Review Article

Marma Chikitsa

Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences

2023 Volume 8 Number 12 December

Literary review of Marma Chikitsa

Archana S1*, Sunil KJ2, Radhaballabh S3

1* Singh Archana, Assistant Professor, Dept of Shalya Tantra, Faculty of Ayurved Main Campus Uttarakhand Ayurved University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.

2 Kumar Joshi Sunil, Professor, Dept of Shalya Tantra, Rishikul Campus Haridwar Uttarakhand Ayurved University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.

3 Sati Radhaballabh, Professor and HOD, Dept of Rognidan, Faculty of Ayurved Main Campus Uttarakhand Ayurved University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.

Ayurveda, the ancient science of holistic medicine and well-being, has been meticulously passed down through generations by Indian sages. Among the invaluable aspects of Ayurveda bestowed upon us by these revered Acharyas is the Marma science. Although not highly advanced in the context of modern science, Marma science emphasizes crucial points on the body surface known as Marmas. The occurrence of an injury at these vital points can potentially lead to disability, dysfunction, or even the termination of life. Intriguingly, Marmas serve as pivotal junctures where the entire spectrum of our physical and mental energy can be intentionally heightened, diminished, or redirected, facilitating transformative effects through the judicious application of Marma techniques. Considered as specialized pranic switches within the body, stimulating Marma points can lead to the balanced flow of Prana (life force) in different body parts, thereby yielding the desired therapeutic benefits. This study aims to provide a comprehensive overview of Marmas, offering a general description and highlighting the utility of Marma Chikitsa in promoting overall well-being.

Keywords: Ayurveda, Marma, Pranic, Prana, Marma Chikitsa

Corresponding Author How to Cite this Article To Browse
Singh Archana, Assistant Professor, Dept of Shalya Tantra, Faculty of Ayurved Main Campus Uttarakhand Ayurved University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.
Archana S, Sunil KJ, Radhaballabh S, Literary review of Marma Chikitsa. J Ayu Int Med Sci. 2023;8(12):190-197.
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Manuscript Received Review Round 1 Review Round 2 Review Round 3 Accepted
2023-10-07 2023-10-21 2023-11-01 2023-11-11 2023-11-22
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© 2023by Archana S, Sunil KJ, Radhaballabh Sand Published by Maharshi Charaka Ayurveda Organization. This is an Open Access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ unported [CC BY 4.0].


Marma Science is one of the oldest medical science for prevention and cure of diseases, promotion of health and calmness of mind, as well as development of self-healing capabilities.

It is extremely effective and acts very rapidly, yet, because of the fact that improper intervention at the Marma sites can even be fatal, its use as a therapeutic procedure, by directly stimulating or affecting the Marma points, was not very common[1]

and was limited to some specific traditions and practices. Marma Therapy as a natural, non-invasive, instant and permanent method of healing.

Dr. Sunil Kumar Joshi[1-3] has developed a simple methodology of stimulating the Marma points, and has successfully used this technique for providing relief in chronic disorders like scoliosis, cervical spondylosis, muscular dystrophy, prolapse inter vertebral disc, etc.

Pathak (2015)[4] used this technique for the treatment of cervical spondylosis, and observed significant therapeutic benefits.

The National Health Portal of India[5] describes Marma Therapy as an important Ayurvedic treatment, wherein the pressure applied on.

the Marmas causes the vital energy (Prana) to flow along subtle channels (Nadis); this portal mentions the application of Marma Therapy for the management of several diseases, which include paralysis, sciatic pain, migraine, tremors, diabetic neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia, facial or Bell's palsy, lumbar spondylitis, cervical spondylitis, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscular and joint pain, etc.

Marmas are the seats of Prana (vital life force), i.e. the subtle energy centres where the Prana resides and flows;[6] Prana - The essential life energy, controls all of a living thing's subtle and physical functions.

