I was recently interviewed by Chatelaine Magazine on the benefits of massage and healing touch. And while, I explained the importance of the two for muscle relaxation, lymphatic drainage and circulation in-depth, I snuck in the more esoteric idea of touch therapy for our internal organs and energetic balance. In Ayurveda, this is primarily done through Marma (aka. Marma therapy or Marmani).
Because the article was more of an overview in which I will probably be quoted a few lines, I did not go into too much detail – but here I can. Marma, is a touch therapy which manipulates points on the exterior body as they relate to our internal body. If any of you are familiar with reflexology or acupuncture – this is very similar. Marma therapy is used to manipulate and disperse blockages from our energetic pathways, reduce ama (toxins) as well as rebalance our doshas and stimulate the organs each point is linked to. And, “manipulation” can come in the form of simple pressing, puncturing or vibrating.
I remember when I first studied Marma at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico, we had to partner up and practice on each other. We used vibrational tuning forks which subtly quivered each point. Receiving this, felt almost like many little gongs going off and resonating throughout my body. And this humming feeling not only relaxed me, but made me feel so rejuvenated at the same time. It also helped to move my lymphatics and I found that the points performed on the face loosened tension in the facial muscles, and those around my eyes brought down my puffiness – and when I returned home and taught the Pure + Simple staff these techniques, our model found that after our demonstration she had to empty her bladder immediately afterward as excess fluid was prompted to drain.
But most interestingly, Marma provides subtle stimulation to our organs, glands and body parts. From points which help treat digestive issues and enkindle our digestive fire, to those which restore balance in our reproductive organs and hormonal system – there are 107 main points found on our body, each with its own unique properties and functions.
They can also be used as a diagnostic tool. The tenderness or pain felt when a point is pressed can indicate dysfunction in a related body part. Other points display imbalance based on how they look – a depression on a place where a point is can sometimes indicate weaknesses in the body. The manipulation in each of these cases can help to bring energy flow to this area and initiate self-healing.
At Pure + Simple, we have an Ayurvedic Marma Facial in which we used the vibrational tuning forks on these points all over our bodies, scalps and faces integrated into a full facial. But Marma does not only need to be experienced this way, it can also be as simple as taking a time out from work and gently pressing a few points on our own.
Try doing this on the points on the inner corners of the eyes as well as their outer corners (where the eye socket bone is felt)- this is good for eye strain which is so common after looking at a computer screen for long periods of time. Or another helpful Marma point is on the meaty point on each hand between the thumb and the pointer finger. When we squeeze this point, it relieves tension in the mind as well as the physical body, and is excellent for when we feel overwhelmed by stress during the day. According to TCM, this same point is very good for helping bowel release and alleviates constipation.
So, as you can see, touch therapy is not only good for muscular tension and blood flow – but also has a richly spiritual and intricate healing component to it. Next time you rub your loved ones feet or receive a shoulder massage – remember, its not only enjoyable but also can be working on rebalancing our health