Marma In Brief
The Marmas (vital points) are a very important part of Ayurvedic anatomy and surgery. A Marma point is defined as an anatomical site where flesh, veins, arteries, tendons, bones and joints meet up. There are 107 Marma points throughout the body. Each point has itís own intelligence and consciousness, which co-ordinate with the mind and body. This ancient form of treatment dating back to between 1500 ó 1200 BC involves using the fingers to stimulate the Marma points thereby promoting physical and mental rehabilitation. As with Acupuncture, these points correspond to internal organs and systems of the body which react to manual stimulation.
What is Marma?
Marma are certain vital areas of the body. The word marma comes from Sanskrit origin mru or marr. The Sanskrit phrase, Marayate Iti Marmani, means there is likelihood of death or serious damage to health after infliction to these places and hence these areas are called marma.
Marma is also thought to be a Sanskrit word meaning hidden or secret. By definition, a marma point is a juncture on the body where two or more types of tissue meet, such as muscles, veins, ligaments, bones or joints.
What are Marma Points?
There are total 107 Marma in the body. In Tamil traditions they are 108 Marma points, and in Kalari tradition there are 365 Marma points. The points were mapped out in detail centuries ago in the Sushruta Samhita, a classic Ayurvedic text. Major marma points correspond to the seven chakras, or energy centers of the body, while minor points radiate out along the torso and limbs. 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 onw Sanskrit name given by Sushruta, one of the founding fathers of Ayurvedic medicin
The human body, like a machine needs servicing in order to function normally. The Hindu healthcare system uses Marma massage as a routine part of their preventative medicine. A professional therapist isolates the Marma points and cleans them out by increasing the blood flow to the affected part of the neuro-muscular junction. They also aim to tone the surrounding muscles.
History of Marma Massage
Marma-point massage dates back to southern India circa 1500 BC. Masters of kalari, an ancient martial art, first discovered the power of marma points. In battle, kalari fighters targeted an opponent's marma points as a way to inflict pain and injury. According to kalari lore, people have 12 marma points that, when hit with a knockout blow, can cause instant death. These areas were so important that soldiers even used armor to protect their horses' marma points while riding into battle.
Along with their ability to kill, however, comes an ability to heal. Wounded kalari fighters were nursed back to health with marma therapy. Practitioners used marma-point massage to stimulate healing in areas that corresponded to the soldier's injuries. If a warrior suffered a blow to the small intestines, for example, 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. Eventually, Ayurvedic physicians around India learned of the technique's powers and brought kalari masters into hospitals to teach the art. Soon, marma-point training became mandatory for surgeons, who would take great pains to work around specific points lest they risk a patient's life. Today marma-point massage is still a respected component of Ayurvedic healing.
Marma Massage Today
In summary, simulating or massaging the marma points gives benefits to the area of their locations and improves the function of the connecting organs. The marma massage itself is approximately 60 to 90 minutes of duration followed by steam bath or warm shower. The above is only a brief outline to marma massages. Ideally, marma massages should be first consulted with a qualified ayurvedic physician and performed by experienced therapists. The marma massage can be used as a part of a rejuvenation therapy or it could be used as preventative measure from unwanted conditions. Either way, marma massage is a really useful way to help improve or maintain an individual's health balance.
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