Historical Review

The development of this science took place from Saraswati culture to the time period of Charaka. Sushruta, Ashtanga Sangraha, Ashtanga Hridaya

In Veda

The first references to Marma in the Rig-Veda speak of using Varma or protective coverings to protect these Marmas. It refers to prayer or Mantra (Brahman) as the best protection (Varma) for these Marmas, showing a spiritual view behind the use of Marmas from the very beginning.[7]

Originally Marma was part of Vedic martial arts or Dhanur Veda, which is one of the four Upavedas or secondary Vedas.[8]

First time, the term Marma is described in Atharvaveda. During the Vedic period, knowledge of Marma was known by kings and warriors.[9]

In Mahabharata

We find many references for Marma or Varman. It is interesting that there are references of protective clothing’s of the Marmas of the elephants and horses also.

In Ramayana

Subject Marma has been mentioned in epics too e.g. Ramayana.

  1. An incident of injury to the vital part of the Ravana by the lord Rama is mentioned in by Sri Goswami Tulshidasji in [10]
  2. Syncope of Laxman, younger brother of Lord Ram, on the battle field is worth remembering.[11]

Arthashastra of Kautilya

It mentioned the use of arrowheads made up of metal and some protective instruments against the injury to Marmas.

The instructions are available regarding Marma to the Victorian persons. The kings of that time asked to keep their vital parts protected with ‘Kavacha’, a kind of protector.[12]

Siddha System

It also refers to certain vital points and the effects of phases of moon and other planets on the human body.

Charaka Samhita

Acharya Charaka, emphasized on Marma Vigyan. A separate chapter is devoted for the Marma Vigyan. Concept of Tri Marma-Tripod of life has been given by Acharya Charaka.[13]

Sushruta Samhita

Acharya Sushruta (400-600 B.C), has described 107 body Marma in a separate chapter.[14]

Ashtanga Samhita

Acharya Vagbhatta in Ashtang Sangraha mentioned that, Marma points are the places where injury can lead to different kinds of pain and tremors.[15]

Genesis of Marma (Etymology)

The term Marma is etymologically derived from Sanskrit root word 'Mri (Ek)' which represents the sense of vital part of the body.

1. Shabdakalpadruma

मृ + सर्वधातुभ्यों ऽमनिन् । (शब्द कल्पद्रुम 641)

According to the Shabdakalpadruma, the word Marma is derived from 'Mri' Dhatu, which denotes Sandhisthanam (i.e. joining place of various structures).[16]

2. Shabdostam

मृ-मनिन् जीवस्थाने, सन्धि स्थाने, तात्पर्ये च । (शब्दोस्तम)

It is a first singular form of the word Marman, which is often used in the sense of Jeevsthan (seat of life), Sandhisthan and Tatparya.

3. Halayudha Kosha

मृ+ सर्व धातुम्योंऽमनिन्इति मनिन् । सन्निपातः शिरास्नायुसन्धिमासंस्थि सम्भवः । (हलायुध कोष 518)

Halayudh Kosha recognized it in the sense of Jeevsthan (seat of life) jointly represented the juncture of Sira (veins), Snayu (nerves), Sandhi (joints), Mamsa (muscles) and Asthi (bones).

4. Amarkosha

मृ - मिनिनि्, मृ+ प्राणत्यागे (Amarakosha 3/5/30)
According to the Amarakosha, the term Marma is derived from the sanskrit term 'Mri- Manin' or 'Mri- Pranatyage'. It means that ‘which causes death’.

5. According to Dalhana

मारयन्तीति मर्माणि
Injuries to 'Marmas' are likely to result fatal.

6. According to Vriddha Vagabhata (Astang Sangraha)

अपि च मरणकारित्वान्मर्म

Which leads to or causes death

7. Arundatta in Saravanga Sundari derives the word from the root 'mring' meaning one which causes death.

Importance of Marma[17]

Acharya Sushruta has mentioned the detail description about Marma in the sixth chapter of Shareer Sthan. Marma is considered as an important part in the Shalya Tantra (Surgery) and cover the half subject of Shalya Tantra (Surgery).

