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Marma

Marma points are the ‘junction of consciousness and physiology.’

In Ayurveda consciousness is considered primary, and all health, healing and well-being are the result of universal consciousness flowing freely. Because marma points are a direct connection to universal consciousness, when these points are cleared, vital energy flows more fully through the body, enlivening it and restoring perfect health.

Marma chikitsa 

What is marma chikitsa? It is a powerful instrument of Ayurveda that originated 5,000 years ago. It is a process and a therapy that works with 108 subtle and sensitive energy points to open energy channels in the body called strotras.

“Marma’s effects are profound and can create dramatic shifts in the body. And what are the side effects? You have to live a long life with energy, enthusiasm and tranquility!” Dr. Vasant Lad



ROLE OF MARMA

There are four basic purposes of marma:

1) It removes blocks in energy channels called strotras. 
2) It pacifies vata dosha, (air and space elements ), bringing it to its normal path— especially vyana vata, (a sub-dosha which controls the autonomic nervous system.)  
 3) It creates physical, mental and emotional flexibility. Because of ama (toxins) and because of vata, human beings after 35 or 40 years of age become rigid — and this happens to animals and plants too. As vata increases in our body, we experience degeneration. This rigidity can mean becoming fixed in ideas, emotions and physical movements.  
 4) This gentle treatment creates an opportunity to experience powerful and dynamic transformation at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels by building a positive link with the unconscious mind. 

Many times people are not able to go outside their ‘comfort zones.’ They think they have absolute limitations. After marma is done, they can start taking positive risks.

Marma is beneficial for many conditions, including the following:
Muscular and joint pain
Frozen joints
Muscular strain
Respiratory conditions
Digestion and elimination problems
Nervous system disorders
Headaches and migraines
General aging problems
Glandular issues
Anxiety and depression
Stress response, fears and phobias
Confusion, memory loss and mental focus
Low energy and fatigue
Breaking through limited belief systems
There are various systems of massage in practice in addition to the Ayurvedic treatment. One of such most advanced and sophisticated systems in Kerala is Marma Therapy.

Marma Therapy, among the most popular health care systems in Kerala, has been developed and perfected over the many years of practice and experience. Early reference of the word Marma is seen in Atharvaveda. During Vedic period knowledge of Marma was known to kings and warriors. It was applied in battle fields to hit and achieve maximum fatal effect against their enemies. Therefore it can be assumed that this science was used both in warfare and surgery.

As a practical science, the Marma therapy has been widely acclaimed as an effective treatment method and has been in vogue from time immemorial in many parts of South India, especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This art had, for many years, been kept a closely guarded secret and was known only to a few close relatives and insiders in family. These families rendered treatment more as a duty than as their profession. Hence the actual treatment remained as a secret in the family. This led to the downfall of this science.

Marma is certain vital points spread all over the surface of human body. These are the places where the Prana (life force) is said to be sited. Hence any injury to these centers or in the vicinity of these areas are highly painful and might lead to irreparable damages or even death. Hence these areas are highly guarded from injury. Probably, that is the reason why this knowledge was the part and parcel of the curriculum in Martial art practices. The warrior learns how to induce maximum possible injury to his opponents and even silent death. But the very same points could be triggered to revive him from the harmful effects of ones trauma. In Tamil literature a very exhaustive descriptions of Marma points are found. Here we could find very clearly the treatment of every injury to Marma.By application of various treatment modalities like massage, internal medicines, as well as Panchakarma we seek to alleviate various diseases due to trauma and it is to our credit that we achieve commendable success in this filed.

The Healing Power of Marma Therapy

What do these symptoms have in common: headaches, muscular pain, fatigue, recurring back and neck pains, aches in the joints and impaired immune response? While there is more than one possible answer, it could primarily be due to the stress-filled life, which disrupts the flow of Vital Energy or Chetna.

According to Susruta in Susruta Samhita (ayurvedic text) the body has 108 vital spots or Marma centers. The energy flows and accumulate in these spots. Any imbalance in these centers causes body ailments, which can be rectified using certain revival techniques practiced in Marma Therapy. The first science of massage described in the classical Ayurvedic text, Sushruta Samhita points to vital spots, similar to Chinese acupuncture. But, unlike acupuncture it does not involve any invasive use of needles.

Revitalizing through Marma

From common ailments to serious neuromuscular diseases, all can be treated by Marma therapy. 

Common ailments like headaches, body aches, faulty spinal alignment, pain in the joints can be revitalized through Marma Chikitsa, which involves Snehana, Abhayanga, Pizhichil, and Kizhi treatment. 

Kizhi treatment is a therapy wherein heated herbs and medicinal oils are tied in cloth bags and placed on the area to be treated. This is followed by specific massages, done using the fingers, heel of the hand or palm. 

