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All About Marma Therapy in Ayurveda

Marma - vital points of the body. Marma therapy is an ayurvedic technique that helps in sustaining the flow of energy throughout the body. Stimulation of marma points affect everything in the body whether it is the health of your organs, the production of hormones and other processes of your body. In this article we are going to discuss all about marma, dushti nidan (causes of vitiation), vidha lakshan (affected symptoms) and how marma therapy helps a patient in getting rid of the health issue. Let's take a detailed view.

Introduction

“Maryanti Iti Marmani” means marma are the vital points of the body which when affected may cause death. According to acharya sushruta (su.sha. 6/16) the union of mamsa, sira, snayu, asthi and sandhi is known as marma. And if any of the marma gets affected then the patient may suffer from a lot of health issues. As their pachindriye get affected (shabda, sparsha, roopa, ras and gandha) and along with that their mana and budhi also get affected. According to acharya charaka, marma are the sites where the pain sensation is felt more in comparison to other points in the body and this occurs because of the association of life elements along with these points. According to acharya vagbhata, ma means prana(life) and another ma in marma word denotes residence. Which means the site of the body that is the residence of prana is known as marma. Marma therapy is very beneficial in getting rid of a number of health issues. In marma therapy the practitioners give massage on the marma points that helps in stimulating the healing in those areas that are related to that specific marma. Now let’s have a detailed study on marma and marma therapy.

Marma therapy, Marma chikitsa, Marma points, Marma points therapy

All About Marma- The Vital Points

As we studied earlier, marma are the vital points of our body which when affected may lead to death. According to acharya sushruta (Su. Sha.6/3) saptauttaram marmashatam- the total number of marma is 107. Now we are going to discuss the classification of marma along with their vidha lakshan.

Classification Of Marma According To Acharya Sushruta

On The Basis Of Body Structure Involved

  • Mamsa marma- Total number of mamsa marma is 11, that are- tala hridaya (4), indravasti (4), guda (1), stana rohita (2).  
  • Sira marma- Sira marma are 41 in number, that are- neela (2), manya (2), matrika (8), shringhataka (4), apanga (2), sthapani (1), phana (2), stanamoola (2), palapa (2), apastamba (2), hridya (1), nabhi (1), parshavsandhi (2), brihati (4), lohitaksha (4), urvi (2). 
  • Snayu marma- Total number of snayu marma is 27, that are- ani (4), vitap (2), kakshadhara (2), kurcha (4), kurcha shir (4), basti (1), kshipra (4), ans (2), vidhura (2), utakshepa (2).  
  • Asthi marma- Asthi marma are 8 in number named as- katiktarun (2), nitamb (2), ansphalak (2), shankha (2).  
  • Sandhi marma- These are 20 in number, janu (2), kurpara (2), seemantha (5), adhipati (1), gulpha (2), manibanda (2), kukundar (2), avarta (2), krikatika (2).

On The Basis Of Consequences Of Injury

  • Sadhya pranhara marma- Sahdya means immediate and prana means life and hara means reduced so the marma which when affected can lead to immediate death is known as sadhya pranhara marma. As the predominant dosha in sadhyapranhara marma is agni so when injury occurs in sadhyapranahara marma agni guna depletes and causes immediate death as per su.sha.6/17. The total number of sadhya pranhara marma is 19 that includes- shringhataka (4), adhipati (1), shankh (2), matrika (8), guda, basti, hridya, nabhi. 
  • Kalantar pranhara marma- The name denotes kalantara means after sometime and pranhara means which may lead to death so kalantara pranhara marma are those which may cause death within 15-30 days after the injury occurs. As these marmas are soumya and agni guna pradhan so if injury occurs on these marmas agni guna depletes immediately and soumya guna depletes slowly so both these lead to death after a few days (su.sha.6/17). These are 33 in number- apalapa (2), apastamba (2), stanarohita (2), stanamoola (2), seemantha (5), talahridya (4), kshipra (4), indrabasti (4), katiktarun (2), parshav sandhi (2), bruhati (2), nitambh (2). 
  • vishalya ghana marma - Vishalya ghana marmas are the sites from which when the shalya is removed a patient may become fatal. The pradhan mahabhuta is vayu in these marmas so the patient is alive until the shalya remains in the marma site but as it is removed from the site the patient may die. These are 3 in number- utakshepa (2) and sthapani (1).
  • Vaikalyakara marma- Vaikalyakara marma are soumya guna pradhan which means jaala guna pradhan. Jala has a stable quality and affects life by producing deformity. The number of vaikalyakar marma is 44, lohitaksha (4), ani (4), jaanu (2), urvi (4), kurcha (4), vitap (2), kurpar (2), kukundar (2), kakshadhara (2), vidhur (2), krikatika (2), ans (2), ansphalak (2), apanga (2), neela (2), manya (2), phana (2), avarta (2). 
  • Rujakar marma- As the name suggests ruja means pain and kar means cause, so the marma that causes excessive pain are rujakar marma. These are agni and vayu guna yukta and agni and vayu are mainly responsible for pain so due to this fact if injury occurs in rujakar marma patients may suffer from excessive pain.

