What is Marma Therapy?
Illustration by Hannah Landes
Marma = Weak Point or Vital Point
Maryanti Eti Marmani means a serious blow to these points can cause death.
People often think Marma therapy originally came from the Ayurvedic teachings. In some ways it did, however, the history of Marma therapy may surprise you!
For those studying Yoga and Ayurveda, you may be familiar with the Vedic texts and that they were transcribed for guidance on human life. It was through this demand the traditions in practice became established: to maintain the knowledge of human health in body, mind and spirit.
The first reference of marma was, perhaps surprisingly, not from Ayurveda, but from the Rig Veda (the oldest known written text in history). Within the Rig Veda is a small portion dedicated to Dhanurveda, the science of archery. For protection and self-sustenance a full science surrounding the art of defense and warfare was developed. It become known through these practices that certain areas of the body and specific points, in particular, are vital. If a heavy blow hits these points it results in weakness, and likely, even death. Therefore, marma points were initially discovered with the goal of protection in mind.
Later on, Ayurvedic Practitioner Sushrut (works found in the Sushrut Samhita) began assessing the human body from a surgical prospective. He classified these marma points specifically surrounding surgery or invasive procedures, recognizing the importance of leaving these points undisturbed. As a result of this practice, he realized that while dangerous blows or injuries to these points could be life threatening, gentle stimulation actually increased the flow and function surrounding these areas and organs of the body. He recognized that both our life force energy (prana) and our consciousness seemed to be concentrated in these areas, therefore honoring and protecting them was of utmost importance for vitality. The goal of enhancing functionality of the body is our goal for sharing and practicing Marma.
“Understanding marma and utilizing them can enhance human life.” – Dr. Amruta Athale
Benefits of Marma Therapy
Encouraging energetic stimulation through these subtle points results in a multitude of benefits which can be employed by a therapist or through self-care.
These include but are not limited to:
- greater energy
- enhanced immunity
- relief from localized pain
- sleep support
- increased energy to vital organs
- balancing dosha
While we share with you some points you can use for self-care at home, we recommend working with a trained marma therapist for treatment protocols.
How to do Marma Therapy
Techniques of Marma application can include using them in gentle oil massage; deep tissue massage; steady pressure; or application of heat to the marma area.
One nice way to begin is through gentle stimulation to the area. You can apply even pressure with your thumb or index finger. You want to press deep–not excessively–for stimulation, but not to the point of pain. This pressure can be held for 10-15 seconds or breaths. Some therapists like to do gentle circular movements in the area. Give both a try!
The Master Points
There are three main points known as the “master” points of Marma. They are recommended in every protocol for therapy and we highly recommend you give them a try at home. Use these daily before meditation, as a de-charge and re-charge from work or to wind down at the end of the day. Let us know how you feel!
Located on the vertex at the mid-line of the head
Regulates Prana and supports Prana and Apana Vayu to stabilize
Treats motor dysfunction and supports coordination
Supports memory stimulation, attention and concentration
Indicated for: stroke, muscle spasms, seizures, migraines, sinus headaches, tension headaches, insomnia, concentration, memory, ADD, nausea, vomiting, congestions, palpitations and emotional disturbances of all doshic origin.
The Vishnu point meaning “moment to moment”. It supports mastery of the senses and leads to reduction in mental disturbances of all dosha. This point can also help one gain ESP. It stabilizes prana therefore can be used to balance unsettled energy and ADD in children.
Located at the midline of the head 2 anguli (finger widths) anterior to Murdhni
Regulates Sadhaka Pitta
Supports pituitary function
Supports cerebral circulation and activity
Assists creativity, mental function and memory
Calms the mind and emotions
Indicated for: migraines, sinus headaches, strokes, vertigo, insomnia, ADD, poor memory, hiccups and high emotions of any doshic origin
The opening of the creator, Brahma, as well as the unfolding of creative intelligence.
It calms the emotions for high vata and kapha nature, promotes creativity intelligence and memory; regulates sadhaka pitta and transforms the mind to a state of calm and expansive consciousness (Brahma Consciousness)
Located at the back midline of the head 2 anguli (finger widths) posterior to Murdhni
Regulates Tarpaka Kapha
Supports pituitary function and cerebral circulation
Supports memory and calms emotions and the mind
Indicated for: neck pain, spinal arthritis, ringing in the ear, vertigo, insomnia and ADD
The opening point of Shiva. It enhances positive memory and balances Vata disturbances like anxiety, stress and fear of loneliness. It brings a peaceful calm to the mind.
Marma therapy can be a powerful tool to add to your daily self-care practice. We find marma to be a lovely addition to our morning regimen (dinacharya).
Try adding these points to your self oil massage. If you practice full yogic breathing it’s a nice time to add awareness to both practices and utilize the stillness of mind to dive into these vital energy points.
Want to learn more about Marma Therapy?
Marma Therapy is an interesting and powerful addition to your professional or personal healing practice! To learn more sign up for the current class or join the wait list for our next Marma Therapy Program with Dr Amruta Athale of Arya Academia. Together we share a complete presentation of Marmani with history, detailed information on each vital point, techniques in practice, outlines for therapy and how to utilize knowledge of Marma in asana practice and daily life. Contact us to save your space!