The pressure application varies according to the nature of ailment and the spot. Neuromuscular diseases need prolonged treatment. In Kerala there are number of Marma experts who can totally heal various kinds of neuromuscular diseases.

Marma Therapy

Marma therapy focuses on energizing the body to relieve occupational illness and stress related diseases. Often, it helps the couples to re-establish harmony in marital life. Marma Chikitsa (therapeutic treatment in vital spots) is an offshoot of the Kalarippayattu, Keralas martial art. In Kerala, Marma therapy joins the streams of Sidha and Kalari. Penetration of any of the 108-marma points causes injury and knowledge of these points are used to align the upset equilibrium between the Tridosha Vata (wind), Pitta (bile), & Kapha (phlegm). 

These 3 elements form the essence of life. Marma Chikitsa is basically a neuromuscular and orthopedic science. In southern Kerala, the Agasthya system is practiced, the chikitsa (therapy) is an amalgamation of the Kalari Sidha Veda and Ayurveda forms. Oil therapy or Snehana is an important part of Marma Chikitsa, warm, medicated oils are applied in large amounts all over the body. The medicated oils are used in specific body sites, such as on the charkas and Marma points or at specific trouble spots. The body is then massaged using these oils; this specific technique of massage is known as Abhayanga. Marma Abhayanga is different from Ayurveda Abhyanga.

Marma Abhayanga

Abhayanga involves the use of major and minor marma points. The success of the chikitsa depends on two factors one is the patients faith in the system, god and the master. The second factor is the master or 'Gurukkal' himself and his experience that play a pivotal role in the treatment process. 

Although the marmas are the junctions of all 5 principles (flesh, veins, arteries, tendons, bones and joints) at each point pre-dominance of one principle exists. It is at these points where Abhayanga can most effectively restructure or rebalance the system to function most healthily. Further, Abhayanga helps develop the bodys immune system and longevity of both the body and mind, by ensuring the proper balance and flow of hormones, fluids, immune factors etc.

What are the Marma Points? 

Marma points are positions on the body where flesh, veins, arteries, tendon, bones and joints meet. 

They may also be described as the junctions where Vayu, Pitta and Kapha meet; where Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas meet, or where eternity and relativity meet. While a healer uses these points to heal, for a warrior the very same spots could be used to harm.

The Marma points are the points where the three aspects of realization meet, i.e. the inner self, outer world, and intersection of the above two. Thus these are junctions between the physical, astral and causal bodies.
The Marma points are of great importance to a persons body, mind and spirit, as these are the points where the spirit hinges the body.


Marma Grouping

Marma points are grouped according to the region of the body. 
  • arms 22 points, 
  • legs 22 points (11 per limb), 
  • abdomen 3 points, 
  • chest 9 points, 
  • back 14 points, 
  • head and neck 37 points. 
The Marma points are also grouped according to other aspects such as 
  • muscles 10 points, 
  • tenders/ligaments 23 points, 
  • Arteries 9 points, 
  • Veins 37 points, 
  • joints 20 points  
  • bones 8 points. 
Traditionally Marma points are grouped into 3 categories, those on the legs and feet (Sankha Marma), on the trunk (Madhayamanga Marma), & neck and head (Jatrurdhara Marma).

If these points are pierced or hit forcefully, it could result in disease, trauma or even death. The heart, forehead and throat are the most vulnerable areas, whereas the areas on the arms and legs are less vulnerable to severe injury. When imbalances exist in the body, these spots become sore, through Marma Abhayanga health is restored. When a person is hit at a Marma point, the pain constantly fluctuates, if the injury is made by a weapon or the point is hit forcefully it can prove fatal, often causing death.

Marma in terms of Ayurveda

Ayurvedadetails the 108 Marma points major, and minor, which exist on the body. 

The major points correspond to the major charkas on the body, while the minor points are found around the torso and limbs. Thus healing through Marma Abhayanga affects the charkas, physical health and the doshas. 

The purpose of a Marma Abhayanga is to stimulate the various body organs and systems. These points are measured by finger units to detect their correct location. For eg - 'Animarma' is a Marma point existing just above the knee, four fingers above the middle of the knee. 

This point relates to the small intestine, and is situated at on the back of the leg, directly behind this spot. If we move the hands from the front Animarma, in a straight line to the back (i.e. by working the sides of the leg that are in line with Animarma), this Marma would be stimulated. So working on a Marma point affects the front, sides and back of a Marma, encircling the area around the arm or leg.

Kalari and Marma Healing

Kalarippayattu also teaches the Marma (meaning vital points of the body) system. Kalari-Marma system is a combination of traditional, ayurvedic and siddha systems of Marma. The southern system of Kalarippayattu developed a concept of Amritnila (nectar placement), which explains that the effectiveness of attack on Marma depends on the lunar movement. 

