What Is Marma Therapy?
The above quoted verse is from a 16th century text, Bhāv Prakāsh, written by Bhav Mishra, an Ayurvedic physician in the Shaka Vansya Ayurveda lineage (SVA). Much of the ancient knowledge of marmā points and marmā therapy has been lost, but much has been uniquely preserved in the SVA lineage. It is from this deep reservoir of knowledge that I approach marmā therapy.
What is marmā? The word marmā means "mysterious". The quoted verse states that a marmā point is where prāna (or "life-energy") is seated, where prāna lives. Marmā points are energetic loci in the body that function as reservoirs of prāna. Marmā points are the natural points where prana collects and concentrates, from where the energy flows through the subtle channels (nādis) to all of the organs.
When working with marmā points, it is possible to directly affect the flow of prāna in these points and thus rebalance the subtle physiology. It is especially powerful for opening the subtle channels and restoring the balanced flow of prāna throughout the body.
Historians and scholars consider the origins of acupuncture to be in India, spreading from there to China and Tibet. What Traditional Chinese Medical practitioners identify as acupuncture points is no different than the marmā points discussed in Ayurveda. In my view, the knowledge of marma points and their locations is significantly more preserved in the Chinese tradition than in Ayurveda. If Ayurvedic practitioners study the detailed energetic anatomy presented in Chinese medicine, they can gain a broader understanding of marmā points and marmā therapy.
What To Expect In A Session
A marmā therapy session will begin with a pulse reading that determines the specific treatment based on the individual's imbalances. It is a highly personalized therapy, and the pulse may be read several times throughout the process to further guide the treatment as a biofeedback mechanism. During a marmā treatment, I am listening to the nādis when I check the pulse, and allowing the intelligence of the body to inform the course of the treatment.
In my approach to marmā therapy, I use herbalized aromatic creams on marma points. The application of specific herbs at the marma points directly affects the flow of prāna in these points and also allows for the herbs to be transdermally absorbed, thus directly entering the bloodstream via the skin, bypassing the liver and digestive system. This is not only a powerful way to affect the prānic flow and open the channels, but it also allows for herbs to be readily absorbed by the individual without taxing the digestive system or aggravating the liver. The transdermal delivery route for herbs also prevents negative herb/drug interactions. When used in conjunction with marmā points, the prānic flow is immediately affected, and the pulse reflects those changes very quickly, allowing the practitioner to assess what is happening throughout the treatment.
While the creams are being applied, the practitioner is also chanting specific mantras internally. This combination of touch, sound, aromatherapy, and herbal delivery has a powerful effect on the physiology. Marmā therapy is not only healing by touch, but also healing with sound, healing with aromas, and most fundamentally, healing with energy.
Frontal Marmā Treatment: $65
Spinal Marmā Treatment: $65
Full Circuit Marmā Treatment: $120
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The Transdermal Marma System
In coming to the West, Vaidya observed that most people were not able to safely take herbs orally. He observed that people had too much toxicity and that the ingestion of herbal remedies was overwhelming their physiology. Vaidya has said that the majority of his patients were harboring harsh acidic toxins in their liver, which is already a hot organ. While the stomach has one flame (the digestive agni), the liver has five flames (pancha bhutagni). This is because the liver is responsible for extracting the five elements from food--in addition to creating intelligent blood which it has to detoxify first. When the liver is taxed with toxins, it becomes an even more fiery organ and overheats. As it loses its ability to filter toxins from the blood, the toxins flow into the blood, and from there circulate throughout the whole body. If the toxins are not purified, then they continue to flow deeper into the physiology, lodging in the deeper tissues of the body.
When herbs are taken orally in such a situation, their subtle nature (or vibrational potency) does not survive the fire and acidic toxins in the liver, and so its primary healing actions are destroyed. Thus, the herb fails to be fully metabolized and effective.
In response to the needs of our times, Vaidya formulated the Transdermal Marma System (TMS). He created herbal creams that when applied to the skin is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream, bypassing the liver and digestive system altogether. Ayurveda has long known the means of transdermal delivery, but Vaidya has made a new breakthrough with this knowledge. When these herbs are applied to the skin via the creams, the full benefit of the herb is delivered safely and more effectively, and its full potency is preserved. The transdermal absorption of herbs also prevents negative herb/drug interactions for patients who are taking pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals.