According to Ayurveda, Marma are the joining point where muscle (Mamsa), vein (Sira), ligament (Snayu), bone (Asthi) and joint (Sandhi) meet. These are special points (Sthana) in the human body and any injury to these Marma may lead to disease, disability and if not properly treated, even fatal conditions.
Therapeutic Use Of Marma Points
Marma points are manipulated with several techniques. Rubbing the Marma, applying pressure, oil massage, herbal paste application and fomentation may be used according to the diseased condition.
Marma Points For Pain Relief
Instant pain relief is the motive of Marma therapy. Stimulation of Marma can produce analgesia by secreting a number of prostaglandin inhibitors, endorphins, interferon and other opioid-like substances which are a hundred times more potent than opium.1 Instant pain relief with Marma therapy is possible within no time. The following Marma points are responsible for relief of pain in different organs.
Surgery And Injury To Marma
The Ayurvedic sage Sushruta was a surgeon as well as the author of the ancient Sanskrit text Sushruta Samhita. He stressed the importance of the knowledge of Marma in surgical practice. He stated that in any surgical procedure, the knowledge of Marma and other structures like nerves, muscles, bones, veins and arteries is utmost essential.
An injury to an area adjacent to a Marma, whether incidental or not, exhibits the same series of symptoms as an actually affected Marma. A cut, incision, blow (Abhighata), burn, puncture, or injury by any other cause will affect the Marma. A direct injury to a Marma, whether it be severe or slight, is sure to bring deformity or death if not treated.2
While performing ksharakarma—the application of plant alkalis—the knowledge of marma is essential. Kshara can act like a surgical instrument hence one should be cautious. The area of Marma is very sensitive hence a surgeon should take precaution while performing any surgery. One should also take precaution while applying anything onto the Marma areas or near these vital points.
Marma points are stimulated by massage. Massaging the Marma will give the healing effects to specific areas of the mind-body system. Marmas are sensitive areas so massage should be done carefully. Apply steady pressure on the Marma point for approximately 1-2 minutes.
For toning and strengthening the internal organs, massage should be done in a clockwise direction. This pacifies Vata and Kapha but may stimulate Pitta dosha. Counterclockwise movement is calming and pacifying. It soothes Pitta dosha but may stimulate vata and kapha dosha. Linear movement balances vata dosha.3
For Vāta prakriti, use sesame oil in large quantity. For Pitta prakriti, use coconut oil, ghee or sandalwood oil. For Kapha prakriti use mustard oil or safflower oil.
Anatomical and applied physiological information about Marma is essential for a panchakarma therapist as it helps to avoid the possibility of any kind of injury or trauma to these vital spots during therapy. It also helps in the selection of appropriate therapeutic interventions through Marma points.4
- Shoulder Pain: Rub or apply gentle pressure to Kshipra marma and Kurpara marma.
2. Abdominal Pain: Rub or apply gentle pressure to Kurpara marma and Urvi marma.
3. Chest Pain: Rub or apply gentle pressure to Kurpara, Urvi and Ani marma.
5. Leg And Knee Pain: Rub or apply gentle pressure to Kshipra marma and Gulpha marma.
6. Sciatic Pain: Rub or apply gentle pressure to Kshipra marma and Gulpha marma.
7. Kurcha marma improves the digestive process and Agni (metabolism). Apply gentle pressure or rub.
9. Kurchashira marma supports healthy digestion and Agni (metabolism) in general. Apply gentle pressure or rub.
10. Kurchashira marma is helpful for reproductive function. Apply gentle pressure or rub.
11. Manibandha marma helps reduce excess fat deposits. Apply gentle pressure or rub.
13. Manibandha marma energizes the reproductive system. Apply gentle pressure or rub.
14. Kshipra marma supports heart function. Apply gentle pressure or rub.
15. Kshipra marma supports lung function. Apply gentle pressure or rub.
17. Talahridaya marma supports heart and lung function. Apply gentle pressure or rub.
18. Kurcha marma promotes visual acuity. Rub gently or apply pressure.
19. Kurchashira marma calms the nervous system. Rub gently or apply pressure.
21. Kurchashira marma has considerable influence on hand muscles. Rub gently or apply pressure.
22. Manibandha marma promotes healthy joints. Rub gently or apply pressure.
23. Manibandha marma promotes bone growth. Rub gently or apply pressure.
25. Kshipra marma stimulates the lymphatic system. Rub gently or apply pressure.
26. Kshipra marma improves the flow of prana throughout the entire body. Rub gently or apply pressure.
27. Kshipra marma provides lubrication to the lungs. Rub gently or apply pressure.
1 Dr Sunil Kumar Joshi, Marma Science and Principles of Marma Therapy, Vani Publications.
2 Sushruta Samhita, Sharir sthana, Chapter 6, verse 41.
3 Lad, Vasant, ‘Marma Points of Ayurveda’, The Ayurvedic Press, New Mexico, p: 76.
4 KERALA AYURVEDA ACADEMY KAA 108: Ayurvedic Bodywork 2016 KERALA AYURVEDA ACADEMY KAA, p: 38.