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Marma Abhyanga
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Marma Abhyanga   

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Another form of Abhyanga is the use of the major and minor marma points.  Marma is discussed in one of the four main Vedas, and also detailed in the classical Ayurvedic text, Sushrut Samhitá.  The marma points are similar to Chinese acupuncture, only no invasive use of needles is involved.
Marma points are positions on the body where flesh, veins, arteries, tendons, bones, and joints meet.  They may be seen as the junctions where Vayu, Pitta, and Kapha meet; where sattwa, rajas, and tamas meet; or where eternity and relativity meet.  

Some say they are also the points where the three aspects of Self-realization meet, i.e., inner Self, outer world, and between the two (knower, known, and process of knowing). They may also be the junctions between the physical, astral, and causal bodies.  In short, they are points that have great importance to a person’s body, mind and spirit. Although the marmas are the junctions of all five principles (i.e., flesh, veins, arteries, tendons, bones, and joints), at each point a predominance of one principle exists.  It is at these points where Abhyanga can most effectively restructure or rebalance the system to function most healthily.  Further, Abhyanga helps develop the preventive health and longevity of  the body and mind by ensuring the proper balance and flow of hormones, fluids, immune factors, etc.
One hundred seven marma points exist 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 (mahá) and minor marma points.  The major points correspond to the major chakras on the body, while the minor points are found around the torso and limbs.  Thus, healing through marma Abhyanga affects the chakras, physical health, and the doshas.
The purpose of a marma Abhyanga is to stimulate the various bodily organs and systems.  Like acupuncture, these points are measured by finger units (anguli or angula) to detect their correct locations.  Many marma points are larger than acupuncture points.  Thus, they can be found more easily.


Keralíya Ayurvedic Abhyanga
Contemporary Methods

Kerala is a state in southern India where Pancha karma Abhyanga has been preserved. However, unlike Pancha karma, it is used more for rejuvenation purposes than for cleansing. Various contemporary forms of Abhyanga are used in Kerala, and are very effective. Some modern authorities note that some of these practices are especially useful in healing serious mental disorders. However, other modern authorities believe they aggravate the condition. Practitioners have noted that procedures such as shiro dhárá have evoked troubling past emotions in some persons. Therefore, persons who have very deep emotional problems may be advised by some practitioners to heal through herbs, aromas, and professional counseling first.

Several important differences exist between Kerala and ancient Pancha karma therapies.


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