According to Ayurveda, a marma point is a juncture point in the body where two or more types of tissue meet. How many marma points are in the body? Numerous.
Where are these marma points located? What is the importance of these marma points?
We’ll answer all these questions and more in this article. Here’s a breakdown of topics by subheading. Feel free to skip ahead. Got a question? Leave it in the comments below.
- Where Marma Points Come From
- Marma Points: The Seats Of Life
- How Many Marma Points Are In The Body?
- The Marma Points By Dosha
- The Marma Points By Location
- The Marma Points By Effect Of Injury To The Marma
- Therapeutic Benefits Of Marma Points
Where Marma Points Come From
Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is one of, if not the oldest systems of medicine in the world. It roots stem from the Indian subcontinent. It has been practiced since ancient times and is still in vibrant practice today.
Just like every other science, Ayurveda has its own basic concepts or laws that make it understandable. Marma points are one of those basic concepts.
The study of marma points falls under the study of anatomy. As you may know, anatomy is the branch of science which mainly deals with the structure of the body. It’s called sharir rachana.
The juncture point of marma can include muscles or mamsa, veins or sira, ligaments or snayu, bones or asthi and joints or sandhi. 12
How many marma points are in the body? Let’s refer to the ancient Ayurvedic texts which describe marma in detail.
Marma Points: The Seats Of Life
Marma has been described by several ancient Ayurvedic masters including Charak and Vagbhata, among others. The best description however is given by Sushruta, the ‘father of surgery’ in the Sushruta Samhita.
He covered many aspects of anatomy and surgery in his text, written centuries ago. Marma or vital points are among them.
According to Sushruta, marma points are the seats of life. What does that mean?
It means that factors responsible for life, according to Ayurveda, are present at those points.
Marma is the places where the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) are present, along with their subtle forms (prana or vital force, tejas or inner radiance and ojas or essence of life).
The three gunas of satva (beingness), rajas (activity) and tamas (darkness) are also present.1
How Many Marma Points Are In The Body?
Sushruta described 107 marma points in the body.1
This ancient scholar was a surgeon so he knew and wrote about the importance of marma or vital points while performing a surgery.
An Ayurvedic surgeon has to be careful of these vital points while performing an Ayurvedic surgery. Surgical instruments need to be used properly in order to avoid damage.
Ayurvedic surgical procedures include procedures like kshar sutra or medicated caustic thread therapy and raktamokshana, blood letting therapy.
Marma points also have therapeutic value.
Marma therapy has physical, mental and spiritual benefits. In marma therapy, external stimuli like gentle pressure, massage of the marma or bandaging the marma is done for desired results.
Sushruta described a total of 107 marma points. He classified them in three different ways.1
Though they are the same 107 points, they can be described in three different contexts.
Let’s take a closer look at marma points are in the body, where they are located and how they are classified.
If you’d like to learn more about marma therapy and how Ayurvedic massage can be used for improving the skin, check out the course by Melanie and Robert Sachs below.
The Marma Points By Composition
Here’s a breakdown of the 107 marma points according to composition, or the predominant tissue or predominance of physical matrix present.2
- There are 11 marma points present in the muscle tissue. These are called mamsa marma.
- There are 41 marma points predominant in the blood vessels. These are known as sira marma.
- There are 27 marma points predominant in the ligaments and tendons. These are called snayu marma.
- There are 8 marma points predominant in the bones. These are referred to as asthi marma.
- There are 20 sandhi marmas or marma points predominant in the joints.
The Marma Points By Location 3
How many Marma points are located in each part of the body?
- There are 22 marma points in both upper limbs (11 marma in each upper limb).
- There are 22 marma points in both lower limbs (11 marma in each lower limb).
- There are 26 marma points in the thorax and abdomen.
- There are 37 marma points located in the head and neck.
Again, you can see the sum total of 107 marma points in the body.