मर्माणि शल्यविषयार्धमुदाहरन्ति (Su.Sha. 6/35)

Marma is the centre, where Prana or vital force of the body is situated.[18]

Structure and composition of Marma

मर्माणि पंचात्मकानि भवन्ति [19]

The Marmas are made up of Dwadash Prana-

1. Soma (kapha or watery elements)

2. Maruta (vayu or airy elements)

3. Teja (pitta or fiery elements)

4. Satwa

5. Raja

6. Tama

7-11. Bhuta (5 basic elements of creation, Agni, Aakash, Vayu, Prithvi, Jala.)

  1. Atma (soul)

All of the aforementioned components that make up a Marmas are referred to as Pranas, or life elements. Some or all of these Pranas will become afflicted when any of the Marma or Marmas are harmed, resulting in deformity or death.
Furthermore, it has already been established that the structural components of Marmas are:
Mamsa, Sira, Snayu, Asthi and sandhi.

Definitions of Marma

1. According to Acharya Sushruta

मर्माणि मांससिरास्नाय्वस्थिसन्धिसन्निपाताः; तेषु स्वभावत एव विशेषेण प्राणास्तिष्ठन्ति; तस्मान्मर्मस्वभिहतास्तास्तान् भावानापद्यन्ते|| (Su.Sha.6/16)
Marma points are the junction of five anatomical structures i.e. Mamsa (muscle), Sira (vessels), Snayu (ligament and nerve), Asthi (bone), and Sandhi (joints). Stimulation of Marma points optimises Prana Vayu and maintains equilibrium of Doshas[20].

Sushruta was the first surgeon, who dissected and studied human body.

He was able to describe all structures of human body like layers of skin, bones, cartilages, ligaments, muscles, arteries and veins.[21]

After understanding all parts including minute structure and function of organs, he insisted to study the Marmavigyan.

2. According to Acharya Charaka

हृदयमून्विस्तो च नृणां प्राणाः प्रतिष्ठिताः ।

तस्मात्तेषां सदा यत्नं कुर्वीत पारिपालने ।। (च०सि०9/9)

Charakacharya decribes Marma as seat of Chetana and intensity of pain will be more compared to other parts of body if trauma or disease occurs.

Charaka describes Marma as the centres of Chaithanya.

So Peeda in Marmasthana (functional abnormality) of these centres will be more severe when compared to other parts.[22]

3. According to Acharya Vagbhatta

Vagbhatta says that, these are the points which are painful on application of pressure and abnormal pulsation.

Marmas are the areas where Dhamani come together along with other structures - Mamsa, Sira, Snayu, Asthi and Sandhi.

In Ashtanga Hridaya and Astanga Sangraha it is mentioned in Shareerasthana Vagbhatta tells that wherever irregular pulsation and pain felt on pressure or trauma that location can be called as Marma.[23]

Marma is an indication of the underlying pathophysiological changes as a result of trauma.

4. According to Acharya Dalhana

Acharya Dalhana has defined the Marma, as the points on our body surface, where any form of trauma or injury, results in sudden death.

5. According to Acharya Arunadatta

Arunadatta says that these are the vital points on which injury lead to Marana or Maranasadrishya Dukha.

Marma is the seat of Prana which is constituted by

confluence of Sira, Snayu, Asthi and Sandhi.

6. According to Acharya Narahari

Narahari the author of Raja Nighantu explains

the Marma as the seat of life - Jeevasthanam, which also indicates its association with Chaithanya.

7. According to Acharya Bhavprakasha

Bhavaprakasha also says that Marma is the meeting point of Mamsa, Sira, Snayu, Sandhi and Asthi, where Prana resides.

8. Schrott et al. (2016)[24] state that besides the physical structure,

Marma points also represent the junction of mind, body and consciousness; thus,

the Marma points may hold vital information with regards to thoughts, emotions and feelings, and their link with the overall health.

Schrott et al. (2016)[24] state that stimulation of Marma points can affect.

the functioning of the internal organs and mind-body coordination, cause healing with regards to improvement in eye-sight, digestive system, headaches, stress, etc.

