Marma is a Sanskrit word meaning hidden, or secret. By definition, a marma point is a juncture on the body where muscles, veins, ligaments, bones or joints etc. bodily structure combine. Yet marma points are much more than a casual connection of tissue and fluids; they are intersections of the vital life force and prana.The marma points are where consciousness meets matter; where deep silence resides in the body. In Ayurveda, marma points are thought to house the three pillars of life, otherwise known as the doshas.
According to Ayurvedic philosophy, doshas make up a person's constitution. The trinity includes vata (air), pitta (fire) and kapha (earth). Everyone is born in a state of balance, or prakriti. For the some reason doshic imbalances begin to block the movement of free-flowing energy in the body. Eventually, the stagnation opens the door to physical and mental discomfort and disease
The idea behind massaging the marma points is to cleanse blocked energy, by restoring the doshas in their original seat.
In all, 107 marma points cover the human body. They range in size from one to six inches in diameter. The points were mapped out in detail centuries ago in the Sushruta Samhita, a classic Ayurvedic text.
The points cover both the front and back 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 marma.) Each has its own Sanskrit name given by Sushruta, one of the founding father of surgery.
Marma points are located and measured by the finger widths, called anguli. Unlike the tiny, pin-pricked-sized points in comparable therapies, like acupuncture, marma points are relatively large and easy to find.
Marma points bridge the gap between the physical and energetic bodies by carrying energetic information between the mind and the body's organs and tissues. It is believed that other point therapies, including acupuncture, acupressure and reflexology, grew out of the science of marma. The key difference is that most other point practices work through the body's network of energetic currents, or meridians.
Marma-point massage dates back to southern India circa 1500 BC. Practitioners used marma-point massage to stimulate healing in areas that corresponded to the soldier's injuries. For example If a warrior suffered a blow to the small intestines, the marma point on the back of the calf, which corresponds directly with the upper intestine, would be massaged to trigger a healing flow of energy to the injury.
Among the first things to learn are the locations and qualities of the basic marma points. While the thought of memorizing the position and width of 107 points may be daunting, one can easily start by learning the names and qualities of the most apparent ones. Many marma points are naturally sensitive areas that most massage therapists are familiar with, such as the temples, the base of the skull, and the backs of the knees.
The marma massage is an effective massage with fewer efforts. As we know those are the vital points, we put the pressure in a unique way and the purpose is serving as good as massaging the whole body…!
A unique technique
When it comes to massaging the marma points, the uniqueness of the technique cannot be overstated. Using one or more fingers the massage therapist starts with a light touch, becoming increasingly firm over the course of one to three minutes per point. Working only as deep as the client feels comfortable, the therapist's motions could be either direct or circular. Clockwise movements stimulate and energize a marma point, while counterclockwise motions break up blocked energy held within a point.
A marma-point massage session usually done for 60 to 90 minutes, during which the therapist either covers all 107 points briefly or concentrates her attention on a handful of key points. The difference lies in the expertise of the practitioner and the needs of the client. Either way, the experience can be deeply relaxing and rejuvenating.