Marma Points According To Effect Of Injury To The Marma 4
This classification was more suitable to ancient times when there were wars and fighting and people lived in forests and tribes. We describe it here in order to provide you a complete classification based on Sushruta’ text.
In modern times, marma points are not really applicable. Medical management of wounds and injuries has changed substantially with the advent of modern surgery, trauma management, lifesaving equipment, medicines and techniques.
However, these marmas can be understood as ones which need to be protected from accidental injuries. If injured, these marma points warrant immediate medical attention and management to save mortality and morbidity.
How many marma points are affected by injury to the marma?
- Sadhya pranahar marma, or marmas with which, on getting inflicted with injury, cause instant death. There are 19 of these in number.
- Kaalantar pranhar marma. If these marma are injured then gradual and slow death occurs. There are 33 of these in number.
- Vishalya ghana marma, then death can occur. There are three of these in number.
- If these 44 marma are injured, Vaikalyakar marma, deformity, and pain can result. There are 44 of these in number.
- If Rujakara marma are injured, pain occurs. There are eight of these in number.
So you can see, all 107 marma are affected by injury.
Therapeutic Benefits Of Marma Therapy
Marma therapy originated on the basis of these marma points. In marma therapy, marma points are used for relief of various problems.
Marma therapy originated in South India. It is still practiced in the south of the Indian subcontinent today. It’s now popular around the world.
In marma therapy, external stimulation like gentle pressure, massage or bandaging of marma points is done for therapeutic benefits.
Marma therapy along with other Ayurvedic therapies can be used for the following conditions.
Please note, if you are in need of medical attention, please consult a qualified health care provider.
- Detoxification (removal of impurities)6
- Tonification of the skin6
- Self care6
- It is claimed that marma points can also be used to enhance mental and spiritual powers7
- Pain relief8
- Reducing stiffness8
- Stopping tremors8
- Relieving constipation8
- Calming down anxiety8
- Relieving stress8
- Promoting sleep8
- Removing acidity9
- Cleansing the blood9
- Detoxifying liver9
- Countering infection9
- Stopping inflammation9
- Calming anger9
- Helpful in reducing mucus9
- Removing congestion9
- Eliminating edema9
- Promoting weight reduction9
- Increasing physical and mental activity9
- Maintaining the immune system10
- Marma points are important factors in all yoga practices from physical postures to pranayama and meditation11
Please do not try marma massage by yourself and without the consultation of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.
1- 4 Sushruta Samhita with Hindi commentary by Kaviraj Ambikadutta Shastri, Part-1, page no. 67, Sharir Sathan 6/3, by Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, 2011.
5. Ayurveda and Marma therapy, Energy points in yogic healing, page no. 6, by Dr. David Frawley, Dr. Subhash Ranade, and Dr. Avinash Lele.
6. Ayurveda and Marma therapy, Energy points in yogic healing, page no. 5, by Dr. David Frawley, Dr. Subhash Ranade, and Dr. Avinash Lele.
7. Ayurveda and Marma therapy, Energy points in yogic healing, page no. 7, by Dr. David Frawley, Dr. Subhash Ranade, and Dr. Avinash Lele.
8. Ayurveda and Marma therapy, Energy points in yogic healing, page no. 20, by Dr. David Frawley, Dr. Subhash Ranade, and Dr. Avinash Lele.
9. Ayurveda and Marma therapy, Energy points in yogic healing, page no. 21, by Dr. David Frawley, Dr. Subhash Ranade, and Dr. Avinash Lele.
10. Ayurveda and Marma therapy, Energy points in yogic healing, page no. 34, by Dr. David Frawley, Dr. Subhash Ranade, and Dr. Avinash Lele.
11. Ayurveda and Marma therapy, Energy points in yogic healing, page no. 48, by Dr. David Frawley, Dr. Subhash Ranade, and Dr. Avinash Lele.
- Nishteswar, K. “Science of Marma (in Ayurvedic Diagnosis and Treatment).” Ayu, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4687231/.