Ayurvedic Marma Points 101: The Healing Ability Of Ayurvedic Energy Centers

reviewed by Liz Burns 500H RYT
Last Updated:

For centuries, practitioners have meticulously mapped the human body, establishing connections between various limbs, organs, immune responses, and even emotions with distinct energy points. 

Marma points is a term that comes from an ancient form of energy healing, originated within the 5000-year-old Ayurvedic system of medicine. 

These energy points, also known as acupuncture or acupressure points in Chinese Medicine play a direct role in both Ayurvedic and yogic healing practices.

In this article, we’ll cover the below:

  • What Are Marma Points
  • How Marma Points Work
  • How Marma Points Can Be Affected Negatively
  • Marma Points Ayurvedic Massage
  • Benefits Of Marma Points Ayurvedic Massage

Let’s dive in!

woman having marma points massaged

What Are Marma Points

In the ancient Vedic era, marma points were considered mystical points situated on the outer self in the physical body (annamaya kosha). When these points are pressed, they are thought to activate a passage to the inner self.

Marma points are generally engaged nowadays in massage, or therapy, within the context of ayurvedic healing and medicine.

The Vedic scripture tells us the body encompasses a total of 107 marma points, each serving a specific purpose, with its individual name and exclusive massage technique. 

These physical marma points are positioned at the convergence of tendons, bones, muscles, joints, veins, nerves, and other tissues. The choice of Ayurvedic massage oils when it comes to massage is determined by an individual’s Ayurvedic dosha type.

In total, there in fact exists 108 marma points—107 on the physical body as mentioned, and 1 in the mind. 

person getting foot massaged

As examples, here are some of the marma points found in your head region:

Phana marmafound symmetrically at the base of the nostrils, measuring half a finger point
Apanga marmafound symmetrically at the outer sides of both eyes, measuring half a finger point
Vidhur marmafound symmetrically behind and below both ears, measuring half a finger point
Shankha marmafound symmetrically at both temples on the head, measuring half a finger point
Utkshepa marmafound symmetrically where the hair meets the forehead on either side of the head, measuring half a finger point
Avarta marmafound symmetrically midway above both eyebrows, measuring half a finger point
Marma points found in your head

The age-old Ayurvedic healing system emphasizes that healing originates from within the body itself. Stimulating these marma points, through this passage to the inner self, encourages the body to address illness and pain.

It also tells us these points play a pivotal role in promoting overall well-being. Each marma point is linked to a particular name and health benefit and comes with its own appropriate massage technique for activation. 

While marma points can be highly effective in promoting good health, they should be approached with care as they can also be used to inflict pain or paralysis in certain martial arts. 

person with energy center in their hand

In the realm of Ayurveda, however, marma points are exclusively employed for their therapeutic properties and are never intended for harmful intentions.

Marma points are measured in ‘finger units’ with each point having distinctive features. For example, the Hridaya marma, symbolizing ‘heart,’ is situated at the sternum and extends four finger units. 

The optimal technique for this particular marma point involves gentle palm massage with oil, nurturing the heart’s energy. This oil can enhance circulation, while acupressure at this juncture assists in alleviating stress and negative emotions. 

Ancient healing experts meticulously charted the precise locations and effects of marma points on various body parts. 

How Marma Points Work

These marma points, or junctures of the body, function on the vital energy force of prana, joined by energy channels throughout the body, called nadis

Here, we outline the principles of how marma points work:

1. Pranic Flow

In Ayurveda, the concept of pranic flow suggests that vital energy, known as prana, flows through the body, nourishing and sustaining all aspects of life. 

child getting head massaged

2. Energy Centers

Marma points serve as gateways, facilitating the entry or exit of prana within the body.

These marma points are regarded as energetic centers, acting as intersections that link the physical body with the mind and spirit, where both the physical and subtle energy bodies converge. 

3. Influence On Doshas

Each marma point is associated with specific doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), and its stimulation can influence the balance of these doshas in the body. 

4. Healing And Stimulation

Through the application of pressure, massage, or other therapeutic techniques to these marma points, it is believed that the flow of prana can be stimulated or harmonized, leading to various health benefits. 

5. Release Of Blockages

Marma point massage is thought to be effective in releasing blockages and imbalances in the pranic flow, thereby alleviating physical and emotional discomfort

lady massaging her face

6. Integration Of Body And Mind

Stimulating marma points is believed to enhance the connection between the physical body and the mind, fostering a sense of well-being and harmony

7. Specific Functions

Each marma point is associated with unique functions, and Ayurvedic practitioners leverage this knowledge to address specific health concerns or promote overall vitality.

How Marma Points Can Be Affected Negatively

The flow of prana from the nadis to and through the marma points is essential for overall well-being. 

On the other hand, if the energy becomes stagnant or its flow is disrupted, it can lead to health problems. 

Numerous common practices have the potential to disturb the natural prana flow through the marma points, including: 

  • Overexposure to UV
  • Sedentary lifestyle without exercise 
  • Artificial lighting over natural lighting 
  • Consuming unhealthy food 
  • Poor sleep patterns 
  • General stress 
dry brush on a tray with exfoliating pad

Despite maintaining a relatively healthy lifestyle, living in our current day and age can still impact the healthy flow of life force into your body. 

