Marma points of the face fall under the category of shirogata marma, those marmas which are located in the head and neck region. Marma points are located all over the body.
They are the sites where muscles, vein, ligaments bones and joints meet.1 These are the points where all the three doshas are present along with subtle forms of vital force of life (prana), and the three gunas (sattva, rajas, tamas) which are the integral components of the mind.2
On the head, there are eight important marma which reside in the face region – Phana, Apanga, Vidhur, Shankha, Utkshepa, Avarta, Shringataka and Sthapani.3 These marma points are considered the key connecting points to all aspects of our energies from the innermost consciousness to the outermost physical organs. Here is an elaborate description of the marma points of the face along with their importance in health and wellness.
Marma Points Of The Face
There are two phana marma. Their structure is predominantly blood vessels (Sira marma) and they are approximately .88 cm (half an angula). They are located on both sides of the nose, inside the nasal cavity.
Phana marma controls the vital force of life (Prana), the sense organ of smell, Kapha in the head, the nasal passages, the sinuses and the left and right nostrils.
Apanga marma also has two locations, on the outer corner of the eyes, on either side of the head. Apanga marma is predominantly blood vessels (Sira marma). They are approximately .88 cm (half an angula). Apanga marma controls the sense organs and Pitta related to eyesight (Alochaka Pitta), and the right and left eye channels.
Vidhur marma has two locations, behind and below both ears. It is predominantly a ligament and tendon (Snayu marma). It’s size is approximately .88cm (half an angula). Vidhur marma ontrols the sense organ of hearing, Prana Vayu, and the right and left side ear channels.
Learn more about marmas and Ayurvedic massage, check out this course below.
Shankha marma has two locations, on either side of the head, between the ear and forehead. This is also known as the temple. It is predominant in bone tissue (Asthi marma).
It’s size is approximately .88 cm (half an angula). Shankha marma controls the sense organ of touch, downward-moving air and Vata in the large intestine (Apana Vayu).
Utkshepa marma has two locations, above the Shankha marma, where the hair meets the scalp, in the temple area, on either side of the head.
It is predominantly ligament and tendon (Snayu marma). It is approximately .88 cm in size (half an angula). It controls the sense organ of smell, Vata, the mind and Apana Vayu in the large intestine.
There are two Avarta marmas located at the midpoint just above each eyebrow. These marma are predominant in bone (Sandhi Marma).
They are approximately .88 cm in size (half an angula). This marma controls Vata in general, Prana, the sense of sight (Alochaka Pitta) and bodily posture.
There are four Shringataka marma points in the body, located on the head. They are predominantly made of blood vessels (Sira marma).
Their size is equal to the center of the palm of the hand (paanital). They are located amidst the blood vessels and nourish the sense organs – the nose, eyes, ears and tongue (expect the skin).
Shringataka marma controls the vital force of life (Prana Vayu), Ojas, lubrication of the tongue and the sense organ of taste, hearing, sight and smell.
Here the subtle form of Kapha (Ojas) provides nourishment to Prana and the mind.
There is one Sthapani marma located at the point between the eyes. It is predominant in blood vessels (Sira marma). It’s size is approximately .88 cm (half an angula).
It controls the sixth chakra (Ajna), Prana, the mind, the senses and the pituitary gland. It is best known for controlling the senses.
Importance Of The Head
In Ayurveda, the head (Shirah) is given prime importance among all the organs of body. It is included in the three most important marmas (Trimarmas). It is also considered the best organ (Uttamanga) as the vital force of life (prana) as well as all the sense organs (indriya) are located in the head region.6 The ancient Ayurvedic sage Vagbhatta compared the human being with a tree, with roots at the top and branches at the bottom. He said that just as we need to keep the roots healthy to keep the plant healthy, similarly if we keep the head healthy the whole body will be healthy.7
Massage + Marma
According to Ayurveda, regular massage balances Vata dosha and makes the skin firm and smooth.8 According to Sushruta, it balances Vata and Kapha, enhances the complexion9 and slows down the aging process (Jarahar).10
We know that marma points are the energy points which play an important role of a dynamic center, regulates the body and keeps it in harmony and a balanced state.
Therefore massage (abhyanga) of these points is considered to enhance the effectiveness of this procedure for general wellbeing.
Benefits Of Facial Massage (Mukhabhyanga)
There are several advantages of facial massage observed during research studies which suggests that it may be effective in relieving stress and enhancing beauty.
