Marmas are vital energy points which connect to nerve endings throughout the body. By pressing on the marmas, the Ayurvedic practitioner strengthens the organs to which they are connected. Each marma is sensitive to some specific stimuli which then causes it to become depolarized. When a point is tender to the touch it indicates that it is imbalanced. Thus, it is sending a message that a particular organ or body part requires our attention. This is actually a method of protecting that area from further injury or harm. By working on a marma point, it will eventually ease pain.
The ancient Ayurvedic physician Sushruta identified 117 marma points. The marmani (plural of marma) serve a variety of purposes. They can balance the mind, prevent further illness, detoxify the body, and rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. Mama chikitsa (or marma therapy) can be used to treat imbalances caused by all three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha.
The tanmatras are the five subtle bodies. One tanmatra is sparsha, or touch. Marma chikitsa is correlated to the tanmatra of touch. The primary purpose for this touch is to heal the body and mind.
The starting point is to determine which marma points are sensitive. If you are performing marma chikitsa on another individual, inquire whether there has been an injury to the corresponding organ. If there is swelling, that is a sign of a kapha disorder. Redness indicates internal inflammation and thus signifies a pitta imbalance. All pain is caused by vata.
In performing marma chiktisa, it is helpful to apply herbal oils to the marmani. You may add one drop of essential oil per two ounces of the herbal oil. Tulsi, peppermint, and lavender oil are tri-doshic (balancing to vata, pitta, and kapha).
Once you have identified a sensitive marma point, you may press on it for two minutes to help balance the corresponding body part. You may also rotate the point clockwise to strengthen the organ, or counter-clockwise to pacify irritation.
Here are some marma points that are specific to healing the adrenals:
- Ānī marma—this point is located in the inner crease of the elbow, on the ulnar (pinky) side of the tendon of the bicep muscle. Ānī translates as “tonification.” Pressing on this marma point will regulate the fluid systems in the body, maintain bladder tone, and treat urinary dysfunction.
- Gulpha marma—this consists of the lateral and medial points near the ankle on either side of the foot. The medial gulpha marma is on the inside of the foot, one finger width below and one finger width back to the tip of prominence on the outer rim of the inner ankle. The lateral gulpha marma is in a small indented area below the prominence on the outer side of the ankle. Gulpha translates as “dimple or ditch.” A ditch is an area where water is gathered. The gulpha marma reduces edema or swelling, it regulates kidney function, normalizes water filtration, balances renal colic, and assists with urinary disorders. Pregnant women should not press on the gulpha marma.
- Karnamūla—this is the marma point located in the depression just behind the ears. Karnamūla translates as “the root of the ear.” It enhances kidney and adrenal function and relieves kidney dysfunctions, including infections.
- Pārshva Sandhi—this marma point is located at the tip of the 11th rib or the floating rib on both sides of the body. This point helps with renal colic, reduces kidney stones, and enhances the flow of prāna, the vital life force. Pārshva translates as “rib or side” and sandhi means “joint.” Thus the term “Pārshva sandhi” means a side of the ribs or the joint between the ribs.
- Vartma—these consists of three points near the eyelid (vartma). The first is at the inside edge of the eye, in the space between where the eye and nose meet. The second is under the bottom eyelid, aligned with the pupil. The third point is on the outer edge of the eye, just below and to the side. All three marmani enhance the functioning of the adrenals and kidneys by reducing stress on these organs. They also help regulate anxiety, which is associated with the adrenals and kidneys. Since these points are located near the eyes, be careful not to press too hard.
Marma chikitsa can be done within a session by a trained Ayurvedic practitioner. It is part of the abhyanga, or oil massage in panchakarma. Additionally, it can be used for self-healing daily. Use marma chikitsa to tone and support your adrenal functions, along with the appropriate diet and herbs. This is another method to put you on the path to healing with Ayurveda.