Marma Therapy

Have you ever wondered if you can relieve your digestive woes without medicines? Ever wondered if you could get rid of a bad case of headache with just a touch? No, we're not talking about miracles, we're talking about the Marmas.

Dating back to 1500 BC, Marma therapy is one of the oldest treatment modalities in the world. It evolved from martial art forms like Kalaripayattu, and later spread on to the traditional systems of medicine like Siddha and Ayurveda. This therapy, once practiced extensively in India, has now decelerated its pace.

Marma Therapy

Anatomical Sweet Spots With A Potential

The term 'Marma' in Sanskrit means 'to kill'. It takes its origin from the root word 'Mri' that implies death.

मारयति इति मर्माणि।"

(Dalhana)

"मारणकरित्वाद मर्मः।"

(A.H.Sha.4/Aruna Dutta)

According to Ayurveda, Marmas are the anatomical points where the vital energy (prana) resides. Muscles, tendons, nerves and other tissues intersect here so that any injury inflicted to these points can cause death or impairment of bodily functions. It is also said to be the residence of tridoshas(vata, pitta, kapha) and the trigunas(sattwa, rajas, tamas) which is the reason why marma therapy can influence both body and mind. Different types of Marmas are there- while some cause impairment, some others cause immediate death. Ayurveda mentions 107 such vital spots ("सप्तोत्तरं मर्म शतं।"), of which 22 are on upper limbs, 22 on lower limbs, 26 on the trunk, and 37 on the head and neck region. Also, the mind is considered the 108th marma. When properly manipulated according to the precise position, these Marmas can influence different systems.

For example,

  • Sthapani marma-located in the centre of the forehead- affects the nervous system.
  • Indravasti marma-centre of calf muscle-affects the digestive system.
  • Kurcha-between 1st and 2nd toes- affects the vision.
  • Kshipra marma- between the thumb and the index finger- helps to relieve headaches.

Another classification of marma is described by Acharya Susrutha, based on the prognosis. It includes:-

  1. SADYA PRANAHARA MARMAS- When this kind of Marmas is inflicted with an injury, death is immediate.
  2. KALANTARA PRANAHARA MARMAS- When an injury occurs to this spot, death will occur after some time.
  3. VISHALYAGHNA MARMAS- If a sharp foreign body pierces this spot, the patient will remain alive as long as the foreign object stays there. Death is sure once the object is removed.
  4. RUJAKARA MARMAS- These Marmas do not cause death or disability, but cause severe pain.
  5. VAIKALYAKARA MARMAS- Causes life long disability or deformity if injured.

Even though the concept of marma is widely discussed in the Ayurvedic treatises like Susrutha Samhita, it is also a part of the Siddha system of medicine and Keraleeya Kalari chikitsa. Like Ayurveda, Marma therapy also makes use of the Pancha mahabhuta concept and the Tridosha concept. Even the people of the Vedic era had knowledge about Marmas and they used it to kill or harm the enemy in warfare. Texts like Rig Veda, Atharva Veda, Mahabharata etc mention such practices. The term varmam in Siddha vaidya is used synonymously to marmam.

Marma- A lethal spot or the supreme healer?

As we've seen earlier, the knowledge of marma can be used to harm health. But what if it proves to be the cure for an ailment you've been suffering from? While a strike to the marma can be lethal, a subtle stroke to the same could work wonders. But, one should neither do this alone, nor allow unqualified therapists to assist- because these are highly sensitive spots that can harm you rather than heal you when approached carelessly.

In marma therapy, Heart Disease gentle stimulation is given to these pressure points as it is believed to let out the stagnant energy and improve the overall functioning of the body. It removes the blockade and provides physical and psychological well being.

How Does It Work?

A qualified professional locates different Marmas on your body and massages them with his/her fingertips in a clockwise and counter-clockwise fashion. Through gentle movements, the points are manipulated and sometimes aromatic oils like sandalwood oil and eucalyptus oil are used for massaging. Tapping, stroking, clenching, kneading and pressing the marma are the other techniques done during the procedure. Each session will take around 60-90 minutes.

Benefits Of Marma Therapy

The whole potential of Marma therapy is yet to be discovered, yet, to name a few:-

  1. Relief from pain, acute or chronic.
  2. Detoxification- balances tridoshas and helps eliminate the aggravated entities.
  3. Improves organ functions, especially neurological, digestive, immunological activities.
  4. Pleases the psyche.
  5. Provides deep sleep and helps with insomnia.
  6. Controls prana levels.
  7. Promotes body metabolism.
  8. Rejuvenates the skin.
  9. Increases the power of perception and concentration by improving neuronal activity.
  10. Improves circulation and energy flow.
  11. Regulates the body temperature.
  12. Non-invasive so that you don't have to worry about any kind of pain.
  13. Minimum medication and maximum comfort.
  14. Absolutely time-saving.

Like any other treatment, if not done judiciously, Marma therapy can be a menace. Improper therapy may lead to disabilities or even death. So, one should be very careful in finding a credible therapist.

Marma Therapy could be useful in health conditions like:-

  1. Musculoskeletal disorders
  2. Respiratory conditions
  3. Anxiety
  4. Depression
  5. Fatigue
  6. Immune-related conditions
  7. Aging problems
  8. Headache
  9. Nervous system disorders like paralysis
  10. Digestive troubles

Unexplored Arenas

Despite its practice for a thousand years, the possibilities of Marma therapy remain locked. The knowledge of Marmas was limited to a few people and not much research was done on the topic. It is a shame that we're keeping such practices with huge potential in the dark, even in this century of scientific progress and technology. There is not enough training available for marma therapy so that there is a lack of qualified therapists in this field. Even though it is age-old, Marma therapy is still relevant in the modern picture. Especially in an era of a hectic lifestyle and a plethora of lifestyle diseases, such a time-saving treatment method would be a great boon. If we could figure out proper ways to use such traditional treatment modalities, it would be a great help to mankind. Let our body workout wonders through the power of traditional knowledge!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Vikram Chauhan is one of the best Ayurvedic doctor from Chandigarh, North India. Chandigarh is situated in north India about 200 miles north of New Delhi. Ayurvedic medicine is getting quiet popular now a days and Dr. Vikram Chauhan is leading Ayurvedist from Chandigarh having solved many complicated cases from North India as well as rest of the world. Know More about Dr. Vikram Chauhan www.planetayurveda.com