In the research, it was seen that facial massage gives a feeling of freshness and rejuvenation, it keeps the skin soft and supple, helps in tightening of the skin and delays the onset of wrinkles.
It thereby aids in eradicating superficial lines and imparts a more youthful expression to the face.11 It also increases blood flow to the skin, stimulates the work of the lymph channels carrying away waste and improves color and general appearance.12
Another research study was conducted on 32 healthy Japanese women, ranging in age from 20 to 40. The results of this research suggested that “the facial massage had strong effects on stress alleviation, or psychological relaxation.”13
Besides this, it was seen that massaging the skin may also influence the penetration and retention of products.14
Marma points make relation with various internal organs, doshas and channels (srotas) via their inherent channels through which vital force of life flows (pranic channels). By stimulating or massaging these marma points, functions of connecting organs can also be improved. Many therapists use these points both for curing as well as preventing any health disorders.
Facial massage on these points with specific types of herbal, aromatic or essential oils can be used as rejuvenation therapy as well as to energize the body to relieve occupational illness and stress related diseases.15
It was also seen that stimulation of specific facial marma points treated with rubbing, pressure and oil massage has shown relief in certain health conditions.16
Marma points such as vidhura, apanga, avarta, utkshepa, shankha, sthapani can be used for supporting facial paralysis. Marma therapy on apanga, avarta, utkshepa, shankha, and vidhura helps in supporting the spastic state in cerebral palsy.
Regular facial massage using the marma points of the face can be a truly holistic treatment to care for the face, mind, body and soul.
Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before following the guidelines for marma points on face as mentioned in this artice.
1. Ambikadutta Sashtri ,Sushruta Samhita, Sutra sthana, chapter 6 verse 16. Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2006.
2. Ambikadutta Sashtri ,Sushruta Samhita, Sharir sthana, chapter 6 verse 37. Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2006.
3. Ambikadutta Sashtri ,Sushruta Samhita, Sharir sthana, chapter 6. Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2006.
4. Dr. Smita Rajanna Gotipamul, a review on clinical importance of marma according to ayurveda wjpmr, 2018,4(2), 89-91 SJIF Impact Factor: 4.
5. Dr David Frawley, Dr Subhash Ranade, Dr. Avinash ‘Ayurveda and Marma Therapy: Energy Points in Yogic Healing’ Lotus Press, Twin Lake WI.
6. Kashinath, Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana chapter 17 verse 12, Chowkhambha Bharti Academy,2005
7. Vagbhata. Astanga Hrdayam Sutrasthan 24, verse 58-59, Dr. Brahmanand Tripathi, Editor. With ‘Nirmala’ hindi commentary. Reprinted 2011, Delhi 110007. Chaukhambha Sanskrit pratishthan.
8. Kashinath, Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana chapter 5 verse 86, Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2005.
9. Ambikadutta Sashtri,Sushruta Samhita, chikitsa sthana, chapter 24 verse 30. Chowkhambha Bharti Academy, 2006.
10. Ashtangahridaya of Vagbhatta, Sutra Sthana 2/8, Sarvangasundara commentary of Arunadatta & Ayurvedarasayana commentary of Hemadri, Edited by Pt. Hari Sadashiva
Shastri Paradakara Bhishagacharya; Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan, Varanasi, Reprint 2009.
11. Khanna N1, Datta Gupta S Rejuvenating facial massage–a bane or boon? Int J Dermatol. 2002 Jul;41(7):407-10.
12. Dr.B.Kothainayagi, CONCEPTUAL AND APPLIED STUDY ON ABHYANGA (AYURVEDIC MASSAGE) VOLUME-6 | ISSUE-7 | JULY-2017 | ISSN – 2250-1991 | IF : 5.761 | IC Value : 79.96.
13. Tomoko Hatayama User Science Institute, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. Originally published in Biomedical Research (2008) 29 (6): 317-320.
14. Phuong C1, Maibach HI Effect of massage on percutaneous penetration and skin decontamination: man and animal ,Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2016;35(2):153-6. doi: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26177099
10.3109/15569527.2015.1065501. Epub 2015 Jul 15.
15. Dr David Frawley, Dr Subhash Ranade,Dr. Avinash ‘Ayurveda and Marma Therapy: Energy Points in Yogic Healing’ Lotus Press, Twin Lake WI.
16. Dr Sunil Kumar Joshi, Marma Science and Principles of Marma Therapy, Vani Publications, Delhi