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Ayurveda is a science of life which focuses on body, mind and soul for ensuring a complete state of health and this ancient wisdom is well-reflected in the unique concept and composition of marma also.

Marma is defined as an anatomical site where muscles, veins, ligaments, bones and joints meet. They are known as vital spots in the body. Marmas are 107 in number which are considered as a seat of prana (life force).  These have been elaborately described in Sushrut Samhita. These marma points have been described classically as the seat of prana and also classified according to their anatomical structures, location in the body, numbers and size.

As per Ayurvedic literature, these regions are the confluence of mamsa (muscles), sira (vessels), snayu (ligaments and tendons), asthi (bone) and sandhi (joints). It is also advised that these sites must be protected from any trauma or physical injury.

Master Sushruta has indirectly utilized these marma regions for the treatment of many disorders through siravedh (venipuncture) near the marma which clearly depicts that regions of the body have a special property of vitality which can be utilized in the treatment of various disorders but may also prove fatal if these regions are traumatized during the procedure.

The applied aspect of marma chikitsa or marma therapy is gaining popularity in which marma is stimulated in different ways to treat different disorders.

These vital sites are being directly utilized by Ayurvedic physicians to obtain therapeutic goals through controlled stimulation. The controlled stimulation of each marma is different from the other and is done through hands only.

The basic logic behind the use of these marma regions rest on the theory of panchamahabhuta (five elements) and triguna (three doshas) which are the fundamental constituents of all physical forms. Marma has holistic effects because their stimulation directly affects prana (life force) which in turn has an influence on all the three doshas, nadis, chakras bringing homeostasis in the body.

Classification of Marma according to Master Sushruta:

These are divided into different groups according to the physical matrices and on the basis of their special features.

On the basis of body structure:

  1. Mamsa (muscle) Marma – Total mamsa marma are 11 that are classified as:
    • Tala hridya – 4
    • Indravasti – 4
    • Guda—1
    • Stana rohita – 2
  2. Sira (veins) Marma: These are 41 in number that are:
    • Neela – 2
    • Manya – 2
    • Matrika – 8
    • Shringhataka – 4
    • Apanga – 2
    • Sthapani – 1
    • Phana – 2
    • Stanamoola – 2
    • Palapa – 2
    • Apastmba – 2
    • Hridya – 1
    • Nabhi – 1
    • Parshavsandhi – 2
    • Brihati – 4
    • Lohitaksha – 4
    • Urvi – 2
  3. Snayu (ligaments and tendons) marma: The 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
  4. Asthi (bones) Marma: Asthi marma are 8 in number which are classified into:
    • Katiktarun – 2
    • Nitamb – 2
    • Ansphalak – 2
    • Shankha – 2
  5. Sandhi (joints) Marma: These are 20 in number which are named as:
    • Janu – 2
    • Kurpara – 2
    • Seemantha – 5
    • Adhipati – 1
    • Gulpha – 2
    • Manibandh – 2
    • Kukundar – 2
    • Avarta – 2
    • Kritatika – 2

Marma points are also classified on the basis of injury which are described below:

