Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed.

Common forms of energy include the kinetic energy of a moving object, the potential energy stored by an object's position in a force field (gravitational, electric, or magnetic energy), the elastic energy stored by stretching solid objects, the chemical energy released when a fuel burns, the radiant energy carried by light, and the thermal energy due to an object's temperature.

The Sun is the source of energy for most of life on Earth. As a star, the Sun is heated to high temperatures by the conversion of nuclear binding energy due to the fusion of hydrogen in its core. This energy is ultimately transferred (released) into space mainly in the form of radiant (light) energy.

The ancients understood this on a subtle level and thereby revered the Sun, the digestive fire, role in metabolism and the understanding and value of the flame of attention, needed to make good decisions, leading to health and a balanced body, mind and senses and ultimately “Ayur” or life, which is defined as the intelligent integration of the body, senses, mind and consciousness that occurs through the metabolism of the mind necessary to access the state of “veda”, to know life beyond ordinary perception, and therewith is the root of Ayurveda and it’s root cause theory and philosophy.                 

  THE SCIENCE OF LIFE

The science and philosophies of Ayurveda explain the world and creation, through the archetypical elements of ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Ether and earth are static in nature while air, fire and water are dynamic and ever changing. These elements have inherent energies expressed by their qualities that govern their functions. We are a product of all these energies and their subsequent qualities, with everyone having slightly different proportions of the individual elements, making everyone unique in their own constitutional or genetic composition.

Ayurveda assesses and treats everyone, according to their unique physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual constitution and its tendencies. We evaluate the imbalances of the body and its function through this system of the elements and root cause theory as well. Our world and bodies are in constant interplay, constantly adapting to changes in the environment as well as new environments, and our perceptions of them, all of which affect us in some way.

Ayurveda concentrates on prevention through understanding one’s own constitutional makeup, and the effects that the outer world, environment, relationships, diet, and lifestyle choices make on our constitution and our daily lives.

 Ayurveda defines a healthy person as someone whose doshas (constitution) are in balance, the digestive fire (agni) is regulated (sama), the body’s tissues (dhatus) are well formed, wastes (malas) eliminate properly, the mind (mana), sensory organs (indriyas) and spirit/soul (atma) must be also in a pleasant state (prasanna), to know who I AM (swastya). 

“Samadosha Samagnischa Samadhatumala kriyaha Prasanna atmenindriya manaha Swasthya ityabhidheeyate”

 Ayurveda is a health and wellness lifestyle system based on natural healing through strengthening one’s own body, mind, and spirit or consciousness, attaining optimal health through a deeper understanding of ourselves and our own nature, in relationship to the world around us, and allowing the body’s own natural healing mechanisms to work to their fullest, unlocking their highest potential.