Ayurveda attributes several aging-related processes, such as fatigue, stiffness, memory loss, fragile bones, and sensitive digestion, to the degradation of the body and mind caused by the stifling of these marma points.

Marma Point Ayurvedic Massage Or Therapy

Marma points are generally used in Ayurvedic massage to influence subtle energy or prana, but they are also highly useful for physically easing sore muscles and increasing circulation. 

The Ayurvedic practice of marma treatment is widely practiced and is seen as crucial to self-healing and self-care. 

The secret to better health and happiness doesn’t always reside outside of ourselves, but as we learn through the practice of yoga, be it in asana practice or Karma Yoga and so on, the key is within.

At the core of marma point therapy lies an elaborate and intricate energetic framework, which is believed to have laid the foundation for other popular point-based therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure, and reflexology. 

woman getting a massage of marma points

Every cell in the body has a memory, and according to Ayurveda, these memories get retained, causing blockages that prevent prana (life force energy) from freely flowing through this framework.

The generation of hormones and the condition of the important organs are both thought to be impacted by stimulating the marma points and moving this stuck energy.

Initially, the knowledge of Ayurvedic vital energy points served dual purposes: ancient warriors utilized specific marma points to incapacitate opponents in combat, while Ayurvedic physicians applied other marma points to facilitate healing. 

Interestingly, the term “marma” itself translates to ‘a point that can kill,’ underscoring the importance of some of these points in martial arts as mentioned before.

In the realm of marma point massage, these specific points serve a singular purpose – harnessing their therapeutic qualities. Termed also as neurolymphatic points, they actively contribute to lymphatic drainage and optimize the functionality of the body’s organs.

A marma master would possess the rare and profound knowledge of manipulating or directing prana (life energy) to achieve either specific violent or therapeutic outcomes via these marma points, as a combatant, or as a healer.

person meditating with a mudra

Benefits Of Marma Point Ayurvedic Massage

1. Energy flow and balance

It stimulates the flow of prana (life force) throughout the body, releasing energy blockages and restoring balance and vitality. 

2. Relaxation and stress relief

Through gentle and precise techniques, marma point massage induces a sense of tranquility, calming the nervous system and reducing stress

3. Improved circulation

By massaging marma points, blood circulation is enhanced, leading to better oxygenation and nutrient delivery to tissues, supporting overall health and healing. 

4. Pain relief

Specific points are targeted to alleviate physical discomfort, tension, muscle soreness, and joint stiffness. 

5. Enhanced immunity

According to Ayurvedic principles, stimulating marma points can strengthen the immune system, increasing the body’s resilience against illnesses and diseases. 

happy person with cucumbers on their eyes

6. Emotional balance

Marma point massage is believed to promote positive feelings, reduce anxiety, and ease emotional imbalances, supporting emotional well-being. 

7. Detoxification

By improving circulation and energy flow, the massage may assist in eliminating toxins from the body, aiding the detoxification process. 

8. Improved sleep quality

Many individuals experience better sleep after a marma point massage due to its relaxation and stress-reducing effects

9. Headache and migraine relief

Specific marma points on the head and face are targeted to alleviate headaches and migraines. 

10. Enhanced mental clarity and focus

Regular marma point massage may help improve concentration and mental clarity, leading to better cognitive function.

Further Information

If you’ve enjoyed reading about marma points, why not check out our other articles:

Dosha Quiz | Discover My Ayurvedic Body Type

a group of women smiling and laughing together

Knowing your dosha can provide a window into your inner world. 

Whether Vata, Pitta, or Kapha, or a combination of all three, you'll receive tailored information on your unique dosha composition at the end of the quiz. 

Answer each question instinctively, try not to overthink! 

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Born and raised in London, Luke is a passionate writer with a focus on travel, yoga, philosophy, and meditation. As a certified yoga teacher having studied under a swami in Rishikesh, Luke now lives in India pretty much just practising yoga, meditating and writing articles! Luke's life arc has gone from somewhat turbulent to peaceful, and he considers yoga and meditation direct methods to sustain introspective insight to manifest peace and happiness, despite life's challenges. Luke's passion for meditation has led him to complete multiple meditation retreats, where he spent almost 40 days in silence in the last two years. He practices various meditation techniques such as Vipassana, Anapana, and Metta Bhavana, each adding to his knowledge and experience of the true self. Most recently he meditated in Jaipur, India, and before that lived for a short spell in a monastery with forest monks in Northern Thailand. To Luke, yoga is more than just a physical exercise; it's a way of life that helps him cultivate a stronger mind-body connection. As a young man with arthritis, Luke understands the importance of observing and controlling his body, and yoga has been a vital tool in his journey to better health and well-being. The practice of yoga has not only helped him manage his symptoms but has also given him a new perspective on life. Luke's love for yoga and meditation is not limited to a single tradition or practice. He's fascinated by the spiritual teachings of all types of religious philosophy, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity for their essence and wisdom. His passion for spirituality is what drives him to continue learning and growing, and share his knowledge with other people. Luke in his spare time is an avid chess player, cyclist and record collector. He also has experience with addiction, and so sponsors multiple people from different walks of life in their recovery programmes.

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