The most effective point changes with the moon and such effective points of each day are known as the Amritnila. They also speak of Attangal Marma (particular points), which can be used as a first aid to bring the patient to a state of consciousness. The Marma Vijnana (knowledge of Marma) has twin aspects, martial and therapeutic.
The available published manuscripts on Kalari - Marma therapy are Rangabhyasam, Ayudhabhyasam, Kalarividya, Marma Chikitsa,Marma Sasthra Peedhika, Marma Samacharam and Marma Chaari.

Marma Massage

The word Marma comes from Sanskrit origin 'mru' or 'marr' ."Marayate Iti Marmani", the Sanskrit phrase means there is likelihood of death after infliction to these places hence are are called Marma .The word Marma used with meanings as tender, secrete or vital places.

There are certain anatomical locations in the body which are vital, and serve as small pockets of Prana, thus any injury to these parts can be painful and cripple the local functions or even lead to sudden death of the individual. They are junctions of different channels of Prana movements in the body.

Prana is a vital energy ,Prana pervades each and every corner of the body, it nourishes ,guides and controls the functioning of the cell and systems. when these MARMA (junctions) are affected or ruptured ,the organs linked with Prana channels become starved with lack of Prana and some organ becomes diseased ,crippled or paralyzed or depending upon the quantum is of Prana being lost ,it may lead to slow or sudden death.

Vagbthata (In the text Ashtanga hridaya sharira 4th chapter sloka ) defines Marma is the meeting point of mamsa ,asthi,sira ,snayu,dhamani, and sandhi, and 'where the Prana is present'. This is similar with Chinese meridian concept in which the points appear either on signal meridian line or at meeting points of different meridian.

The knowledge of MARMA has got wide implication in the many fields of medical practice, but as today its traditional practices are limited and scattered in India

The knowledge of mama can be classified in following fields -In Martial art and welfare, in surgical importance, medical importance -in the management of disease and in the diagnosis of illness

There are total 107 Marma in the body. In Tamilian traditions they are 108 Marma points. and in kalari tradition hey are 365 Marma points.

They are classified for better understanding according to the physical components like - 
1)Mansa Marma (muscle),
2)sira Marma- ( vessels conveying body fluids and impulses),
3)sanyu (tendons),
4)asthi (bones) and
5)sandhi (articulate points specially bone joints).
The Marma are also grouped on the basis of there similarities in the features particularly on the basis of vulnerability_

a) Sadhya Pranhara Marma - Sadhya means sudden or immediate. there are the Marma which are vulnerable for the loss of life immediately after injury or insult.

b) Kalantara Pranhara - Kalantara means after the lapse of some time, Pranhara means loss of life. After an insults to these Marma loss of life results gradually after some time.

c) Vishalyaghana - This category of Marma is named on its surgical importance. Vishalya means being the foreign body removed. Vishalyaghana indicated death being the foreign body removed. when injured the person survives as long the foreign body remains in place.

d) Vaikalyakara - Vilkala means deform or cripple. vaikalyakara means one which deforms or cripples.

Treatment or the care of Marma- To defy from the dangers to Marma , to follow the hygienic measures everyday and to treat the affliction are the means to care Marma- Charaka Samhita

Preventative aspect- Marma are very sensitive places a small injury or insult is always a possibility. Desirous of health one must avoid physical and mental over exertions. the in depletion of tissue metabolic substances ,with holding of natural impulses ,excessive consuming dry articles, excessive physical exertion and fasting ,these factors can disturb pranvaha srotas ( channels through Prana is flowing) and makes more vulnerability to disease.

Towards positive health -

Following are the guidelines to improve upon the health of the Marma

Healthy daily regimen,

Oil massage and stimulating the Marma points, head massage, treatments in affected Marma like Nasya, Basti, Sheha pana internal oliation, soft Virechana, Shirodhara, Shiro Basti, external application with herbs.

Different oils and substitutes like needle therapy , magnet , moksha therapy and lepa herbal pack are used in treating or maintaining the health of Marma points

Trainings and Sessions

Raso Vai Ayurveda offers training in Marma massage and individual treatment with Marma massage.

Marma massgae involves full body massage with warm medicated oil and stimulating or massaging the Marma points on the body.

According to psychosomatic constitution or disease, different oils are selected for Marma massage.

Marma massage is soft flowing massage can be done by two people massaging in synchronize rhythm or with single Individual.

Marma massage the techniques and the guidelines are developed keeping the knowledge of channels and nadi location in priority.

The massage is 60 to 90 minutes of duration followed by steam bath or warm shower.

Marma massage stimulates generates the own energy resources and gives person more vital energy .It removes blockages form the Marma points giving physical and psychological relaxation and strength.

Regular Marma massage protects from vata disorders nourishes body, extends life span, provides good sleep, improves physical stability. simulating or massaging the Marma points gives benefits to the area of there location and improves the function of the connecting organs.