  1. Sadhya Pranhara Marma: Sadhya means immediate and pranhara means death. Marma when affected leads to immediate death. The predominant dosha in sadhya pranhara marma is agni, so when injury occurs at sadhyapranhara marma, agni depletes and causes immediate death (Su. Sha. 6/17).  The sadhya pranhara marma are 19 in number. These are:
    • Shringhataka—4
    • Adhipati – 1
    • Shankh – 2
    • Matrika – 8
    • Guda – 1
    • Basti – 1
    • Hridya – 1
    • Nabhi – 1
  2. Kalantar Pranhara Marma: Kalantra means after sometime and pranhara means which may lead to death. So, kalantara pranhara means which may cause death after 15-20 days after the injury occurs. These marmas are also agni Pradhan as well as saumya in nature. So, if injury occurs on these marmas, saumya guna as well as agni depletes leading to death after few days. (Su. Sha. 6/17). These are 33 in number which are:
    • Apalapa – 2
    • Apastambha – 2
    • Stanarohita – 2
    • Stanamoola – 2
    • Seemantha – 5
    • Talahridya – 4
    • Kshipra – 4
    • Indrabasti – 4
    • Katiktarun – 2
    • Prashav sandhi – 2
    • Bruhati – 2
    • Nitambh – 2
  3. Rujakar Marma – As the name suggests, ruja means pain and kar means cause. Injury to these marma points cause excess pain. These consist of agni and vayu gunas. Vayu is generally associated with pain so injury to these marma points cause excessive pain. These are 8 in number which include:
    • Gulpha – 2
    • Manibandha – 2
    • Kurchashira – 4
  4. Vishalya Ghana Marma— Marmas which cause death on removal of the weapon from the site of impaction (marma point). Once the foreign body is removed, the person dies due to the escape of Prana Vayu which is considered as the life force because as long as the instrument or weapon is impacted at the site of marma, the vayu is blocked. Once it is removed, the vayu escapes from the body causing immediate death of the person.  These are 3 in number namely:
    • Utakshepa – 2
    • Sthapani – 1
    • Jacob Miller, a war veteran got hit by a bullet on sthapani marma (between the eye brows). The bullet was never removed and he lived with the bullet for 31 years!
  5. Vaikalyakara Marma – These marma points are jala guna Pradhan. When these are affected, they cause deformity. Vaikalyakara Marma are 44 in number namely:
    • 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

Indications of Marma Chikitsa:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Respiratory tract disorders
  • Digestive disorders
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Neurological disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Genitourinary disorders

Specific conditions treated by Marma therapy are:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Lumbar spondylitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Sciatic pain
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Digestion problems

Various techniques used in Marma therapy are:

  1. Abhyanga: Abhyanga therapy is widely used for giving pressure to the marma points. It includes various procedures such as snehana, gharshana, udvartana, pizhichil, kizhi etc. The different oils are used based on the doshas. In Vataj conditions, sesame oil, ksheerbala oil etc. are used, in pittaj conditions, coconut oil, rose oil etc. are prescribed and in kaphaj conditions, mustard oil, corn oil etc. are used. Specific precautions during Abhyanga therapy:
    • Proper knowledge about marma points is mandatory.
    • Nails of the physician should be cleaned.
    • Pressure is concentrated on the hard area rather than applying it on the soft area.
    • If the patient is sensitive, then marma therapy is given in the lying posture and if the patient is not sensitive, then it can be given in the sitting position.
  2. Using Herbal Pastes:  This is known as Lepa Chikitsa. This therapy is quite effective in reducing pain and inflammation and this provides strength to the bones and joints.
  3. Agnikarma: Agnikarma is not applicable for all marma points in the body. It is not to be done in the marmas like hridya, basti, nabhi, adhipati etc. as these marmas are the vital points in the body so direct heat should not be applied to these points. In this procedure, heat at a particular temperature is given with the help of agnikarma instrument. This procedure is helpful in the cases such as vatakantaka (calcaneal spur), kurchashira marma (on sole), katikataruna marma (sciatic pain), kurpara marma (elblow joint pain), manibandh marma (wrist joint pain) etc. So, agnikarma is beneficial in bone related conditions.
  4. Swedana: Swedana therapy is referred as fomentation therapy. It is useful in removing stiffness, heaviness and coldness in the body. There are different kinds of oils used in swedana therapy based on the condition.
  5. Dhara: In this therapy, medicated oils or ghee are poured on the specific marma point. In case of vataja condition, warm oil is used and in raktaja or pittaj conditions, cold oils are used for pouring.
  6. Blood Letting: Blood letting in marma therapy is indicated in vitiation of Pitta dosha. This is done on veins that are visible and nearest to the specific marma.

Advantages of Marma therapy:

  • Fast relief
  • Without any side effect if done by trained Ayurvedic practitioner
  • Less expensive
  • No need of anesthesia
  • No hospital stay required

Disclaimer:-

This article is not a substitute to the standard Medical Diagnosis or personalized Ayurvedic Treatment! It is intended only for Information!

For experts consultation, please write us at care@blessayurveda.com.

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