Marma is an ancient Indian practice that connects 107 vital energy points in the body. These points manipulate the subtle energy (prana) and access the body's inner pharmacy, supporting the healing process at all levels of awareness, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
When discussing Marma, it is important to remember that this practice finds its foundation in the two sister sciences of Ayurveda and Yoga. These two sciences were first mentioned in the Vedas (original documents of India) over 5000 years ago. Yoga is the "union" of body, mind, and spirit, and although it tones the body and cleanses the blood, it also controls the fluctuations of the consciousness (Chitta). Ayurveda is the India holistic medical system, which brings balance and health through the five senses and their therapies.
Ayurveda and Yoga stem from two of the six classical systems of philosophy (Shad Dharshana) in India: Samkhya and Yoga. Although separate philosophies they are almost identical in belief and are both understood by Samkhya philosophy, which explains our existence, and the practices found in Ayurveda and Yoga are its vehicles in which we achieve balance and harmony.
Samkhya philosophy is understood by 24 tattvas (principles) that explain all existence:
The practice of Marma originated in the South of India around 1500BC, and its name comes from the Sanskrit word "mri," which means death. In ancient Vedic times, the marma points were referred to as Bindu (a dot or mystic point). They were used in a type of martial arts using hand-to-hand combat to disable, confuse, incapacitated, paralyze, or kill an opponent. Subsequently, Marma masters (Marmani) would get wounded, and they had the experience of how to cause injury as well as how to use the education and awareness for healing.
Marma points are accessed on the skin's surface connecting through the channels of the body (Nadis) to the energy points where the flesh, veins, arteries, tendons, bones, and joints meet. Their energy produces hormones and neurochemicals that unfold changes to one's makeup healing the body, mind, and spirit.
Vaidya Sushruta, who recorded the locations of the marma points, documented Marma in the sixth century BC and how they influence prana. He describes 108 Major marma points in the body that correspond to the seven chakras (energy centers) of the body and where minor points radiate out along the trunk and limbs. These points cover both the front and back of the body, including 22 on the lower extremities, 22 on the arms, 12 on the chest and stomach, 14 on the back, and 37 on the head and neck. The mind is considered the 108th.
Each Marma point has its name based on its anatomical position, which is measured by finger (angula) lengths, which determine their correct locations; one "angula" is the width of one finger. Marmas also can vary in size from 1-4 finger lengths or the width of the hand.
There is some connection between acupuncture and marma therapy by locations and being healing modalities. Still, acupuncture connects through the Chinese meridian system, and Marmas connect to the chakra system (energy wheels) through the Nadis (prana channels) and the Srotas (physical channels). Furthermore, marma points connect the junctions where the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) meet and where the three subtle energies (Sattva-Purity, Rajas-Energy, and Tamas-Dullness) also meet.
Chakra means "spinning wheel," and there are seven in our bodies. They are a convergence of all energy, thoughts, and feelings and affect all levels of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health by the use of the five sense therapies including sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.
Here is a little about the chakras, starting from the foundation:
Root Chakra (Muladhara) is found on the pelvic floor. It is our connection to the earth, keeping us grounded, connecting us to our basic needs: elimination, food, sleep, sex, and survival.
Pelvic Chakra (Svadishthana), located in the sacral area, is the home of reproduction, sensual pleasure, unconditional love, devotion, self-healing, and desire.
Navel Chakra (Manipura) is at the navel and associated with our digestion and is the powerhouse for transformation, focus, intensity, discrimination, and judgment.
Heart Chakra (Anahata) the "seat of the soul," associated with the lungs, breath, and prana and radiates the highest aspects compassion, unconditional love, and total faith in the divine.
Throat Chakra (Vishuddhi) associated with space is the energetic home of speech and hearing and controls metabolism with the endocrine system in the throat.
Third-Eye Chakra (Ajna), the command center located eyebrow level at mid-brain. The meeting point where the mind and body converge and is responsible for growth and development
Crown Center (Sahasrara) links us to everything that lies beyond our linear intellect and personal needs, preferences, and emotional experiences, our gateway to enlightenment.
Marma is practiced for the individual's needs and begins with the touch but energetically goes much deeper, connecting to our thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and emotions as well to the entire fabric of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms.
Marma therapy alleviates many everyday ailments including headaches, body joint and muscle pain, spinal alignment, respiratory conditions, and digestive and elimination disorders, and low energy, anxiety, depression, stress, mental focus.
The use of medicated and essential oils is another vital tool when administering marma therapy. Applying these oils directly to specific marma points therapeutically increases energy, reduces toxins, creates flexibility, and brings changes that facilitate awareness and healing.