On The Basis Of Site In Body

  • Shakhagata marma (marma in limbs)- These are 44 in number, In upper limbs- kshipra, tala hridaya, kurcha, kurchashira, manibanda, indrabasti, kurpara, ani, urvi, lohitaksha, kakshadhara, all are 2 in number 1 in each limb. In lower limbs- kshipra, tala hridaya, kurcha, kurchashira, gulpha, indrabasti, jaanu, ani, urvi, lohitaksha, vitap. 
  • Madhyam sharir marma (marma in trunk region)- It includes udara (abdominal region)), vaksh (chest region) and prishtha (back region). In abdominal and chest region- guda (1), basti (1), nabhi (1), hridya (1), stanamoola (2), stanarohita (2), aplapa (2), apastamba (2). In the back region- katiktarun (2), kukundar (2), nitamb (2), parshavsandhi (2), bruhati (2), ansphalak (2), ans (2). Hence total numbers of madhyam sharir marma are 26.  
  • Jatru urdhva marma (marma of upper clavicle region)- These are 37 in number-Neela (2), manya (2), matrika (8), krikatika (2), vidhur (2), phana (2), apang (2), avarta (2), utakshepa (2), shankh (2), sthapani (2), seemantha (5), shringhataka (4), adhipati (1).

Trimarma Vivechana (Description Of Trimarma)

According to acharya charaka (ch.chi. 26/3) trimarma are regarded as madhyam roga and the diseases that occur due to trimarma are asadhya (not to be treated) or krich sadhya (difficult to treat). These three marma are hridya, basti and nabhi and are considered as residence of prana (life), so it is important to keep these marma safe and guarded.

Marmaghata Vivechana (Description Of Marma Injury)

It is important to know about the lakshana of marma injury as per treatment point of view. As we studied earlier, if injury occurs over sadhyapranhara marma then the patient may die immediately so while doing treatment most importantly while performing surgical procedure it is necessary to provide anesthesia to the patient so that patient may not feel any kind of pain and difficulty while the surgery. Also blood transfusion is to be performed while performing surgery.

Smanya Lakshana Of Marmaghata

According to acharya sushruta (su.sha.6/43,44) there is no marma injury that is responsible for no or mild deformity. Each marma injury causes excessive deformity and death. And these deformities are not reversed once it occurs. As per su.su.25/34,35) 5 out of 10 marma site injury can cause dizziness, delirium, power collapse, enchantment, restricted movements or irregular movement, giddiness, hotness, looseness of body parts, faintness, breathlessness, different types of pain, bleeding like flesh washed water and difficulty in working of panchendriya. According to acharya vagbhata (as.s.sha.7/24) the samanya lakshana are numbness, heaviness, faintness, urge of cold things, sweating, vomiting and breathlessness.

