Marma therapy is an ancient Indian practice, which focuses on the manipulation of subtle energy (prana) in the body for the purposes of supporting the healing process. Marma therapy is based on the utilization of 107 main points in the body which are considered to be access points to body, mind, and consciousness. It is said that marma points connect the intangible energetic body to the tangible physical body where the body’s organizing intelligence is most concentrated. Most of marma points are located physically over the lymph nodes and at the joints where five anatomical structures intersect: blood vessels, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and bones. One of main purpose of working on marma points is to improve circulation of lymph, blood, and nerves.
Marma therapy is an important method of Ayurvedic treatment for a range of health problems. Marmas work like energy switches to turn prana on or off, or move prana up or down for removing blockages, improving energy flow and connections of body, mind, and consciousness. Also an experienced Ayurvedic specialists may use marmas as one of effective tools for diagnosis. If any toxins, stress, or negative emotions are held at marma point sites for a long time, a person might have pain and swelling in these areas that shows that a disease is unfolding, even before it can be diagnosed by a Western doctor.
Marma therapy is used in Ayurvedic massages or bodyworks. The Ayurvedic practitioner focuses on marma areas to adjust energy flow (stimulate or release) and relieve pain. Ayurveda utilizes pressure, heat, herbs, herbal oils, essential oils, gems, and other tools for improving prana flow through marma points. One of the most profound effect of Ayurvedic face and head massage comes from marma therapy, which focuses on the vital energy points of the face and head. The main purpose of an Ayurvedic face and head massage is to relax face muscles while improving circulation and calming down the mind, thus reducing stress.
Here is a list of the marma points that are usually worked on during an Ayurvedic face and head massage or Ayurvedic facial: The Adhipati point is located at the top of the head, also known as a crown chakra, where all three doshas or biological energies - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha - meet. Adhipati controls the pineal gland, responsible for many hormonal functions, including producing melatonin which is needed for good sleep. Normal flow of energy through this point is essential for lubrication of the brain and thinking power. In case of anxiety, worries, and sleep problems, warmed up sesame oil or herbal Ashwagandha oil should be applied on the point and massaged into it gently. If a person experiences anger, intensity, or resentment, cooling aromatic oils, like sandalwood, frankincense, brahmi, or rose, can be useful. If a person needs to stimulate their mind, camphor or basil essential oils are used.
The Simanta point is located in the middle between frontal hairline and a top of the head on the middle line. This point controls nervous system, plasma, blood and circulatory systems. Almond, sesame, or medicated Ashwagandha oils are beneficial for calming down the mind, promoting sleep, and the whole body relaxation. For opening the head energy, use camphor, mint, or calamus oils.
The Sthapani point’s site is in between the eyebrows (third eye). Sthapani controls the mind, the senses, and the pituitary gland, which is the master gland that is responsible for controlling several other hormone glands in the body, including the thyroid and adrenals, the ovaries, and testicles. Sandalwood essential oil is the most beneficial for working on this point. This oil is famous for its ability for grounding and calming down the mind and nerves and relieving fever. It is also good for promoting a meditative state of mind. For stimulating the mind and senses, camphor, bayberry, basil, mint, and calamus oils are the most beneficial.
The Shankha point is located on the temples. Another, Utkshepa point, you can find two fingers above Shankha and two fingers closer to the ear. These points control the sensation of touch and smell, and downward movement of Vata energy in the large intestine, where balance is crucial for all organs' health. Sesame oil, Bala, and Ashwagandha herbal oils with sesame as a base oil are good for massaging into the points for promoting relaxation. Jatamansi essential oil is an excellent choice for working on this marma. Those who suffer from worry or other overly active and mental habits will benefit immensely from regular use of this special oil. Jatamansi is calming and grounding and is highly revered for its ability to support deep sleep and to help one work through and release subconscious trauma.
The Phana marma points are located on the sides of nostrils. It controls the sense organ of smell, the nasal passages and sinus, and the Ida and Pingala: left and right nostril Prana channels. This marma point is good for relieving headaches, pressure in the sinuses and congestion. For treating the nose, spicy aromatic oils, such as eucalyptus or peppermint, are great.
The Avarta marma points are located at the center of each eyebrow. This point controls Vata energy (movements in general and movements of thought in particular), the sense of sight, and what is really surprising, the bodily posture. For improving energy flow in a gentle manner, adaptability, and calming down the mind, sesame and almond oils and Ashwagandha herbal oil are best. Add a little bit of sandalwood essential oil to the oils to increase their potency. For stimulating the pranic flow to the head and the body, camphor, mint, or eucalyptus essential oils are beneficial.
The Shringataka point is primarily an internal marma on the soft palate, which in yogic thought, is the meeting point of the energies of the tongue, nose, eyes, and ears. We can, however, work on the corresponding region of the face. There is a lot of tension held in this region. For Vata imbalances (dryness in the mouth, hypertension, etc.) massage with almond or sesame oil. Calamus, myrrh, and frankincense essential oils are beneficial as well. Massaging this point relieves jaw tension and pain in the jaw, head, and neck (TMJ syndrome).
As you see, marma therapy incorporated in Ayurvedic facial or Ayurvedic face and head massage, brings many benefits including stress reduction, hormonal balance, cleaned blocked energy channels, increased blood and lymph circulation, improved senses of smell, sight and hearing.