Classification of Marma

According to Acharya Charaka

Marmas are 3 in number they are -

1. Shira or Murdha (head, brain)

2. Hriddaya (heart) and

3. Basti (urinary bladder)

Charaka has said that among all the Marmas, these 3 Marmas are important ones.

Thus, he too has accepted that there are more than 3 Marmas (107) but has named 3 of them as the most important ones Sushruta too has included these 3 Marmas in his 107 Marmas.

According to Acharya Sushruta[25]

Acharya Sushruta has explained total 107 Marma points.

These Marma points were classified as below according to - Rachana (Anatomy), Shadanga (Region), Sadya-asadhyata (prognosis) and Pramana (Metrical Classification).


A. According to the Rachana (anatomy)

SNMarma pointsNumber of Marmas (As stated by Sushruta)Number of Marmas (As stated by Ashtanga Hridaya)
1.Maans Marma (predominantly in muscle tissues)11 (eleven)10 (ten)
2.Shira Marma (predominantly in blood vessels)41 (Forty-one)37 (thirty-seven)
3.Snayu Marma (predominantly in connective tissues like ligaments, tendons)27 (twenty-seven)23 (twenty-three)
4.Asthi Marma (predominantly in bone tissues)8 (eight)8 (eight)
5.Sandhi Marma (most common in articulating joints)20 (twenty)20 (twenty)
6.Dhamani Marma-9 (nine)
Total107 (one hundred and seven)107 (one hundred and seven)

B. According to the Shadanga (regional classification)

Marma pointsNumber of Marma (According to Sushruta)
Bahu Marmas (upper and lower extremities)11 x 4 = 44
Greeva & Urdva Marmas (head and neck)37
Udara & Uras Marma (abdomen and thorax)12
Prushta Marma (back)14

C. According to the Sadhya-asadhyata (Prognosis)

Marma pointsNumber of Marma (According to Sushruta)Dosha predominant
Kaalantarapranahara33Somya and Agneya
Rujaakara8Somya, Agneya and Vayavay

D. According to the Pramana (Metrical Classification)

Marma pointsNumber of Marma (According to Acharya Sushruta)
Ek Angula6
Dwi Angula2
Tri Angula2

E. Classification of Marmas according to their therapeutic use

Several scholars have given therapeutic classification of Marmas, which is as follows.[26]

I. Sthula (physical) and Sookshma (subtle)

II. Vulnerable (lethal) and Less vulnerable (therapeutic)

III. External and Internal

Methods of Marma Stimulation (techniques of Marma Chikitsa)

Different methods of stimulating and affecting the Marma points, to gain therapeutic benefits, are available in the literature.

Frawley et al. (2015)[27] have described several methods of Marma Therapy, which may be classified into three main groups, i.e.,

a) Massage and energy methods, which include techniques like Abhyanga (massage), applying aromatic oils, applying pressure, etc.

b) Herbal methods, which include application of herbal paste, taking medicinal herbs, etc.,

c) Using instruments, which include Acupuncture, heat application, etc.

Lad and Durve (2015)[28] have described 10 methods of stimulating

the Marmas, which include oleation, sudation, dry massage, deep pressure, application of paste and heat, puncturing with a needle, etc.

Schrott et al. (2016) explain 20 methods to treat

.the Marmas, which include techniques like massage, pouring oil, application of herbal paste or heat or light, taking herbal medicines, using aromatic oils, Yagya, Yogasanas, Pranayama, meditation, etc.

Joshi (2010) has been working on Marma stimulation with a very simple method of giving pressure on these points; the rate of applying pressure is in accordance with the heart beat and respiratory rate.

This technique depends upon three basic things -

1. Identification of Marma point

2. Giving proper pressure on Marma point with the help of thumb and fingers

3. Relaxation of Marma point

Thus, it may be understood that different methods can be adopted to stimulate and affect the Marma points.