Vishesha Lakshan Of Marmaghata

Shakhagata Marmaghata Lakshan

  • Kshipra marma- Death due to convulsions
  • Tala Hridaya marma- Death due to pain
  • Kurcha marma- Obliqueness and shivering in feet
  • Kurcha shira marma- Pain and swelling
  • Gulpha marma- Stiffness and lameness in feet  
  • Indrabasti marma- Death due to depletion in blood
  • Janu marma- Lameness
  • Ani marma- Excessive swelling and stiffness in limbs
  • Urvi marma- Blood depletion leads to death  
  • Lohitaksha marma- Paralysis or death due to blood depletion
  • Vitap marma- Infertility and decrease in sperm count
  • Manibandha marma- Stiffness in hand
  • Kurpara marma- Lameness
  • Kakshadhara marma- Paralysis

Udargata Marmaghata Lakshana

  • Guda marma- Immediate death
  • Basti marma- Immediate death
  • Nabhi marma- Immediate death
  • Hridya marma- Immediate death
  • Stanamoola marma- Excessive kapha accumulation leads to death
  • Stanarohita marma- Excessive rakta dosha accumulation lead to death
  • Apalapa marma- Accumulation of pus along with blood leads to death
  • Apastamba marma- Vata dosha accumulation leads to death

Pristhagata Marmaghata Lakshana

  • Katiktarun marma- Hemoglobin depletion leads to anemia and later on death
  • Kukundar marma- Loss of sensation of touch and paraplegia  
  • Nitambha marma- Excessive weakness lead to death
  • Parshav sandhi marma- Excessive blood accumulation lead to death
  • Bruhati marma- Hemoglobin depletion may lead to death 
  • Ansa pahalak marma- Numbness in arm
  • Ansa marma- Stiffness in arm

Urdava Jatrugata Marmagahta Lakshana

  • Neela and manya marma- Loss of speech, Defect in speech, loss of sensation of taste. 
  • Matrika marma- Immediate death
  • Krikatika marma- Instability of head
  • Vidhur marma- Deafness
  • Phana marma- Anosmia (Loss of sense of smell)
  • Apanga marma- Blindness
  • Avarta marma- Blindness or defective vision
  • Shankha marma- Immediate death due to middle meningeal haemorrhage 
  • Utakshepa marma- Death after expelling shalya (instrument) out of the marma
  • Sthapani marma- Death after expelling shalya (instrument) out of the marma 
  • Seemant marma- Insanity and mental breakdown lead to death
  • Shringhataka marma- Immediate death
  • Adhipati marma- Immediate death

What Is Marma Therapy

Marma therapy is known as the energy healing in the branch of ayurveda by the way of utilizing the 107 marma in the body. Each marma helps the entry into chakras (vibrational energy centers) that are present along the sides of the spine that releases the blocked energy and also stimulates the pranic flow. The word pranic means something that is related to prana so pranic flow refers to flow of vital life force throughout the body. Marma therapy helps in relieving all the health conditions that can be stimulated by particular marma. Also it helps in increasing immunity and lowering the stress levels. According to marma therapy marma are classified into two categories that are lethal and therapeutic marma.

  • Lethal marma: These marma are too sensitive for soft direct touch and manipulation. When injury occurs at these points the life force can hit and push out of the body and lead to unconsciousness and even death. Lethal marma can be used for therapeutic purposes by avoiding the central most vulnerable area of particular lethal marma. 
  • Therapeutic marma: The therapeutic marma are those sensitive points that can be useful for direct energy.

Basic Role Of Marma

Marma helps in removing all types of blockage in energy channels of our body. It also pacifies vata dosha and promotes it to move along normal paths particularly vyana vata (controls autonomic nervous system). If vata dosha increases in our body it leads to degeneration. Mamma therapy helps in promoting our body at physical, mental, spiritual and emotional levels.

