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Self Care Ritual - Marma Chiksita

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Marma chikitsa, the science of energy points, is a precious jewel among Ayurveda’s many beneficial gifts. It provides a way to combat emotional disturbances by going beyond just alleviating symptoms to support deep and lasting relief. Stimulation of these points can occur through multiple mediums of touch, such as massage, acupressure, application of essential oils, vibration, breathwork, or color therapy.

The power of marma points directly influences the flow of prana, or life force, through the entire body and mind.

It is the disturbance of Prana that leads to the turmoil within the modern mind—a constant flux of turbulent thoughts and emotions which become so entangled that we lose hope for clarity, peace, or any type of respite from daily stress. These pranic blockages then lead to more emotional obstruction, and the pattern of havoc continues.

Every marma point on the body is a gateway of consciousness that stimulates pranic flow in its own unique way. These points create a network of intelligence that has a ripple effect on consciousness throughout body, mind, and spirit, clearing the knots of emotional disturbance and bringing us closer to our natural state of clarity and peace.

Points are referred to in Chinese Medicine as Acupuncture or Acupressure points, and in Ayurveda and yogic healing as Marma points. This isn’t to say that the two systems discount each other – many books on marma points also speak of meridians and many books on acupuncture mention chakras. According to both Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine, energy (prana or chi) can stagnate in these points. Both systems have healing practices focused on freeing this energy, whether through acupuncture or acupressure, Ayurvedic massage or even visualization.

Marma points are energy points in the body used for healing in Ayurveda. They can be compared to acupuncture points in Chinese Medicine.

Literally translated, marma means “a point that can kill”, and indeed some of the marma points have been identified and used in martial arts, however in marma point massage, these points are only used for healing purposes! They’re also identified as neurolymphatic points, stimulating the removal of lymph and enhancing the efficiency of the body’s organs.

The focus of marma point massage is primarily to manipulate subtle energy or prana, but physically they’re also very effective for relieving stiff muscles and boosting circulation. Marma therapy is used extensively throughout Ayurveda, and is considered important in self-care and self-healing practices. Just as many of us are (re)discovering through yoga, the key to greater health and happiness doesn’t necessarily lie outside of us, but instead is quite literally at our fingertips.

There are said to be 107 marma points on the body, each serving a particular purpose, and each with its own name and specific way of massaging it. Different oils are used depending upon each person’s Ayurvedic dosha type.

Marma points are measured in anguli or ‘finger units’. For instance; the marma point Hridaya (meaning ‘heart’) is found at the sternum, and measures four anguli in size. It is best massaged in a broad and gentle way with the palm of the hand with sesame oil in order to calm the energy of the heart. Mustard oil can be used to enhance circulation, and acupressure at this point can help relieve stress and negative emotions. Try it for yourself – even just placing your hand here can have a calming effect.

Five Sacred Scalp Points

While there are certainly marma points that can soothe grief, calm anxious thoughts, ease lethargy, and reduce stress, this approach of trying to fix or cure a symptom is limited. It implies that the emotion itself is a problem to get rid of instead of seeing it as the body’s intelligent healing response, worthy of our compassionate attention.

Healthy emotions naturally express themselves, flow with grace, and then dissolve and melt away. Unhealthy emotions linger, stagnate, and build in intensity, lacking the space to resolve on their own. These “stuck” emotions require a more sophisticated approach of guiding pranic flow—which is where marma points can be profoundly helpful.

There are five marma points on the scalp that have the ability to powerfully relieve modern-day stressors, alleviate stagnant emotions, and influence pranic flow. These five points are kapala on the hairline, brahmarandhra, murdhni, and shivarandhra on the upper midline of the scalp, and manyamula at the occiput.

1. Kapala

Kapala means the “ruler of time” or “forehead.” This point is located at the midline of the forehead, right at the hairline. So much of our stress is related to feeling bound by time. Its main actions are to relieve stress, support sound sleep, and calm emotional disturbance. It also supports hormonal imbalance and helps dissipate tension in the head.

2. Murdhni

Murdhni comes from the root muhu, which means “moment to moment awareness.” This point is also called Adhipati, which means “first master,” and is known as the master point that regulates all pranic flow throughout the body. It is located on the vertex of the scalp, about ten fingers-width back from the point between the eyebrows. This is also the opening of the sahasrara, or crown chakra, the meeting point of many nadis (subtle channels of energy) and the spot where kundalini energy ascends from the root chakra.

3. Brahmarandhra

Brahmarandhra means “the opening to the creator.” This point is known to stimulate creativity, expand awareness, and promote intelligence. It is located on the midline of the scalp, two fingers-width behind murdhni.

4. Shivarandhra

Shivarandhra means “the opening to the transformer.” It is located on the midline of the scalp, two fingers-width posterior to murdhni, towards the forehead.

The trinity of murdhni, brahmarandhra, and shivarandhra are similar in their sphere of action. They all powerfully regulate prana and balance vata, pitta, and kapha emotions. They promote deep, restful sleep and stimulate memory and concentration. They help to soothe sensory overload and calm the mind.

5. Manyamula

Manyamula means “the root of the neck.” It is located in the depression below the place where the occipital bone protrudes at the base of the skull. This powerful point regulates the flow of lymph, cerebrospinal fluid, and cerebral blood. It stabilizes prana, improves equilibrium, and supports a comfortable neck and head. Similar to the trinity, manyamula also helps maintain emotional balance for all the doshas.

A Healing Marma Ritual

Working with all five of these marmani together is an effective way to promote emotional balance, calm the mind, regulate pranic flow, and reduce stress. They also bring physical ease to the region of the neck and head. Stimulating these five energy points on the scalp with warm Brahmi Oil is an excellent way to increase intelligence, expand awareness, and calm the mind.

  • Start with kapala by pressing down with both middle fingers. Hold for a few breaths or up to two minutes. The longer the stimulation and the deeper the breath, the more emotion will be released at each marma point.

  • After kapala, move along the midline of the scalp and repeat this same hold at murdhni, brahmarandhra, and shivarandhra, taking at least a few deep, slow breaths at each point.

  • Continue along the midline all the way to the occiput, ending with the same hold at manyamula. At this point, work with the breath by touching lightly with each inhale and more deeply with each exhale. This is a powerful pranic reset point.

This ritual can be done daily when there is long-term stress, anxiousness, heaviness, grief, or emotional overwhelm. I ask children to do this ritual before they sit down to study or take an exam for mental rejuvenation. Taking time to work on these marma points each day will bring emotional balance, create clarity in the mind, and soothe the spirit.

Ayurveda teaches that our bodies are innately intelligent and we have the power in our own fingertips to heal ourselves. Bringing this ancient wisdom into our daily routine and making it practical and applicable to our busy modern lives is just the antidote we have been searching for.

Simple marma self-care routines allow us to deepen this connection with our own bodies and breath, initiating profound healing and inviting deep relaxation. May this simple sequence bring a feeling of harmony, enliven prana, and rejuvenate your senses.

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