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Marma chikilsa (Treatment)

Marma chikilsa in Kerala is centuries old. Marma is "Vital spots" and Chikilsa means "Treatment". It emerged as a treatment system for warriors or soldiers who fought in wars and conflicts and suffered physical injuries. Several treatment techniques were used for treating different kinds of injuries like wound, fractures etc. Siddha system of treatment giving emphasis to marma chikilsa. Marma Chikilsa is mainly performed by specialists who knows well about the vital (marma) spots on human body. There are total 108 Marma points in the body in which 64 are considered as deadly points. These points could be used to heel or to harm. If these points are pierced hard, it could result in trauma or even death. A Kalari masseur uses the Marma points to heal. Kalari marma treatment is as sophisticated as the uzhichil treatment of Ayurveda.

Marma Points

The marma points are of great importance to a person’s body, mind and spirit. The word 'marma' was used for the first time in Atharva Veda (ancient Indian scripture). Marma points are positions on the body where muscles, veins, arteries, nerves, tendon, bones and joints meet. They may also be described as the junctions where Vayu, Pitta and Kapha meet; where Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas meet; these are the points that could be used to heal or harm. While a healer uses these points to heal, for a warrior the very same spots could be used to harm.

Acharya Susrutha has mentioned regarding the marmas in detail. Susrutha Samhitha Shareera Sthana Chapter 6th mentions one hundred seven (107) marma points present on the body. This makes it much easier to remember and work with, compared with the thousands of points in Chinese acupuncture. Ayurveda details major (maha) and minor marma points. The major points correspond to the major shad chakras in the body, while the minor points are found around the torso and limbs. Thus, healing through marma abhyañga affects the chakras, physical health, and the doshas.Like acupuncture, finger units (anguli or angula) to detect their correct locations measure these points. Many marma points are larger than acupuncture points. Thus, they can be found more easily. Five Basic Categories Of Marma Points:
1. Mamsa Marma ( muscles) 
2. Asthi Marma (at bones) 
3. Snayu Marma (at the Tendons & Ligaments) 
4. Sandhi Marma (at the joints) 
5. Shira Marma (at the nerves/veins/ arteries)


Marma points are grouped according to the region of the body 

No.of Points
22 (11 per limb)
Head and Neck 

Marma points are also divided on the basis of their Pancha mahabootas (five elements) constitution into 

Divisions on Pacha Maha Bhootas No.of Points
Sadya pranahara (fire)
Dies Immediately on Trauma on this point .
Kalanthara pranahara (water)
Period of time Dies on trauma.
Vishalaya ghunam (air)
Dies as soon as the weapon or instrument is removed.
Vaikalyakara (earth)
Leads to deformity.
Rujakara (space)

Causes pain.

Traditionally marma points are grouped into 3 categories: 

1. Sankha marma (Legs and feet) 
2. Madhayamanga marma (Trunk) 
3. Jatrurdhara marma (Neck and head) 

If these points are pierced or hit forcefully, it could result in disease, trauma or even death. For example, if lohit marma present on the leg, is struck, it results in paralysis. But the same marma is treated with moderate circular and deep pressure to treat paralysis. Similarly, marma vipat near the groin,when struck, can cause impotency while the same marma, when massaged, cures impotency. When somebody hits the marma, the flow of prana is disturbed and can be treated either by marma itself or acupressure.

In ayurveda importance is given to Abyanga or snehana. It is said that when oil is applied daily to a dry stick it is found that over a period of time, dry stick can be bent into a different shape. However a dry stick without applying oil breaks when it is bent. In the same way if a person is massaged with oil daily he can overcome many diseases.

The marma points in ayurveda are similar to Chinese accupuncture. The only difference between them is in the mode of treatment. This means in acupuncture needles are used for pricking and in ayurveda these points are massaged. Abhyanga at this marma sthana will be helpful in restructure or rebalance the system to function normally. Further, abhyanga helps to develop the health and longevity of the body and mind by ensuring the proper balance and flow of hormones, fluids, immune factors, etc. The purpose of a marma abhyañga is to stimulate the various bodily organs and systems.In case of Shirodhara a medicated oil or decoction is poured on the head for a certain period of time and from a particular height. The medicated oil falls on the vital marma points and this helps to overcome the diseases.


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