Marma Therapy For Therapeutic Purpose

It is helpful in various health conditions some of them are below:

  • Frozen joints
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Neurological disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Muscular pain
  • Joint pain
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Muscular strains
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss

Specific Conditions Curable By Marma Therapy

  • Tremors
  • Paralysis
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Lumbar spondylitis
  • Carpal turner syndrome
  • Frozen joints
  • Lumbar spondylitis
  • Sciatic pain
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Digestion problems

Various Techniques And Methods For Marma Therapy

Abhyanga Therapy

Abhyanga therapy is the supreme tool to cure internal organs by marma points. It includes various procedures that are Snehana (massage with oil), Gharshana (dry powder massage), Udvartana- ruksha and snigdha (massage with coarse powder in ruksha udvartana and massage with pleated paste in snigdha udvartana), Pizhichil (a piece of cloth dipped in oil then that oil is squeezed on the affected part), Kizhi (in this massage is done with wrist, palm, thumb and even heel of foot).

Oils Used For Abhyanga: In vataja conditions- sesame oil, almond oil, olive oil. In pittaja conditions mint oil, coconut oil, saffron oil, rose oil. In kaphaja conditions corn oil or mustard oil.

Specific Precautions During Abhyanga Therapy: Proper knowledge of marma therapy to  the physician, Nails of physicians should be cleaned, light food is given to the patient, clinicians energy should be positive so that a positive energy should be transferred to the patient. Pressure is concentrated on hard area rather than soft area and the preferred pressure will remain between 6-8 pounds, and if a patient is sensitive (avara satva) then marma therapy is given in lying posture and if patient is not sensitive then sitting position is preferred.

Marma Therapy By Using Herbal Pastes

This is known as lepa chikitsa and it is quite effective to reduce pain and swelling over the marma area. Application of herbal pastes provide stability and strength to the joints and bones of specific affected areas.

Specific marma for lepa application along with ingredients used: Shankha and sthapani marma- lepa of ginger, nutmeg, calamus and clove. Nabhi marma- haritaki and hing lepa to improve digestion and cure from certain digestive problems. Shringhataka marma- paste of turmeric to resolve the problem of hikka (hiccup).

Agnikarma For Marma Therapy

This therapy is not applicable for all marmas. As there are sadhyapranahara marma in which agni mahabhu is prandhantama so it is not to be done in these marmas like hridya, basti, nabhi, adhipati, etc. as we know that marma are the vital points of our body so direct heat should not be applied to these points and instead of that agnikarma instrument is applied to the nearest part of that particular marma point that is not sensitive and heat is given by the other hand of the agnikarma instrument, heat travels from one end to the other and that intensity of heat is enough for the marma point.

Specific areas for agnikarma in different conditions: Calcaneal spur   (vatakantaka)- kurchashira marma (on sole), Hepatic coma- kurcha marma (on right sole), Splenomegaly- on kurcha marma (left side), Sciatic pain- katikataruna marma, Knee joint pain- janu marma, Elbow joint pain- kurpara marma, wrist joint pain- manibandha marma. So specifically agnikarma karma is beneficial in bone related conditions.

Dhara

In this therapy oil or ghee is poured on the specific marma. In case of vataja condition warm oil is used and in pittaja and raktaja conditions cold oil is used.

Swedana

Swedana therapy is referred to as fomentation therapy. Here the main process occurs is perspiration and it removes stiffness, coldness and heaviness in the body.  Oil used for sweden are: In vataja conditions- vata haar oils like almond oil or sesame oil, in pittaj conditions- honey, ghee, milk and coconut oil, in kaphaja conditions- mustard oil warm oils or gomutra.

Blood Letting For Marma Therapy

Blood letting is indicated in pittaja conditions. This is to be done on veins that are visible and nearest to the specific marma.

Advantages Of Marma Therapy

  • Less expensive
  • Without side effects if done by trained practitioner
  • Fast relief
  • No need of internal medicine
  • No need of anesthesia
  • No hospital stay required

Conclusion

In this study we discuss all about marma and marma therapy. Here we explained classification of marma, description of trimarma and marmaghata along with common and specific symptoms of marmaghata. In marma therapy we discuss its basic role, therapeutic and specific uses and the various techniques used in marma therapy. Hope you all will understand and prefer marma therapy as it is less expensive, without any side effects, no internal medicine is given in it and also there is no need of hospitalization. So we suggest you must go for marma therapy for your health concerns. For any queries planet ayurveda is always there to help you.

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Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan

MD (AYURVEDA)

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