Mode of action of Marma Chikitsa

Marmas are centres for the vital-force or Prana, the master power behind both physical and psychological processes.

  • Marma points may be regarded as special Pranic switches in the body, which when properly stimulated, can lead to the proper flow of Prana in different body parts, resulting in the desired therapeutic benefits
  • Prana can be guided to clear obstructions, enhance energy flow, access latent energy stores, and establish links with the higher forces of nature and life by manipulating Marmas.[29]
  • Mamsa, Sira, Snayu, Asthi and Sandhi Dhamani, Sira, Asthi, Mamsa, Kandra. Sandhi and Snayu are the Sthan used for Marma Chikitsa
  • Marma points also help to balance Tridoshas and Trigunas since it involves various Pranas like Vayu, Sattva, Agni, Rajas and
  • Marma is related to the Prana which associated with Vata Dosha therefore Marma mainly deal with Vata Dosha. Different Marma points are considered for Vata Vyadhi Depending upon involvement of Vata such as Prana Vata, Udana Vata. Vyana Vata, Samana Vata and[30]
  • Marma therapy not only helps in Vata Vyadhi but also helps to clear the channels and improve circulation of body.
  • It develops physical and mental flexibility, removes ama and clinically applied for many disease specially heart problem.
  • Marma
  • therapy provide stimulation of vital point and thus removes blockages from the Shrotas and offer physical and psychological repose.
  • Through using Marmas we can restore the proper connection between the subtle body (our internal energy, moods and emotions) and the physical body (our material condition), resulting in increased health and vitality on both levels.[31]
  • Stimulation of Marma points optimizes Prana Vayu and maintains equilibrium of
  • Instant pain relief is the motive of Marma Chikitsa. Stimulation of Marma can produce analgesia by secreting a number of prostaglandin inhibitors, endorphins, enterferon and other opoid like substances which are hundreds of times more potent than opium.[32]

Benefits of Marma Chikitsa

It is an ancient Indian practice whose focus is the manipulation of subtle energy (Prana) in the body for the in order to aid in the healing process. The core concept of Marma therapy is the application of 107 bodily sites that are said to represent portals to the body, mind, and awareness.

1. Ayurveda and Yoga are closely related sciences, and Marmas play a significant role in both. Yoga acknowledges the power of Prana, or the life energy, which is expressed through the use of Marma points on the body, in addition to having an intricate system of physical postures. Any degree or kind of Yoga practice can benefit from a deeper understanding of [33]

2. It creates equilibrium between all vital energies, removes emotional and physical toughness, removes toxins from the body and improves digestion, balances body temperature, provides positive energy, and provides relief from stress, depression, anger, and other mental problems.[34]

3. It can be used anywhere, at any time, and without the need for medication.[35] It produces exceptionally fast results.

4. Marma Chikitsa provides physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits.[36]

5. Marma therapy is implemented in the Asthi, Snayu, Sira, and Sandhi areas, among other places, as it primarily treats conditions pertaining to the neuromuscular, neurological, locomotor, and cardiovascular systems.

6. Marma Chikitsa help to flow positive Prana through the various channels using pressure on Marma points and this Prana manage to treat diseases.


Marmas are vital points, centres for the Prana. Marma Chikitsa is a natural, non-invasive, instant and permanent method of healing. The purpose of a Marma Chikitsa is to stimulate the various bodily organs and systems It can be used anywhere, at any time, and without the need for medication. Marma knowledge is extensively well known since Vedic period. Later, its progression can be seen in Samhitha Kala through the texts emerged during that period like Susrutha Samhitha. They can be used specifically for the diagnosis and treatment of disease or generally for promoting health and longevity. Marmas are integral to all Ayurvedic therapies from simple self-treatments to complex clinical procedures. This paper tried to obtain all the information’s related to Marma from classics and highlight its benefits from Ayurvedic point of view.


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36. Joshi S.K. (2010), Marma Science and Principles of Marma Therapy (1st edition), Vani Publications Delhi, ISBN no. 81-89221-64-7, 46.